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The Fifth String
By John Philip Sousa
The coming of Diotti to America
had awakened more than usual
interest in the man and his work. His
marvelous success as violinist in the
leading capitals of Europe, together with
many brilliant contributions to the
literature of his instrument, had long been
favorably commented on by the critics
of the old world. Many stories of his
struggles and his triumphs had found
their way across the ocean and had been
read and re-read with interest.
Therefore, when Mr. Henry Perkins,
the well-known impresario, announced
with an air of conscious pride and
pardonable enthusiasm that he had secured
Diotti for a ``limited'' number of
concerts, Perkins' friends assured that
wide-awake gentleman that his foresight
amounted to positive genius, and
they predicted an unparalleled success
for his star. On account of his wonderful
ability as player, Diotti was a
favorite at half the courts of Europe, and
the astute Perkins enlarged upon this
fact without regard for the feelings of
the courts or the violinist.
On the night preceding Diotti's debut
in New York, he was the center of
attraction at a reception given by Mrs.
Llewellyn, a social leader, and a devoted
patron of the arts. The violinist made
a deep impression on those fortunate
enough to be near him during the even-
ing. He won the respect of the men
by his observations on matters of
international interest, and the admiration of
the gentler sex by his chivalric estimate
of woman's influence in the world's
progress, on which subject he talked
with rarest good humor and delicately
During one of those sudden and
unexplainable lulls that always occur in
general drawing-room conversations, Diotti
turned to Mrs. Llewellyn and whispered:
``Who is the charming young
woman just entering?''
``The beauty in white?''
``Yes, the beauty in white,'' softly
echoing Mrs. Llewellyn's query. He
leaned forward and with eager eyes
gazed in admiration at the new-comer.
He seemed hypnotized by the vision,
which moved slowly from between the
blue-tinted portieres and stood for the
instant, a perfect embodiment of radiant
womanhood, silhouetted against the
``That is Miss Wallace, Miss Mildred
Wallace, only child of one of New
York's prominent bankers.''
``She is beautiful--a queen by divine
right,'' cried he, and then with a mingling
of impetuosity and importunity,
entreated his hostess to present him.
And thus they met.
Mrs. Llewellyn's entertainments were
celebrated, and justly so. At her receptions
one always heard the best singers
and players of the season, and Epicurus'
soul could rest in peace, for her chef had
an international reputation. Oh,
remember, you music-fed ascetic, many,
aye, very many, regard the transition
from Tschaikowsky to terrapin, from
Beethoven to burgundy with hearts
aflame with anticipatory joy--and Mrs.
Llewellyn's dining-room was crowded.
Miss Wallace and Diotti had
wandered into the conservatory.
``A desire for happiness is our common
heritage,'' he was saying in his
richly melodious voice.
``But to define what constitutes
happiness is very difficult,'' she replied.
``Not necessarily,'' he went on; ``if
the motive is clearly within our grasp,
the attainment is possible.''
``For example?'' she asked.
``The miser is happy when he hoards
his gold; the philanthropist when he
distributes his. The attainment is identical,
but the motives are antipodal.''
``Then one possessing sufficient
motives could be happy without end?''
she suggested doubtingly.
``That is my theory. The Niobe of
old had happiness within her power.''
``The gods thought not,'' said she;
``in their very pity they changed her
into stone, and with streaming eyes she
ever tells the story of her sorrow.''
``But are her children weeping?''
he asked. ``I think not. Happiness
can bloom from the seeds of deepest
woe,'' and in a tone almost reverential,
he continued: ``I remember a picture in
one of our Italian galleries that always
impressed me as the ideal image of
maternal happiness. It is a painting of
the Christ-mother standing by the body
of the Crucified. Beauty was still hers,
and the dress of grayish hue, nun-like in
its simplicity, seemed more than royal
robe. Her face, illumined as with a light
from heaven, seemed inspired with this
thought: `They have killed Him--they
have killed my son! Oh, God, I thank
Thee that His suffering is at an end!'
And as I gazed at the holy face, an-
other light seemed to change it by
degrees from saddened motherhood to
triumphant woman! Then came: `He
is not dead, He but sleeps; He will
rise again, for He is the best beloved
of the Father!' ''
``Still, fate can rob us of our patrimony,''
she replied, after a pause.
``Not while life is here and eternity
beyond,'' he said, reassuringly.
``What if a soul lies dormant and
will not arouse?'' she asked.
``There are souls that have no motive
low enough for earth, but only high
enough for heaven,'' he said, with evident
intention, looking almost directly
``Then one must come who speaks
in nature's tongue,'' she continued.
``And the soul will then awake,'' he
``But is there such a one?'' she
``Perhaps,'' he almost whispered, his
thought father to the wish.
``I am afraid not,'' she sighed. ``I
studied drawing, worked diligently and,
I hope, intelligently, and yet I was
quickly convinced that a counterfeit
presentment of nature was puny and
insignificant. I painted Niagara. My
friends praised my effort. I saw
Niagara again--I destroyed the picture.''
``But you must be prepared to
accept the limitations of man and his
work,'' said the philosophical violinist
``Annihilation of one's own identity
in the moment is possible in nature's
domain--never in man's. The resistless,
never-ending rush of the waters,
madly churning, pitilessly dashing
against the rocks below; the mighty
roar of the loosened giant; that was
Niagara. My picture seemed but a
smear of paint.''
``Still, man has won the admiration
of man by his achievements,'' he said.
``Alas, for me,'' she sighed, ``I have
not felt it.''
``Surely you have been stirred by the
wonders man has accomplished in
music's realm?'' Diotti ventured.
``I never have been.'' She spoke
sadly and reflectively.
``But does not the passion-laden theme
of a master, or the marvelous feeling of
a player awaken your emotions?'' persisted he.
She stood leaning lightly against a
pillar by the fountain. ``I never hear a
pianist, however great and famous, but
I see the little cream-colored hammers
within the piano bobbing up and down
like acrobatic brownies. I never hear
the plaudits of the crowd for the
artist and watch him return to bow his
thanks, but I mentally demand that
these little acrobats, each resting on an
individual pedestal, and weary from his
efforts, shall appear to receive a share
of the applause.
``When I listen to a great singer,''
continued this world-defying skeptic,
``trilling like a thrush, scampering over
the scales, I see a clumsy lot of ah, ah,
ahs, awkwardly, uncertainly ambling up
the gamut, saying, `were it not for us
she could not sing thus--give us our
meed of praise.' ''
Slowly he replied: ``Masters have
written in wondrous language and masters
have played with wondrous power.''
``And I so long to hear,'' she said,
almost plaintively. ``I marvel at the
invention of the composer and the skill
of the player, but there I cease.''
He looked at her intently. She was
standing before him, not a block of
chiseled ice, but a beautiful, breathing
woman. He offered her his arm and
together they made their way to the
``Perhaps, some day, one will come
who can sing a song of perfect love in
perfect tones, and your soul will be
attuned to his melody.''
``Perhaps--and good-night,'' she
softly said, leaving his arm and joining
her friends, who accompanied her to the
The intangible something that places
the stamp of popular approval on
one musical enterprise, while another
equally artistic and as cleverly managed
languishes in a condition of unendorsed
greatness, remains one of the unsolved
When a worker in the vineyard of
music or the drama offers his choicest
tokay to the public, that fickle coquette
may turn to the more ordinary and less
succulent concord. And the worker
and the public itself know not why.
It is true, Diotti's fame had preceded
him, but fame has preceded others and
has not always been proof against financial
disaster. All this preliminary,--and
it is but necessary to recall that on the
evening of December the twelfth Diotti
made his initial bow in New York, to
an audience that completely filled every
available space in the Academy of
Music--a representative audience,
distinguished alike for beauty, wealth and
When the violinist appeared for his
solo, he quietly acknowledged the cordial
reception of the audience, and
immediately proceeded with the business
of the evening. At a slight nod from
him the conductor rapped attention,
then launched the orchestra into the
introduction of the concerto, Diotti's
favorite, selected for the first number.
As the violinist turned to the
conductor he faced slightly to the left and in
a direct line with the second proscenium
box. His poise was admirable. He was
handsome, with the olive-tinted warmth
of his southern home--fairly tall, straight-
limbed and lithe--a picture of poetic
grace. His was the face of a man who
trusted without reserve, the manner of
one who believed implicitly, feeling
that good was universal and evil accidental.
As the music grew louder and the
orchestra approached the peroration of
the preface of the coming solo, the
violinist raised his head slowly. Suddenly
his eyes met the gaze of the solitary
occupant of the second proscenium box.
His face flushed. He looked inquiringly,
almost appealingly, at her. She sat
immovable and serene, a lace-framed
vision in white.
It was she who, since he had met
her, only the night before, held his very
soul in thraldom.
He lifted his bow, tenderly placing it
on the strings. Faintly came the first
measures of the theme. The melody,
noble, limpid and beautiful, floated in
dreamy sway over the vast auditorium,
and seemed to cast a mystic glamour
over the player. As the final note of
the first movement was dying away, the
audience, awakening from its delicious
trance, broke forth into spontaneous
Mildred Wallace, scrutinizing the
program, merely drew her wrap closer
about her shoulders and sat more erect.
At the end of the concerto the applause
was generous enough to satisfy the most
exacting virtuoso. Diotti unquestionably
had scored the greatest triumph of
his career. But the lady in the box had
remained silent and unaffected throughout.
The poor fellow had seen only her dur-
ing the time he played, and the mighty
cheers that came from floor and galleries
struck upon his ear like the echoes
of mocking demons. Leaving the stage
he hurried to his dressing-room and
sank into a chair. He had persuaded
himself she should not be insensible to
his genius, but the dying ashes of his
hopes, his dreams, were smouldering,
and in his despair came the thought:
``I am not great enough for her. I am
but a man; her consort should be a god.
Her soul, untouched by human passion
or human skill, demands the power of
god-like genius to arouse it.''
Music lovers crowded into his dressing-
room, enthusiastic in their praises.
Cards conveying delicate compliments
written in delicate chirography poured
in upon him, but in vain he looked for
some sign, some word from her.
Quickly he left the theater and sought
A menacing cloud obscured the wintry
moon. A clock sounded the midnight hour.
He threw himself upon the bed and
almost sobbed his thoughts, and their
``I am not great enough for her. I
am but a man. I am but a man!''
Perkins called in the morning.
Perkins was happy--Perkins was
positively joyous, and Perkins was self-
satisfied. The violinist had made a
great hit. But Perkins, confiding in
the white-coated dispenser who
concocted his matin Martini, very dry, an
hour before, said he regarded the success
due as much to the management as
to the artist. And Perkins believed it.
Perkins usually took all the credit for a
success, and with charming consistency
placed all responsibility for failure on the
shoulders of the hapless artist.
When Perkins entered Diotti's room
he found the violinist heavy-eyed and
dejected. ``My dear Signor,'' he began,
showing a large envelope bulging with
newspaper clippings, ``I have brought
the notices. They are quite the limit, I
assure you. Nothing like them ever
heard before--all tuned in the same
key, as you musical fellows would say,''
and Perkins cocked his eye.
Perkins enjoyed a glorious reputation
with himself for bright sayings, which
he always accompanied with a cock of
the eye. The musician not showing any
visible appreciation of the manager's
metaphor, Perkins immediately
proceeded to uncock his eye.
``Passed the box-office coming up,''
continued this voluble enlightener;
``nothing left but a few seats in the top
gallery. We'll stand them on their
heads to-morrow night--see if we
don't.'' Then he handed the bursting
envelope of notices to Diotti, who
listlessly put them on the table at his side.
``Too tired to read, eh?'' said
Perkins, and then with the advance-agent
instinct strong within him he selected a
clipping, and touching the violinist on
the shoulder: ``Let me read this one to
you. It is by Herr Totenkellar. He
is a hard nut to crack, but he did himself
proud this time. Great critic when
he wants to be.''
Perkins cleared his throat and began:
``Diotti combines tremendous feeling
with equally tremendous technique.
The entire audience was under the
witchery of his art.'' Diotti slowly
negatived that statement with bowed head.
``His tone is full, round and clear; his
interpretation lends a story-telling charm
to the music; for, while we drank deep
at the fountain of exquisite melody, we
saw sparkling within the waters the
lights of Paradise. New York never
has heard his equal. He stands alone,
pre-eminent, an artistic giant.''
``Now, that's what I call great,'' said
the impresario, dramatically; ``when
you hit Totenkellar that way you are
good for all kinds of money.''
Perkins took his hat and cane and
moved toward the door. The violinist
arose and extended his hand wearily.
``Good-day'' came simultaneously;
then ``I'm off. We'll turn 'em
away to-morrow; see if we don't!''
Whereupon Perkins left Diotti alone in
It was the evening of the fourteenth,
In front of the Academy a strong-
lunged and insistent tribe of gentry,
known as ticket speculators, were reaping
a rich harvest. They represented a
beacon light of hope to many tardy patrons
of the evening's entertainment,
especially to the man who had forgotten
his wife's injunction ``to be sure
to buy the tickets on the way down
town, dear, and get them in the family
circle, not too far back.'' This man's
intentions were sincere, but his newspaper
was unusually interesting that morning.
He was deeply engrossed in an
article on the causes leading to matrimonial
infelicities when his 'bus passed
the Academy box-office.
He was six blocks farther down town
when he finished the article, only to
find that it was a carefully worded
advertisement for a new patent medicine,
and of course he had not time to
return. ``Oh, well,'' said he, ``I'll get
them when I go up town to-night.''
But he did not. So with fear in his
heart and a red-faced woman on his
arm he approached the box-office.
``Not a seat left,'' sounded to his hen-
pecked ears like the concluding words
of the black-robed judge: ``and may the
Lord have mercy upon your soul.'' But
a reprieve came, for one of the aforesaid
beacon lights of hope rushed forward,
saying: ``I have two good seats, not
far back, and only ten apiece.'' And
the gentleman with fear in his heart
and the red-faced woman on his arm
They saw the largest crowd in the
history of the Academy. Every seat was
occupied, every foot of standing room
taken. Chairs were placed in the side
aisles. The programs announced that
it was the second appearance in America
of Angelo Diotti, the renowed Tuscan
The orchestra had perfunctorily
ground out the overture to ``Der
Freischuetz,'' the baritone had stentorianly
emitted ``Dio Possente,'' the soprano
was working her way through the closing
measures of the mad scene from ``Lucia,''
and Diotti was number four on
the program. The conductor stood
beside his platform, ready to ascend as
The audience, ever ready to act when
those on the stage cease that occupation,
gave a splendid imitation of the historic
last scene at the Tower of Babel.
Having accomplished this to its evident
satisfaction, the audience proceeded, like
the closing phrase of the
``Goetterdaemmerung'' Dead March, to become
exceedingly quiet--then expectant.
This expectancy lasted fully three
minutes. Then there were some impatient
handclappings. A few persons
whispered: ``Why is he late?'' ``Why
doesn't he come?'' ``I wonder where
Diotti is,'' and then came unmistakable
signs of impatience. At its height
Perkins appeared, hesitatingly. Nervous
and jerky he walked to the center of
the stage, and raised his hand begging
silence. The audience was stilled.
``Ladies and gentlemen,'' he falteringly
said, ``Signor Diotti left his hotel
at seven o'clock and was driven to the
Academy. The call-boy rapped at his
dressing-room, and not receiving a reply,
opened the door to find the room
empty. We have despatched searchers
in every direction and have sent out a
police alarm. We fear some accident
has befallen the Signor. We ask your
indulgence for the keen disappointment,
and beg to say that your money will be
refunded at the box-office.''
Diotti had disappeared as completely
as though the earth had swallowed him.
My Dearest Sister: You
doubtless were exceedingly mystified
and troubled over the report that
was flashed to Europe regarding my
sudden disappearance on the eve of my
second concert in New York.
Fearing, sweet Francesca, that you
might mourn me as dead, I sent the
cablegram you received some weeks
since, telling you to be of good heart
and await my letter. To make my action
thoroughly understood I must give
you a record of what happened to me
from the first day I arrived in
America. I found a great interest mani-
fested in my premiere, and socially
everything was done to make me happy.
Mrs. James Llewellyn, whom, you
no doubt remember, we met in Florence
the winter of 18--, immediately after I
reached New York arranged a reception
for me, which was elegant in the
extreme. But from that night dates
You ask her name?--Mildred Wallace.
Tell me what she is like, I hear
you say. Of graceful height, willowy
and exquisitely molded, not over twenty-
four, with the face of a Madonna;
wondrous eyes of darkest blue, hair
indescribable in its maze of tawny color
--in a word, the perfection of womanhood.
In half an hour I was her abject
slave, and proud in my serfdom.
When I returned to the hotel that evening
I could not sleep. Her image ever
was before me, elusive and shadowy.
And yet we seemed to grow farther and
farther apart--she nearer heaven, I
The next evening I gave my first and
what I fear may prove my last concert
in America. The vision of my dreams
was there, radiant in rarest beauty.
Singularly enough, she was in the direct
line of my vision while I played.
I saw only her, played but for her, and
cast my soul at her feet. She sat indifferent
and silent. ``Cold?'' you say. No!
No! Francesca, not cold; superior to
my poor efforts. I realized my
limitations. I questioned my genius. When
I returned to bow my acknowledgments
for the most generous applause I have
ever received, there was no sign on her
part that I had interested her, either
through my talent or by appeal to her
curiosity. I hoped against hope that
some word might come from her, but I
was doomed to disappointment. The
critics were fulsome in their praise and
the public was lavish with its plaudits,
but I was abjectly miserable. Another
sleepless night and I was determined to
see her. She received me most
graciously, although I fear she thought my
visit one of vanity--wounded vanity--
and me petulant because of her lack of
Oh, sister mine, I knew better. I
knew my heart craved one word, however
matter-of-fact, that would rekindle
the hope that was dying within me.
Hesitatingly, and like a clumsy yokel,
I blurted: ``I have been wondering
whether you cared for the performance
``It certainly ought to make little
difference to you,'' she replied; ``the
public was enthusiastic enough in its
``But I want your opinion,'' I pleaded.
``My opinion would not at all affect
the almost unanimous verdict, ``she
``And,'' I urged desperately, ``you
were not affected in the least?''
Very coldly she answered, ``Not in
the least;'' and then fearlessly, like a
princess in the Palace of Truth: ``If
ever a man comes who can awaken my
heart, frankly and honestly I will
``Perhaps such a one lives,'' I said,
but has yet to reach the height to win
``Speak it,'' she said, ``to win my
``Yes,'' I cried, startled at her
candor, ``to win your love.'' Hope slowly
rekindled within my breast, and then
with half-closed eyes, and wooingly, she
``No drooping Clytie could be more
constant than I to him who strikes the
chord that is responsive in my soul.''
Her emotion must have surprised her,
but immediately she regained her placidity
and reverted no more to the subject.
I went out into the gathering gloom.
Her words haunted me. A strange
feeling came over me. A voice within
me cried: ``Do not play to-night.
Study! study! Perhaps in the full fruition
of your genius your music, like the
warm western wind to the harp, may
bring life to her soul.''
I fled, and I am here. I am delving
deeper and deeper into the mysteries of
my art, and I pray God each hour that
He may place within my grasp the
wondrous music His blessed angels
sing, for the soul of her I love is at.
tuned to the harmonies of heaven.
Your affectionate brother,
ISLAND OF BAHAMA, January 2.
When Diotti left New York so
precipitately he took passage
on a coast line steamer sailing for the
Bahama Islands. Once there, he leased
a small cay, one of a group off the main
land, and lived alone and unattended,
save for the weekly visits of an old
fisherman and his son, who brought
supplies of provisions from the town
miles away. His dwelling-place,
surrounded with palmetto trees, was little
more than a rough shelter. Diotti arose
at daylight, and after a simple repast,
betook himself to practise. Hour after
hour he would let his muse run riot
with his fingers. Lovingly he wooed
the strings with plaintive song, then
conquering and triumphant would be
his theme. But neither satisfied him.
The vague dream of a melody more
beautiful than ever man had heard
dwelt hauntingly on the borders of his
imagination, but was no nearer realization
than when he began. As the day's
work closed, he wearily placed the
violin within its case, murmuring,
``Not yet, not yet; I have not found it.''
Days passed, weeks crept slowly
on; still he worked, but always
with the same result. One day,
feverish and excited, he played on
in monotone almost listless. His tired,
over-wrought brain denied a further
thought. His arm and fingers refused
response to his will. With an uncontrollable
outburst of grief and anger he
dashed the violin to the floor, where it
lay a hopeless wreck. Extending his
arms he cried, in the agony of despair:
``It is of no use! If the God of heaven
will not aid me, I ask the prince of
darkness to come.''
A tall, rather spare, but well-made
and handsome man appeared at the
door of the hut. His manner was that of
one evidently conversant with the usages
of good society.
``I beg pardon,'' said the musician,
surprised and visibly nettled at the
intrusion, and then with forced politeness
he asked: ``To whom am I indebted
for this unexpected visit?''
``Allow me,'' said the stranger taking
a card from his case and handing
it to the musician, who read: ``Satan,''
and, in the lower left-hand corner
``Prince of Darkness.''
``I am the Prince,'' said the stranger,
There was no hint of the pavement-
made ruler in the information he gave,
but rather of the desire of one gentleman
to set another right at the beginning.
The musician assumed a position
of open-mouthed wonder, gazing
steadily at the visitor.
``Satan?'' he whispered hoarsely.
``You need help and advice,'' said
the visitor, his voice sounding like that
of a disciple of the healing art, and
implying that he had thoroughly diagnosed
``No, no,'' cried the shuddering
violinist; ``go away. I do not need you.''
``I regret I can not accept that
statement as gospel truth,'' said Satan,
sarcastically, ``for if ever a man needed
help, you are that man.''
``But not from you,'' replied Diotti.
``That statement is discredited also
by your outburst of a few moments ago
when you called upon me.''
``I do not need you,'' reiterated the
musician. ``I will have none of you!''
and he waved his arm toward the door,
as if he desired the interview to end.
``I came at your behest, actuated
entirely by kindness of heart,'' said Satan.
Diotti laughed derisively, and Satan,
showing just the slightest feeling at
Diotti's behavior, said reprovingly: ``If
you will listen a moment, and not be so
rude to an utter stranger, we may reach
some conclusion to your benefit.''
``Get thee behind--''
``I know exactly what you were about
to say. Have no fears on that score.
I have no demands to make and no
impossible compacts to insist upon.''
``I have heard of you before,'' know-
ingly spoke the violinist nodding his
``No doubt you have,'' smilingly.
``My reputation, which has suffered at
the hands of irresponsible people, is not
of the best, and places me at times in
awkward positions. But I am beginning
to live it down.'' The stranger
looked contrition itself. ``To prove my
sincerity I desire to help you win her
love,'' emphasizing her.
``How can you help me?''
``Very easily. You have been wasting
time, energy and health in a wild
desire to play better. The trouble lies
not with you.''
``Not with me?'' interrupted the
violinist, now thoroughly interested.
``The trouble lies not with you,''
repeated the visitor, ``but with the miserable
violin you have been using and have
just destroyed,'' and he pointed to the
Tears welled from the poor violinist's
eyes as he gazed on the fragments of his
beloved violin, the pieces lying scattered
about as the result of his unfortunate
``It was a Stradivarius,'' said Diotti,
``Had it been a Stradivarius, an Amati
or a Guarnerius, or a host of others rolled
into one, you would not have found in
it the melody to win the heart of the
woman you love. Get a better and
more suitable instrument.''
``Where is one?'' earnestly interrogated
Diotti, vaguely realizing that
``In my possession,'' Satan replied.
``She would hate me if she knew I
had recourse to the powers of darkness
to gain her love,'' bitterly interposed
Satan, wincing at this uncomplimentary
allusion to himself, replied rather
warmly: ``My dear sir, were it not for
the fact that I feel in particularly good
spirits this morning, I should resent your
ill-timed remarks and leave you to end
your miserable existence with rope or
pistol,'' and Satan pantomimed both
``Do you want the violin or not?''
``I might look at it,'' said Diotti,
resolving mentally that he could go so
far without harm.
``Very well,'' said Satan. He gave
a long whistle.
An old man, bearing a violin case,
came within the room. He bowed to
the wondering Diotti, and proceeded to
open the case. Taking the instrument
out the old man fondled it with loving
and tender solicitude, pointing out its
many beauties--the exquisite blending
of the curves, the evenness of the grain,
the peculiar coloring, the lovely contour
of the neck, the graceful outlines of the
body, the scroll, rivaling the creations
of the ancient sculptors, the solidity of
the bridge and its elegantly carved heart,
and, waxing exceedingly enthusiastic,
holding up the instrument and looking
at it as one does at a cluster of gems, he
added, ``the adjustment of the strings.''
``That will do,'' interrupted Satan,
taking the violin from the little man,
who bowed low and ceremoniously
took his departure. Then the devil,
pointing to the instrument, asked: ``Isn't
it a beauty?''
The musician, eying it keenly,
replied: ``Yes, it is, but not the kind of
violin I play on.''
``Oh, I see,'' carelessly observed the
other, ``you refer to that extra string.''
``Yes,'' answered the puzzled violinist,
examining it closely.
``Allow me to explain the peculiar
characteristics of this magnificent instrument,''
said his satanic majesty. ``This
string,'' pointing to the G, ``is the
string of pity; this one,'' referring to the
third, ``is the string of hope; this,''
plunking the A, ``is attuned to love,
while this one, the E string, gives forth
sounds of joy.
``You will observe,'' went on the
visitor, noting the intense interest displayed
by the violinist, ``that the position
of the strings is the same as on any
other violin, and therefore will require
no additional study on your part.''
``But that extra string?'' interrupted
Diotti, designating the middle one on
the violin, a vague foreboding rising
``That,'' said Mephistopheles,
solemnly, and with no pretense of sophistry,
``is the string of death, and he who
plays upon it dies at once.''
the violinist almost inaudibly.
``Yes, the string of death,'' Satan
repeated, ``and he who plays upon it dies
at once. But,'' he added cheerfully,
``that need not worry you. I noticed a
marvelous facility in your arm work.
Your staccato and spiccato are wonderful.
Every form of bowing appears
child's play to you. It will be easy for
you to avoid touching the string.''
``Why avoid it? Can it not be cut off?''
``Ah, that's the rub. If you
examine the violin closely you will find
that the string of death is made up of
the extra lengths of the other four
strings. To cut it off would destroy the
others, and then pity, hope, love and joy
would cease to exist in the soul of the
``How like life itself,'' Diotti
reflected, ``pity, hope, love, joy end in
death, and through death they are born
``That's the idea, precisely,'' said
Satan, evidently relieved by Diotti's
logic and quick perception.
The violinist examined the instrument
with the practised eye of an expert, and
turning to Satan said: ``The four
strings are beautifully white and transparent,
but this one is black and odd
``What is it wrapped with?'' eagerly
inquired Diotti, examining the death
string with microscopic care.
``The fifth string was added after an
unfortunate episode in the Garden of
Eden, in which I was somewhat
concerned,'' said Satan, soberly. ``It is
wrapped with strands of hair from the
first mother of man.'' Impressively then
he offered the violin to Diotti.
``I dare not take it,'' said the
perplexed musician; ``it's from--''
``Yes, it is directly from there, but I
brought it from heaven when I--I left,''
said the fallen angel, with remorse in
his voice. ``It was my constant
companion there. But no one in my
domain--not I, myself--can play upon it
now, for it will respond neither to our
longing for pity, hope, love, joy, nor
even death,'' and sadly and retrospectively
Satan gazed into vacancy; then,
after a long pause: ``Try the instrument!''
Diotti placed the violin in position
and drew the bow across the string of
joy, improvising on it. Almost instantly
the birds of the forest darted hither and
thither, caroling forth in gladsome
strains. The devil alone was sad, and
with emotion said:
``It is many, many years since I
have heard that string.''
Next the artist changed to the string
of pity, and thoughts of the world's
sorrows came over him like a pall.
``Wonderful, most wonderful!'' said
the mystified violinist; ``with this
instrument I can conquer the world!''
``Aye, more to you than the world,''
said the tempter, ``a woman's love.''
A woman's love--to the despairing
suitor there was one and only one in this
wide, wide world, and her words, burning
their way into his heart, had made
this temptation possible: ``No droop-
ing Clytie could be more constant than
I to him who strikes the chord that is
responsive in my soul.''
Holding the violin aloft, he cried
exultingly: ``Henceforth thou art mine,
though death and oblivion lurk ever
Perkins, seated in his office,
threw the morning paper aside.
``It's no use,'' he said, turning to the
office boy, ``I don't believe they ever
will find him, dead or alive. Whoever
put up the job on Diotti was a past
grand master at that sort of thing. The
silent assassin that lurks in the shadow
of the midnight moon is an explosion of
dynamite compared to the party that
made way with Diotti. You ask, why
should they kill him? My boy, you
don't know the world. They were
jealous of his enormous hit, of our
dazzling success. Jealousy did it.''
The ``they'' of Perkins comprised
rival managers, rival artists, newspaper
critics and everybody at large
who would not concede that the
attractions managed by Perkins were the
``greatest on earth.''
``We'll never see his like again--
come in!'' this last in answer to a knock.
Diotti appeared at the open door.
Perkins jumped like one shot from a
catapult, and rushing toward the silent
figure in the doorway exclaimed: ``Bless
my soul, are you a ghost?''
``A substantial one,'' said Diotti with
``Are you really here?'' continued
the astonished impresario, using Diotti's
arm as a pump handle and pinching
him at the same time.
When they were seated Perkins plied
Diotti with all manner of questions;
``How did it happen?'' ``How did you
escape?'' and the like, all of which Diotti
parried with monosyllabic replies, finally
saying: ``I was dissatisfied with my
playing and went away to study.''
``Do you know that the failure to fulfill
your contract has cost me at least ten
thousand dollars?'' said the shrewd
manager, the commercial side of his
nature asserting itself.
``All of which I will pay,'' quietly
replied the artist. ``Besides I am ready
to play now, and you can announce a
concert within a week if you like.''
``If I like?'' cried the hustling Perkins.
``Here, James,'' calling his office
boy, ``run down to the printer's
and give him this,'' making a note of
the various sizes of ``paper'' he desired,
``and tell Mr. Tompkins that Diotti is
back and will give a concert next Tuesday.
Tell Smith to prepare the newspaper
`ads' and notices immediately.''
In an hour Perkins had the entire
machinery of his office in motion.
Within twenty-four hours New York
had several versions of the disappearance
and return, all leading to one
common point--that Diotti would give
a concert the coming Tuesday evening.
The announcement of the reappearance
of the Tuscan contained a line
to the effect that the violinist would play
for the first time his new suite--a
meditation on the emotions.
He had not seen Mildred.
As he came upon the stage that night
the lights were turned low, and naught
but the shadowy outlines of player and
violin were seen. His reception by the
audience was not enthusiastic. They
evidently remembered the disappointment
caused by his unexpected disappearance,
but this unfriendly attitude
soon gave way to evidences of kindlier
Mildred was there, more beautiful
than ever, and to gain her love Diotti
would have bartered his soul that moment.
The first movement of the suite was
entitled ``Pity,'' and the music flowed
like melodious tears. A subdued sob
rose and fell with the sadness of the
Mildred's eyes were moistened as
she fixed them on the lone figure of the
Now the theme of pity changed to
hope, and hearts grew brighter under the
spell. The next movement depicted joy.
As the virtuoso's fingers darted here and
there, his music seemed the very laughter
of fairy voices, the earth looked roses
and sunshine, and Mildred, relaxing her
position and leaning forward in the box,
with lips slightly parted, was the picture
of eager happiness.
The final movement came. Its subject
was love. The introduction depicted
the Arcadian beauty of the
trysting place, love-lit eyes sought each
other intuitively and a great peace
brooded over the hearts of all. Then
followed the song of the Passionate Pilgrim:
``If music and sweet poetry agree,
As they must needs, the sister and the brother,
When must the love be great 'twixt thee and me
Because thou lov'st the one, and I the other.
Thou lov'st to hear the sweet melodious sound
That Phoebus' lute (the queen of music) makes;
And I in deep delight, am chiefly drown'd
When as himself to singing he betakes.
One god is god of both, as poets
One knight loves both, and both in thee remain.''
Grander and grander the melody
rose, voicing love's triumph with wondrous
sweetness and palpitating rhythm.
Mildred, her face flushed with excitement,
a heavenly fire in her eyes and in
an attitude of supplication, reveled in
the glory of a new found emotion.
As the violinist concluded his
performance an oppressive silence pervaded
the house, then the audience, wild with
excitement, burst into thunders of
applause. In his dressing-room Diotti
was besieged by hosts of people,
congratulating him in extravagant terms.
Mildred Wallace came, extending her
hands. He took them almost reverently.
She looked into his eyes, and
he knew he had struck the chord responsive
in her soul.
The sun was high in the heavens
when the violinist awoke. A great
weight had been lifted from his heart;
he had passed from darkness into dawn.
A messenger brought him this note:
My Dear Signor Diotti--I am at home this
afternoon, and shall be delighted to see you and
return my thanks for the exquisite pleasure you
gave me last evening. Music, such as yours,
is indeed the voice of heaven. Sincerely,
The messenger returned with this reply:
My Dear Miss Wallace--I will call at three to-day.
He watched the hour drag from eleven
to twelve, then counted the minutes to
one, and from that time until he left the
hotel each second was tabulated in his
mind. Arriving at her residence, he
was ushered into the drawing-room. It
was fragrant with the perfume of violets,
and he stood gazing at her portrait
expectant of her coming.
Dressed in simple white, entrancing
in her youthful freshness, she entered,
her face glowing with happiness, her
eyes languorous and expressive. She
hastened to him, offering both hands.
He held them in a loving, tender grasp,
and for a moment neither spoke. Then
she, gazing clearly and fearlessly into
his eyes, said: ``My heart has found its
He, kneeling like Sir Gareth of old:
``The song and the singer are yours
She, bidding him arise: ``And I forever
yours.'' And wondering at her
boldness, she added, ``I know and feel
that you love me--your eyes confirmed
your love before you spoke.'' Then,
convincingly and ingenuously, ``I knew
you loved me the moment we first met.
Then I did not understand what that
meant to you, now I do.''
He drew her gently to him, and the
motive of their happiness was defined
in sweet confessions: ``My love, my
life--My life, my love.''
The magic of his music had changed
her very being, the breath of love was
in her soul, the vision of love was dancing
in her eyes. The child of marble,
like the statue of old, had come to life:
``And not long since
I was a cold, dull stone! I recollect
That by some means I knew that I was stone;
That was the first dull gleam of consciousness;
I became conscious of a chilly self,
A cold, immovable identity.
I knew that I was stone, and knew no more!
Then, by an imperceptible advance,
Came the dim evidence of outer things,
Seen--darkly and imperfectly--yet seen
The walls surrounding me, and I, alone.
That pedestal--that curtain--then a voice
That called on Galatea! At that word,
Which seemed to shake my marble to the core,
That which was dim before, came evident.
Sounds, that had hummed around me, indistinct,
Vague, meaningless--seemed to resolve themselves
Into a language I could understand;
I felt my frame pervaded by a glow
That seemed to thaw my marble into flesh;
Its cold, hard substance throbbed with active life,
My limbs grew supple, and I moved--I lived!
Lived in the ecstasy of a new-born life!
Lived in the love of him that fashioned me!
Lived in a thousand tangled thoughts of hope.''
Day after day he came; they told their
love, their hopes, their ambitions. She
assumed absolute proprietorship in him.
She gloried in her possession.
He was born into the world, nurtured
in infancy, trained in childhood and
matured into manhood, for one express
purpose--to be hers alone. Her
ownership ranged from absolute despotism
to humble slavery, and he was happy
through it all.
One day she said: ``Angelo, is it your purpose
to follow your profession always?''
``Necessarily, it is my livelihood,'' he replied.
``But do you not think that after we
stand at the altar, we never should be
``We will be together always,'' said
he, holding her face between his palms,
and looking with tender expression into
her inquiring eyes.
``But I notice that women cluster
around you after your concerts--and
shake your hand longer than they
should--and talk to you longer than
they should--and go away looking self-
satisfied!'' she replied brokenly, much
as a little girl tells of the theft of her
``Nonsense,'' he said, smiling, ``that
is all part of my profession; it is not
me they care for, it is the music I
give that makes them happy. If, in my
playing, I achieve results out of the
common, they admire me!'' and he kissed
away the unwelcome tears.
``I know,'' she continued, ``but
lately, since we have loved each other,
I can not bear to see a woman near
you. In my dreams again and again
an indefinable shadow mockingly comes;
and cries to me, `he is not to be yours,
he is to be mine.' ''
Diotti flushed and drew her to him
``Darling,'' his voice carrying conviction,
``I am yours, you are mine, all in
all, in life here and beyond!'' And as
she sat dreaming after he had gone, she
murmured petulantly, ``I wish there
were no other women in the world.''
Her father was expected from Europe
on the succeeding day's steamer. Mr.
Wallace was a busy man. The various
gigantic enterprises he served as president
or director occupied most of his
time. He had been absent in Europe
for several months, and Mildred was
anxiously awaiting his return to tell him
of her love.
When Mr. Wallace came to his residence
the next morning, his daughter
met him with a fond display of filial
affection; they walked into the drawing-
room, hand in hand; he saw a picture
of the violinist on the piano. ``Who's
the handsome young fellow?'' he asked,
looking at the portrait with the satisfaction
a man feels when he sees a splendid
type of his own sex.
``That is Angelo Diotti, the famous
violinist,'' she said, but she could not
add another word.
As they strolled through the rooms
he noticed no less than three likenesses
of the Tuscan. And as they passed her
room he saw still another on the chiffonnier.
``Seems to me the house is running wild with
photographs of that fiddler,'' he said.
For the first time in her life she was
self-conscious: ``I will wait for a more
opportune time to tell him,'' she thought.
In the scheme of Diotti's appearance
in New York there were to be two
more concerts. One was to be given
that evening. Mildred coaxed her
father to accompany her to hear the
violinist. Mr. Wallace was not fond
of music; ``it had been knocked out of
him on the farm up in Vermont, when
he was a boy,'' he would apologetically
explain, and besides he had the old
puritanical abhorrence of stage people--
putting them all in one class--as puppets
who danced for played or talked for an
idle and unthinking public.
So it was with the thought of a
wasted evening that he accompanied
Mildred to the concert.
The entertainment was a repetition
of the others Diotti had given, and at
its end, Mildred said to her father:
``Come, I want to congratulate Signor
Diotti in person.''
``That is entirely unnecessary,'' he
``It is my desire,'' and the girl led
the unwilling parent back of the scenes
and into Diotti's dressing-room.
Mildred introduced Diotti to her
father, who after a few commonplaces
lapsed into silence. The daughter's
enthusiastic interest in Diotti's performance
and her tender solicitude for his
weariness after the efforts of the evening,
quickly attracted the attention of
Mr. Wallace and irritated him exceedingly.
When father and daughter were
seated in their carriage and were hurriedly
driving home, he said: ``Mildred,
I prefer that you have as little to say to
that man as possible.''
``What do you object to in him?''
``Everything. Of what use is a man
who dawdles away his time on a fiddle;
of what benefit is he to mankind? Do
fiddlers build cities? Do they delve into
the earth for precious metals? Do they
sow the seed and harvest the grain?
No, no; they are drones--the barnacles
``Father, how can you advance such
an argument? Music's votaries offer no
apologies for their art. The husbandman
places the grain within the breast
of Mother Earth for man's material
welfare; God places music in the heart of
man for his spiritual development. In
man's spring time, his bridal day, music
means joy. In man's winter time,
his burial day, music means comfort.
The heaven-born muse has added to the
happiness of the world. Diotti is a
great genius. His art brings rest and
tranquillity to the wearied and despairing,''
and she did not speak again until
they had reached the house.
The lights were turned low when
father and daughter went into the
drawing-room. Mr. Wallace felt that
he had failed to convince Mildred of the
utter worthlessness of fiddlers, big or
little, and as one dissatisfied with the
outcome of a contest, re-entered the
``He has visited you?''
``Yes, father,'' spoken calmly.
``Often?'' louder and more imperiously
repeated the father, as if there
must be some mistake.
``Quite often,'' and she sat down,
knowing the catechizing would be likely
to continue for some minutes.
``How many times, do you think?''
She rose, walked into the hallway;
took the card basket from the table,
returned and seated herself beside her
father, emptying its contents into her
lap. She picked up a card. It read
``Angelo Diotti,'' and she called the
name aloud. She took up another and
again her lips voiced the beloved name.
``Angelo Diotti,'' she continued, repeating
at intervals for a minute. Then
looking at her father: ``He has called
thirty-two times; there are thirty-one
cards here and on one occasion he forgot
``Thirty-two!'' said the father, rising
angrily and pacing the floor.
``Yes, thirty-two. I remember all
of them distinctly.''
Her father came over to her, half
coaxingly, half seriously. ``Mildred, I
wish his visits to cease; people will
imagine there is a romantic attachment
``There is, father,'' out it came, ``he
loves me and I love him.''
``What!'' shouted Mr. Wallace, and
then severely, ``this must cease immediately.''
She rose quietly and led her father
over to the mantel. Placing a hand on
each of his shoulders she said:
``Father, I will obey you implicitly
if you can name a reasonable objection
to the man I love. But you can not.
I love him with my whole soul. I love
him for the nobility of his character,
and because there is none other in the
world for him, nor for me.''
Old Sanders as boy and man
had been in the employ of the
banking and brokerage firm of Wallace
Brothers for two generations. The firm
gradually had advanced his position until
now he was confidential adviser and
general manager, besides having an
interest in the profits of the business.
He enjoyed the friendship of Mr.
Wallace, and had been a constant visitor
at his house from the first days of
that gentleman's married life. He himself
was alone in the world, a confirmed
bachelor. He had seen Mildred creep
from babyhood into childhood, and bud
from girlhood to womanhood. To Mildred
he was one of that numerous army
of brevet relations known as ``gran-
pop,'' ``pop,'' or ``uncle.'' To her he
was Uncle Sanders.
If the old man had one touch of human
nature in him it was a solicitude
for Mildred's future--an authority arrogated
to himself--to see that she married
the right man; but even that was
directed to her material gain in this
world's goods, and not to any sentimental
consideration for her happiness.
He flattered himself that by timely
suggestion he had ``stumped'' at least half
a dozen would-be candidates for Mildred's
hand. He pooh-poohed love as a
necessity for marital felicity, and would
enforce his argument by quoting from
``All lovers swear more performance
than they are able, and yet reserve an
ability that they never perform; vowing
more than the perfection of ten, and
discharging less than the tenth part of one.''
``You can get at a man's income,''
he would say, ``but not at his heart.
Love without money won't travel as far
as money without love,'' and many
married people whose bills were overdue
wondered if the old fellow was
He was cold-blooded and generally
disliked by the men under him. The
more evil-minded gossips in the bank
said he was in league with ``Old
Nick.'' That, of course, was absurd,
for it does not necessarily follow,
because a man suggests a means looking
to an end, disreputable though it be,
that he has Mephistopheles for a silent
partner. The conservative element
among the employees would not openly
venture so far, but rather thought if his
satanic majesty and old Sanders ran a
race, the former would come in a bad
second, if he were not distanced altogether.
The old man always reached the office
at nine. Mr. Wallace usually arrived a
half hour later, seldom earlier, which was
so well understood by Sanders that he
was greatly surprised when he walked
into the president's office, the morning
after that gentleman had attended
Diotti's concert, to find the head of the
firm already there and apparently waiting for him.
``Sanders,'' said the banker, ``I
want your advice on a matter of great
importance and concern to me.''
Sanders came across the room and
stood beside the desk.
``Briefly as possible, I am much
exercised about my daughter.''
The old man moved up a chair and
buried himself in it. Pressing his elbows
tightly against his sides, he drew
his neck in, and with the tips of his
right hand fingers consorted and
coquetted with their like on the opposite
hand; then he simply asked, ``Who is
``He is the violinist who has created
such a sensation here, Angelo Diotti.''
``Yes, I've seen the name in print,''
returned the old man.
``He has bewitched Mildred. I never
have seen her show the least interest in
a man before. She never has appeared
to me as an impressionable girl or one
that could easily be won.''
``That is very true,'' ejaculated
Sanders; ``she always seemed tractable and
open to reason in all questions of love
and courting. I can recall several
instances where I have set her right by
my estimation of men, and invariably
she has accepted my views.''
``And mine until now,'' said the
father, and then he recounted his
experience of the night before. ``I had
hoped she would not fall in love, but
be a prop and comfort to me now that
I am alone. I am dismayed at the
prospect before me.''
Then the old man mused: ``In the
chrysalis state of girlhood, a parent
arranges all the details of his daughter's
future; when and whom she shall marry.
`I shall not allow her to fall in love
until she is twenty-three,' says the fond
parent. `I shall not allow her to marry
until she is twenty-six,' says the fond
parent. `The man she marries will be
the one I approve of, and then she will
live happy ever after,' concludes the
Deluded parent! false prophet! The
anarchist, Love, steps in and disdains
all laws, rules and regulations. When
finally the father confronts the defying
daughter, she calmly says, ``Well,
what are you going to do about it?''
And then tears, forgiveness, complete
capitulation, and, sometimes, she and
her husband live happily ever afterwards.
``We must find some means to end
this attachment. A union between a
musician and my daughter would be
most mortifying to me. Some plan
must be devised to separate them, but
she must not know of it, for she is
impatient of restraint and will not brook
``Are you confident she really loves
``She confessed as much to me,''
said the perturbed banker.
Old Sanders tapped with both hands
on his shining cranium and asked,
``Are you confident he loves her?''
``No. Even if he does not, he no doubt
makes the pretense, and she believes
him. A man who fiddles for money
is not likely to ignore an opportunity to
angle for the same commodity,'' and
the banker, with a look of scorn on his
face, threw himself back into the chair.
``Does she know that you do not
approve of this man?''
``I told her that I desired the
musician's visits to cease.''
``And her answer?''
``She said she would obey me if I
could name one reasonable objection to
the man, and then, with an air of absolute
confidence in the impossibility of
such a contingency, added, `But you
can not.' ''
``Yes, but you must,'' said Sanders.
``Mildred is strangely constituted. If
she loves this man, her love can be
more deadly to the choice of her heart
than her hate to one she abhors. The
impatience of restraint you speak of and
her very inability to brook opposition
can be turned to good account now.''
And old Sanders again tapped in the
rhythm of a dirge on his parchment-
``Your plan?'' eagerly asked the
father, whose confidence in his secretary
``I would like to study them together.
Your position will be stronger with
Mildred if you show no open opposition
to the man or his aspirations; bring us
together at your house some evening,
and if I can not enter a wedge of
discontent, then they are not as others.''
Mildred was delighted when her
father told her on his return in the
evening that he was anxious to meet
Signor Diotti, and suggested a dinner
party within a few days. He said he
would invite Mr. Sanders, as that
gentleman, no doubt, would consider it a
great privilege to meet the famous
musician. Mildred immediately sent an
invitation to Diotti, adding a request
that he bring his violin and play for
Uncle Sanders, as the latter had found
it impossible to attend his concerts during
the season, yet was fond of music,
especially violin music.
The little dinner party passed off
pleasantly, and as old Sanders
lighted his cigar he confided to Diotti,
with a braggart's assurance, that when
he was a youngster he was the best fiddler
for twenty miles around. ``I tell
you there is nothing like a fiddler to
catch a petticoat,'' he said, with a sharp
nudge of his elbow into Diotti's ribs.
``When I played the Devil's Dream
there wasn't a girl in the country could
keep from dancing, and `Rosalie, the
Prairie Flower,' brought them on their
knees to me every time;'' then after a
pause, ``I don't believe people fiddle as
well nowadays as they did in the good
old times,'' and he actually sighed in
Mildred smiled and whispered to
Diotti. He took his violin from the case
and began playing. It seemed to her
as if from above showers of silvery
merriment were falling to earth. The old
man watched intently, and as the player
changed from joy to pity, from love
back to happiness, Sanders never withdrew
his gaze. His bead-like eyes followed
the artist; he saw each individual
finger rise and fall, and the bow bound
over the finger-board, always avoiding,
never coming in contact with the middle
string. Suddenly the old man beat a
tattoo on his cranium and closed his
eyes, apparently deep in thought.
As Diotti ceased playing, Sanders
applauded vociferously, and moving
toward the violinist, said: ``Magnificent!
I never have heard better playing!
What is the make of your violin?''
Diotti, startled at this question,
hurriedly put the instrument in its case;
``Oh, it is a famous make,'' he drawled.
``Will you let me examine it?'' said
the elder, placing his hand on the case.
``I never allow any one to touch my
violin,'' replied Diotti, closing the cover
``Why; is there a magic charm about
it, that you fear other hands may
discover?'' queried the old man.
``I prefer that no one handle it,''
said the virtuoso commandingly.
``Very well,'' sighed the old man
resignedly, ``there are violins and violins,
and no doubt yours comes within that
category,'' this half sneeringly.
``Uncle,'' interposed Mildred tactfully,
``you must not be so persistent. Signor
Diotti prizes his violin highly and will
not allow any one to play upon it but
himself,'' and the look of relief on
Diotti's face amply repaid her.
Mr. Wallace came in at that moment,
and with perfunctory interest in his
guest, invited him to examine the splendid
collection of revolutionary relics in
``I value them highly,'' said the
banker, ``both for patriotic and ancestral
reasons. The Wallaces fought and
died for their country, and helped to
make this land what it is.''
The father and the violinist went to
the study, leaving the daughter and old
Sanders in the drawing-room. The
old man, seating himself in a large armchair,
said: ``Mildred, my dear, I do
not wonder at the enormous success of
``He is a wonderful artist,'' replied
Mildred; ``critics and public alike place
him among the greatest of his profession.''
``He is a good-looking young fellow,
too,'' said the old man.
``I think he is the handsomest man I
ever have seen,'' replied the girl.
``Where does he come from?''
``St. Casciano, a small town in Tuscany.''
``Has he a family?''
``Only a sister, whom he loves
dearly,'' good-naturedly answered the
``And no one else?'' continued the
seemingly garrulous old man.
``None that I have heard him speak
of. No, certainly not,'' rather impetuously