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AAC5 AND RJEINCA By GUSTAV KOBBE RNA1 ION C-?yri?Tit, 1008, 6y Thomas II. McKee. ISAACS had been warned by the European agent with whom he had closed the contract that the "Second Paganini," as Monti, the young Italian vioMn virtuoso, had been hailed by the foreign press, had all the vagaries of musical genius in general, with a few Latin idiosyncrasies thrown in. "T,'-t:h him like a cat the day of the first con cert," '.vrotc Isaacs" informant. "He'll be on the verge of r.'rvcu3 collapse. There's no knowing when he'll whip out 1:1s hvpodermic and begin squirting mor phine into himself. One squirt will steady him. More than that, and he'll go to pieces. Take the needle fro: even if you have to use force, or you'll never get him to the concert hall, let alone onto the stage." Tho young violinist, whose exploitation In America Iiaacn had undertaken, had set Italy " on fire, con quered Germany, and, most remarkable of all, made London sit up and, for the moment, forget the clas sical traditions of Joachim. In fact, it was a Lon don audience which had been roused to such enthu siasm that, when he tucked his fiddle under his chin and played the Paganini G-string arrangement of the prayer from Rossini's Moise, it had detached the horses from his carriage and drawn him in triumph to his hotel. Moreover, Conway James Conway, the famous English violin collector, of course had been moved to take- the famous Paganini "Strad" from his cr.-!nct and had himself placed it in young Monti's Lands, not as a gift, it is true, but as a loan for an indefinite period. It was ihi3 episode of the Paganini "Strad," together with tho popular acclamation of Monti as the "Second Paganini," and, most important of all, a certain re emblanco tn hl3 photographs to the accepted like nesses of Paganini himself, that had led Isaacs to consider tho possible availability of the young vir tuoso for an American tour. He put little faith in London musical opinion, and was aware that a vir tuoso might fire all Europe without igniting a spark in America. But the "Strad," his appellation of the "Second Paganini," and a look of tho great fiddler in the photographs of Monti, set him to deep and earnest thinking. Isaacs had been a press-agent before he became a concert manager, and he still considered every enter prise, before going into it, from the press-agent'3 paint of view. Unless he could see a lot of good newspaper stuff In tho attraction he was asked to handle, he "cut it out." But with his Baxter Street temperament and fc'.s Broadway imagination, he now had visions of himself "working the press" in a series of "stories" abcit tho "Second Paganini" and the Paganini "!:ad." Why not even go further and work the prevalent psychological fad by hinting that Monti played Paganini so well because he was none other than ragar.ini himself, a reincarnation of the great violinist. Any one might know this by observing and listening to him when his bow passed like a ma gician's wand over the strings, evoking music such nrs had not been heard since the mortal remains of the epoch-making master of the violin had been laid c.t rest in Genoa! How eagerly the great and gullible J nm wr 5?s vfjld take -lie hook if baited with nueh e story, properly attested and cleverly written. Ir-:r knew what that meant in increased box-office receipts. Irsacs was not one of the small fry among con cct managers, whoso chief function it is to "get up" d'.butc Tor aspiring, but mistaken, young men and women chiefly women who think they have a "call." "When the notion to do something struck him, he did it cuickly. Money flew. If it came back with big profits, well and good. If it flew out of sight, why ccod-byc, and better luck next time. This, by the .zy, Tvas "next time." The Ions-haired pianist on vvkctn he had banked the previous season; had not been a success, which greatly puzzled the manager. Al! other long-haired pianists whom he had man aged had made money for him. But whether Monsieur Komowski's hair had been too long, or Just not long er.ottsh, Isaacs never could tel! the discriminating American public Is so extremely critical in such mat ters. In consequence, however, his present gamble on the youne; Italian virtuoso represented all of the money that he had left. It was "make or break" for elm. This it was that had made the day just passed the day of Monti's debut the most desperate in his whole experience as a manager. He had taken his cue from the warning sent him by his European agent and had literally watched the violinist like a cat. What a day! There had been but one circumstance to relieve In any way the strain on his nerves. For on the mantelshelf, and evidently placed there by Monti hiraself, Isaacs had observed a print copied from the o::iy existing daguerreotype of Paganini. It was a full length, the figure tall, emaciated, in quaintly cut clothes, a nose curved like tho beak of a bird of prey, hnrre hands with claw-like fingers "talons," Fetls had called them holding the violin in position, the bow pclecd for the stroke, truly a wonderfully vivid piece of portraiture, full of action and "showing that uncanny look which all of Paganini's biographers write about at length. "Th: pale, cadaverous face on which genius, sor row ar.d heli had engraved their lines." wrote Heine and there, i: was in the daguerreotype. It wa3 elsewhere, too. For Isaacs noted, and chuckled to himself as ho did so, that he had net been mistaken when he thought he detected a look or Paganini in the photographs of Monti. It was pvca quite plain to him that tho young virtuoso had be come aware of it and had studiously emphasized cer tain points of resemblance between the wizard of the violin and himself, so that the effect, even if cn a slighter physical scale, at least suggested a likeness to the daguerreotype. Monti was neither as tall nor a3 painfully thin as Paganini has been described, but there were similarities of which he had been shrewd enough to take advantage. To begin with, ARE YOU ALL RIGIiT his clothes were of old-fashioned cut, as If, In spite of his youth, he desired to date himself from a prior generation. His nose, although not to pronounced a3 Paganini's, was sufficiently aquiline to recall it, and it protruded prominently from a thin, pale face on which early poverty and privation had left deep lines. His fingers were long and thin, his hair was jet black, and his eyes shone with the restless, roving light of genius. Moreover, there was a general suggestion of the uncanny about him, the best thing of all. from Isaacs' point of view. For the manager recalled countless stories about Paganini, in which the violinist figured as none other than the devil himself taken to fiddling. Paganini's music the famous "Capriccios," the "Bell" rondo, the concertos with their inexorable demand for flawless technique and purity of tone, from the deep est notes of the instrument to weird harmonics in the highest register were the grand features of Monti's repertoire. Yet, as a whole, the day had been a wretched one. Isaacs considered himself fairly familiar with that very uncertain thing, tho temperament artistic. As a manager he had endured some curious manifestations of it, but never anything so abnormal as with Monti. He was used to the nervousness which artists exhibit on the day of their debut. The almost unvarying signs were extreme exhilaration, alternating with paralyzing trepidation, and a thousand-and-one eager questions about musical conditions in this country, American audiences, their manner of showing favor or the reverse, and the standard of American criticism. Usually, too, when the strain was at its height, a singer would relieve the tension by a series of vocal skyrockets or solfeggios, or a pianist would go to the piano and run over part of the evening's programme in fitful spasmodic fashion. But Monti! Never in his experience had Isaacs as sisted at such utter dejection. It was as if the violin ist had gone completely to pieces under the strain; and by the time the afternoon had worn on toward early evening, he was a wholly pitiable object. The few words he had spoken had been monosyllables, and these were in reply to questions asked by Isaacs in futile efforts to start conversation by way of re lieving the cheerless situation. Thus the only satis faction he could gain from his session with Monti was to glance from the virtuoso to the portrait of Paganini and note the resemblance. Yet even this satisfaction dwindled before the question that arose in his mind as to whether such an utterly wretched looking object as the virtuoso wa3 at the moment could be dragged to the concert hail, to say nothing of being expected to play. His appearance hardly could be explained by anything short of a complete nervous breakdown. As Isaacs, beset by these doubts, looked at him, he was further alarmed by a dull, glowering light in the virtuoso's eyes, deep sunken in their sockets. It seemed as if he felt he was being watched and sullenly resented it. Suddenly Monti bounded to his feet and, darting for the mantelshelf, seized some thing that flashed in the light and swif:ly pushing up a sleeve jabbed a needle into the fleshy part of the forearm. Before the violinist could repeat this I.ar.es was upon him. But like a slippery eel he eluded the manager. Scrambling over chairs, dodging behind tables, he led the chase around the room till, as if maddened by Isaacs' determined pursuit, he suddenly NOW? I GUESS THE EXCITEMENT WAS TOO turned and made a quick pass at him. Isaacs put out a warding Land, felt a sharp pin in his extended palm, and, drawing it back, found the needle sticking in it, while from behind a chair Monti regarded him with an impish leer. Angrily Isaacs drew the needle out of his hand, bent and twisted it, and threw it out of the window. After this a curious change came over Monti. From his chair he peered at Isaacs with an occasional twitching of the lips and a wink, as if he and the manager had been partners in something highly reprehensible, whereas all saacs had done . had been to prevent an uncanny specimen of the genus virtuoso from squirting himself so full of mor phine that the d6but, which the musical world was awaiting with such impatience, would have ended in tho disgrace of a non-appearance and in bankruptcy. There was, however, less tension in the present situation. Isaacs even was sensible of an agreeable lassitude that began to creep over him, a feeling of relaxation which, after the exciting episode he had Just passed through, diffused an atmosphere of optim ism and geniality about him and even imparted a roseate hue to the room where before there had been only the glaro of the electric lamps. Monti took up his violin. Not a note from this.Jnstrument, the same from which the great Paganini had drawn magic tones, had Isaacs heard. Monti had attended no re hearsals, but had contented himself with sending to the conductor of the orchestra a copy of the accom paniments with minute directions regarding tempi and expression. Even now he simply ran his fingers over the strings long, thin fingers, like spider's legs wca- ing a web of silence. Yet Isaacs seemed to hear strange harmonics, like ethereal voices calling from afar. Or were they distant chimes? And then he be came aware that a clock was striking the hour at which it was imperative they should leave for the hall. Just how they got there always remained a mys tery to Isaacs. He simply found himself sitting in the artists room, and the conductor of the orchestra was bowing out the "Second Paganini" on his way to the stage. Isaacs had an indistinct idea that he himself should be doing something, saying something in fact, asserting himself in some way. But an inertia that positively was luxurious reconciled him to an unaccustomed lack of authority and freedom from responsibility. The room became delightfully warm and hazy, and a delicious sensation of drowsi ness crept over him. He closed his eyes. After a long, long time, and as if in a dream, it seemed to him that he heard music. It was an orchestral tutti, perhaps the prelude to one of Monti's solos. Yes! For now he heard an exquisitely clear, yet wan and pathetic note- trembling on the distant air lik9 the rex hum a a. a of a celestial organ. It slowly dawned on Isaacs that the concert cn which he ha everything was si-g oa. might indeed have ing on for stome time withe: that that wierlly beautiful n. his violinist. And somehow. t hi? knowing :? was botr. --la 1 by but now v: r. o; on anists' tireiy clear to him. 1 :io le: room, but had reached tho curta: where, unobserved, he ceu'.J ?re tl audience. The conductor, tho orchestra wer :i i.t aev md tl. in th laces. the former beatir.g time, but both 1: and the p'ayors. whenever they cciid rahio their eyes from their disk?, looked in mingled awe and wonderment toward the MUCH FOR YOU." front of the stage. Isaacs followed the direction of their eyes, and there he saw a violin, the violin, the Paganini "Strad." Long, claw-like fingers were creeping, climbing, sliding over it. The strings, the whole body of the instrument, were in tense vibra tion. Through the limpid varnish that secret which died with the last of the Cremonese masters the ex quisite tracings in the grain of tho wood were visible all a-tremble, like so many nerve tendrils, under the stress of highly wrought emotion. The graceful edges of the f holes showed a faint blur, a tremor so rapid that the most delicate instrument could not have re corded It. And from that violin there issued sounds rich, ex quisite, glorious; sounds vibrant with human emotion in all its gradations, from half-suppressed sobs to cries of anguish, from first sighs of love to songs of triumph and rapture. Tone-pictures formed them selves moonlit mountains of the North, windswept prairies of the West, sunbursts of the South, lan guorous twilights of the East, hanging gardens of Babylon, ocean surges pouring over the last peak of AND FROM THAT VIOLIN ISSUED vanishing Atlantis, mysterious rites of long-ruined temples in forgotten jungles, pageantry of dead races, dream-women in vistas, who swooned with the per fume of myriads cf Cowers, everything beautiful the world ever has known or dreamed cf. everything, everything, everyth.ng, shaping itself in sound, only to dissolve like pictures thrown upon clouds! And the audience! Isaacs saw women, their eyes suffused with tears; a man unconsciously tearing his - jjW-juJiiii'j fay JSv- Mm, -ki Mm) m h Jlifef&;jM mm Mwpmi Wm mm programme into bits and letting them flutter Inta tho aisle testd? Mm, your. 5 girls holding hands and gasirg far izio the dtstan.-o tho music was creating for thorn: a famous sculptor groping in the air with his fingers, as if strivla,,- to model what he heard; an ar;i: who had c-ete.e to sketch a portrait of the vlrtu v -i si? tins i-here. his rtul on his lap. his pencil poised for 1L0 stroke that never came because be wa-? revil.nr; in sr.ir.ds that s irred his soul; the blond critic, his Ma! bowed low. lis. rains, listening, listen ir.ir. 3 3 if ho. w:.o l.ad followed ovcrj thing in music fer a -uar.er of a century, never had heard aught so wonderful. All this leases hoard and saw like oie in a trance. Or. and 0:1 went that marvelous violin like a roice f.ora another world, till at last it seemed to expire in a low. half-broken sob, then a glissando of weird harmonics, as if the strings were spun moonlight kissed by the ray cf a star: then the G string, the lowest note of the instrument, vibrating with the moan of a lost soul and the music ceased. There was a silence, one of those breathless cli-rr.are--, of rapture. Then the rush of the storm the audience beside itself with excitement bursting Into an ovation, the like cf which never before had been heard within the walls of the concert hall. Overcome by this, the culminating episode of an eventful day, Isaacs staggered back into the artists room and, weak as a child, sank into a chair. The din still kept up. Now and then it stopped and he heard tho violin again encore after encore. Then there was a mere flicker, a few sporadic handclaps, and ho knew the lights had been turned down and tho audience- forced to disperse. lu tho artists' room sat Isaacs, his eyes fixed on the door. It opened and closed like a flash, and be foro him stood the virtuoso, lank and pale, his emaciated form in clothes of old-fashioned and ec centric cut, long talon-like hands, clutching, one the violin, tho other the bow, the thin chin resting on a huge stock, tho hawk-like nose exaggerated out of all proportion, the black hair draped over his head and rolling over hi3 shoulders like a pall. Monti? No! Paganisi the living counterpart of the daguerreo type! The apparition strode toward Isaacs. It was quite close now. Ho felt a cold breath as If from the presence cf the dead. A hand reached out and touched bis face. It was like a lump of ice. A shiver passed through Isaacs. He fought to rise from the chair. Suddenly, in the warm, brilliantly lighted artists' room, he saw the conductor, an empty glass In bis band, standing before hlra. "Arc you all right now, Mr. Isaar? They wanted to 3end for a doctor, but I knew a dash of cold water would bring you around. I jruess the excitement was too much for you. No wonder. It's been a marvelous night, marvelous!" The room was crowded with orchestra players who were striving excitedly to wring the virtuoso's hand. Isaacs still was somewhat dazed, tut the sight of the man from the box office with a big tin box In his hand restored him to his senses. "A record house, Mr. Isaacs," said the man. "and we're sold out for the whole series!" Just then the blond critic pushed his way through tho crowd. "Isaacs," he cried out In his enthusiasm, "that story you sent us about Monti being Paganini come to life again it's true, man, every word of It. Look at him, listen to him. I'm going to print it in the morning. By the way, I hear you're had a torn. How are you?" "Oh, I guess I'm all right." Isaacs answered cheer fully. The big tin box, the story promised for the morning, would have raised him from the dead. At last the excitement began to subside. The critic hurried off, followed by the conductor. The orchestra players withdrew to tho nearest temple of Oam brinus. Isaacs and Monti were alone, the latter now full of life and his eyes shining, as his manager emptied the big box and began counting the money. When Isaacs had figured up the receipts he counted off a thousand dollars, shoved the bills over to the violinist and stuffed a bigger wad into his own pocket. As he did so he felt a curious tingling sensation In the palm Of SOUNDS, RICH. EXQUISITE, GLORIOUS. his right hand. Glancing down he saw what looked like an Irritated pin prick with a thin brownish drela iround it. "Monti." he raid, looking at the virtuoso, "yoate great one for sure. Paganini died twenty-Are year before I wa3 born. But I've beard him to-night; yes, and seen him; seen him right here in this room. But don't you never stick no core dope needles Into me again! Savey?"