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one of the fiddles you shewed me in M. Boudinot's shop on the quai. Do you think the ten-franc one will do, or the light one for fifteen francs ?"

"Oh, the light one, dear Ninette," I said; "it is worth more than the extra money. Besides, we shall soon earn it back now. Why, if you could earn such a lot as you have with your old organ, when you only have to turn a handle, think what a lot I shall make fiddling. For you have to be something to play the fiddle, Ni

nette."

"Yes," said the little girl, wincing; you are right, dear Anton. Perhaps you will get rich and go away and leave me." "No, Ninette," I declared grandly, "I will always take care of you. I have no doubt I shall get rich, because I am going to be a great musician, but I shall not leave you. I will have a big house in the Champs Elysées, and then you shall come and live with me and be my housekeeper. And in the evenings I will play to you and make you open your eyes, Ninette. You will like me to play, you know; we are often dull in the evenings."

"Yes," said Ninette meekly, "we will buy your fiddle to-morrow, dear Anton. Let us go home now."

Poor vanished Ninette, I must often have made the little heart sore with some of the careless things I said. Yet looking back at it now, I know that I never cared for any living person so much as I did for

Ninette.

I have very few illusions left now; a childhood such as mine does not tend to preserve them, and time and success have not made me less cynical. Still I have never let my scepticism touch that childish presence. Lady Greville once said to me, in the presence of her nephew Felix Leominster, a musician too, like myself, that we three were curiously suited, for that we were, without exception, the three most cynical persons in the universe. Perhaps in a way she was right. Yet for all her cynicism Lady Greville I know has a bundle of old and faded letters, tied up in black ribbon in some hidden drawer, that perhaps she never reads now, but that she cannot forget or destroy. They are in a bold handwriting, that is not, I think, that of the miserable old debauchee, her husband, from whom she has been separated since the first year of her marriage, and their envelopes bear Indian postmarks.

And Felix, who told me the history of those letters, with a smile of pity on his thin, ironical lips - Felix, who carries as VOL. LXI. 3142

LIVING AGE.

light a load of principles as it is possible for a man to do with and escape the clutch of the law, and in whom I believe as little as he does in me, I found out by accident not so very long ago. It was on the day of All Souls, the melancholy festival of souvenirs, celebrated once a year, under the November fogs, that I strayed into the Montparnasse Cemetery, to seek inspiration for my art. And though he did not see me, I saw Felix, the prince of railers, who believes in nothing, and cares for nothing except himself, for music is not with him a passion, but an agrément. Felix bareheaded, and without his usual smile, putting fresh flowers on the grave of a little Parisian grisette, who had been his mistress and died, five years ago. I thought of Balzac's "Messe d'Athée," and ranked Felix's inconsistency with it, feeling at the same time how natural such a paradox is.

And myself, the last of the trio, at the mercy of a street organ, I cannot forget Ninette. Though it was not until many years had passed that I heard that little criticism, the purchase of my fiddle was destined very shortly to bring my life in contact with its author.

Those were the days when a certain restraint grew up between Ninette and myself. Ninette, it must be confessed, was jealous of the fiddle. Perhaps she knew instinctively that music was with me a single and absorbing passion, from which she was excluded. She was no genius, little Ninette, and her organ was nothing more to her than the means of making a livelihood; she felt not the smallest tendresse for it, and could not understand why a dead and inanimate fiddle, made of mere wood and catgut, should be any more to me than that. How could she know that to me it was never a dead thing, that even when it hung hopelessly out of my reach, in the window of M. Boudinot, before ever it had given out wild impassioned music beneath my hands, it was always a live thing to me, alive and with a human throbbing heart, vibrating with hope and passion.

So Ninette was jealous of the fiddle, and being proud in her way, she became more and more quiet and reticent, and drew herself aloof from me, although, wrapped up as I was in the double egoism of art and boyhood, I failed to notice this. I have been sorry since that any shadow of misunderstanding should have clouded the closing days of our partnership. It is late to regret now, however. When my fiddle was added to our belongings, we

"Where did you learn to play like that, my boy?" she asked.

"I cannot remember when I could not fiddle, madame," I answered, which was true.

"The boy is a born musician, Felix," said Lady Greville. "Look at his hands." And she held up mine to the young man's notice; he glanced at them carelessly.

took to going out separately. It was more profitable, and, besides, Ninette, I think, saw that I was growing a little ashamed of her organ. On one of these occasions, as I played before a house in the Faubourg St. Germain, the turning-point of my life befell me. The house outside which I had taken my station was a large white one, with a balcony on the first floor. This balcony was unoccupied, but the window looking to it was open, and "Yes, miladi," said the young man, through the lace curtains I could distin-"they are real violin hands. What were guish the sound of voices. I began to you playing just now, my lad?" play, at first, one of the airs that Maddalena had taught me; but before it was finished, I had glided off, as usual, into an improvisation.

When I was playing like that, I threw all my soul into my fingers, and I had neither ears nor eyes for anything around me. I did not therefore notice until I had finished playing that a lady and a young man had come out into the balcony, and were beckoning to me.

"Bravo!" cried the lady enthusiastically, but she did not throw me the reward I had expected. She turned and said something to her companion, who smiled and disappeared. I waited expectantly, thinking perhaps she had sent him for her purse. Presently the door opened, and the young man issued from it. He came to me and touched me on the shoulder.

"You are to come with me," he said authoritatively, speaking in French, but with an English accent. I followed him, my heart beating with excitement, through the big door, into a large, handsome hall and up a broad staircase, thinking that in all my life I had never seen such a beautiful house.

He led me into a large and luxurious salon, which seemed to my astonished eyes like a wonderful museum. The walls were crowded with pictures, a charming water-color by Gustave Moreau was lying on the grand piano, waiting until a nook could be found for it to hang. Renaissance bronzes and the work of eighteenth century silver-smiths jostled one another on brackets, and on a table lay a handsome violin-case. The pale blinds were drawn down, and there was a delicious smell of flowers diffused everywhere. A lady was lying on a sofa near the window, a handsome woman of about thirty, whose dress was a miracle of lace and flimsi

ness.

The young man led me towards her, and she placed two delicate jewelled hands on my shoulders, looking at me steadily in the face.

"I don't know, sir," I said. "I play just what comes into my head."

Lady Greville looked at her nephew with a glance of triumph.

"What did I tell you?" she cried. "The boy is a genius, Felix. I shall have him educated."

"All your geese are swans, auntie," said the young man in English.

Lady Greville, however, ignored this thrust.

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"Will you play for me now, my dear," she said, as you did before - just what comes into your head?”

I nodded, and was getting my fiddle to my chin, when she stopped me. "Not that thing," bestowing a glance of contempt at my instrument. Felix, the Stradivarius."

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The young man went to the other side of the room, and returned with the case which I had noticed. He put it in my hand, with the injunction to handle it gently. I had never heard of Cremona violins, nor of my namesake Stradivarius ; but at the sight of the dark, seasoned wood, reposing on its blue velvet, I could not restrain a cry of admiration.

I have that same instrument in my room now, and I would not trust it in the hands of another for a million.

I lifted the violin tenderly from its case, and ran my bow up the gamut.

I felt almost intoxicated at the mellow sounds it uttered. I could have kissed the dark wood, that looked to me stained through and through with melody.

I began to play. My improvisation was a song of triumph and delight; the music, at first rapid and joyous, became slower and more solemn, as the inspiration seized on me, until at last, in spite of myself, it grew into a wild and indescribable dirge, fading away in a long wail of unutterable sadness and regret. When it was over I felt exhausted and unstrung, as though virtue had gone out from me. I had played as I had never played before. The young man had turned away, and was look

ing out of the window. The lady on the sofa was transfigured. The languor had altogether left her, and the tears were streaming down her face, to the great detriment of the powder and enamel which composed her complexion.

me.

She pulled me towards her, and kissed

"It is beautiful, terrible!" she said; "I have never heard such music in my life. You must stay with me now and have masters. If you can play like that now, without culture and education, in time, when you have been taught, you will be the greatest violinist that ever lived."

I will say of Lady Greville that, in spite of her frivolity and affectations, she does love music, at the bottom of her soul, with the absorbing passion that in my eyes would absolve a person for commit ting all the sins in the Decalogue. If her heart could be taken out and examined, I can fancy it as a shield, divided into equal fields. Perhaps, as her friends declare, one of these might bear the device "Modes et confections;" but I am sure that you would see on the other, even more deeply graven, the divine word "Music."

She is one of the few persons whose praise of any of my compositions gives me real satisfaction; and almost alone, when everybody is running, in true goose fashion, to hear my piano recitals, she knows and tells me to stick to my true vocation - the violin.

"My dear baron," she said, "why waste your time playing on an instrument which is not suited to you, when you have Stradivarius waiting at home for the magic touch?"

She was right, though it is the fashion to speak of me now as a second Rubenstein. There are scores of finer pianists than I, even here in London. But I am quite sure, yes, and you are sure, too, oh, my Stradivarius, that in the whole world there is nobody who can make such music out of you as I can, no one to whom you tell such stories as you tell to me. Any one who knows could see by merely look ing at my hands that they are violin and not piano hands.

"Will you come and live with me, Anton?" said Lady Greville, more calmly. "I am rich, and childless; you shall live just as if you were my child. The best masters in Europe shall teach you. Tell me where to find your parents, Anton, and I will see them to-night."

"I have no parents," I said; "only Ninette. I cannot leave Ninette."

"Who is Ninette?" asked Felix, turning round from the window. I told him.

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"What is to be done?" cried Lady Greville in perplexity. I cannot have the girl here as well, and I will not let my phoenix go."

"Send her to the Orphanage," said the young man carelessly; "you have a nomination."

"Have I?" said Lady Greville, with a laugh. "I am sure I did not know it. It is an excellent idea; but do you think he will come without the other? I suppose they were like brother and sister?"

"Look at him now," said Felix, pointing to where I stood, caressing the precious wood; "he would sell his soul for that fiddle." "Here,

Lady Greville took the hint. Anton," said she, "I cannot have Ninette here you understand, once and for all. But I will see that she is sent to a kind home, where she will want for nothing and be trained up as a servant. You need not bother about her. You will live with me and be taught, and some day, if you are good and behave, you shall go to see Ninette."

I was irresolute, but I only said doggedly, feeling what would be the end, "I do not want to come, if Ninette may not." Then Lady Greville played her trump card.

"Look, Anton," she said, "you see that violin. I have no need, I see, to tell you its value. If you will come with me and make no scene, you shall have it for your very own. Ninette will be perfectly happy. Do you agree ?

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I looked at my old fiddle, lying on the floor. How yellow and trashy it looked beside the grand old Cremona, bedded in its blue velvet!

"I will do what you like, madame," I said.

“Human_nature is pretty much the same in geniuses and dullards," said Felix. I congratulate you, auntie."

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And so the bargain was struck, and the new life entered upon that very day. Lady Greville sought out Ninette at once, though I was not allowed to accompany her.

I never saw Ninette again. She made no opposition to Lady Greville's scheme. She let herself be taken to the Orphanage, and she never asked, so they said, to see me again.

"She's a stupid little thing," said Lady Greville to her nephew, on her return, "and as plain as possible; but I suppose

she was kind to the boy. They will forget each other now, I hope. It is not as if they were related.”

"In that case they would be hating each other like poison already. However, I am quite sure your protégé will forget soon enough; and, after all, you have nothing to do with the girl."

I suppose I did not think very much of Ninette then; but what would you have? It was such a change from the old vagrant days, that there is a good deal to excuse me. I was absorbed too in the new and wonderful symmetry which music began to assume, as taught me by the master Lady Greville procured for me. When the news was broken to me, with great gentleness, that my little companion had run away from the sisters, with whom she had been placed-run away, and left no traces behind her, I hardly realized how completely she would have passed away from me. I thought of her for a little while with some regret; then I remembered Stradivarius, and I could not be sorry long. So by degrees I ceased to think of her.

I lived on in Lady Greville's house, going with her, wherever she stayedLondon, Paris, and Nice- until I was thirteen. Then she sent me away to study music at a small German capital, in the house of one of the few surviving pupils of Weber. We parted as we had lived together, without affection.

Personally Lady Greville did not like me; if anything, she felt an actual repugnance for me. All the care she lavished on me was for the sake of my talent, not for myself. She took a great deal of trouble in superintending, not only my musical education, but my general culture. She designed little medieval costumes for me, and was indefatigable in her endeavors to impart to my manners that finish which a gutter education had denied

me.

There is a charming portrait of me, by a well-known English artist, that hangs now in her ladyship's drawing-room. A pale boy of twelve, clad in an old-fashioned suit of ruby velvet; a boy with huge black eyes, and long curls of the same color, is standing by an oak music-stand, holding before him a Cremona violin, whose rich coloring is relieved admirably by the beautiful old point lace with which the boy's doublet is slashed. It is a charming picture. The famous artist who painted it considers it his best portrait, and Lady Greville is proud of it.

But her pride is of the same quality as

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I heard her one day express a certain feeling of relief at my approaching departure.

"You regret having taken him up?" asked her nephew curiously.

"No," she said, "that would be folly. He repays all one's trouble, as soon as he touches his fiddle-but I don't like him."

"He can play like the great god Pan," says Felix.

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"Yes, and like Pan he is half a beast." "You may make a musician out of him,' answered the young man, examining his pink nails with a certain admiration, "but you will never make him a gentleman."

"Perhaps not," said Lady Greville carelessly. "Still, Felix, he is very refined."

Dame! I think he would own himself mistaken now. Mr. Felix Leominster himself is not a greater social success than the Baron Antonio Antonelli, of the Legion of Honor. I am as sensitive as any one to the smallest spot on my linen, and duchesses rave about my charming

manners.

For the rest my souvenirs are not very numerous. I lived in Germany until I made my début, and I never heard anything more of Ninette.

The history of my life is very much the history of my art. I have always been an art-concentrated man-self-concentrated, my friend Felix Leominster tells me frankly- and since I was a boy nothing has ever troubled the serene repose of my egoism.

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It is strange, considering the way people rant about the "passionate sympathy of my playing, the "enormous potentiality of suffering" revealed in my music, how singularly free from passion and disturb ance my life has been.

I have never let myself be troubled by what is commonly called "love." To be frank with you, I do not much believe in it. Of the two principal elements of which it is composed, vanity and egoism, I have too little of the former, too much of the latter, too much coldness withal in my character to suffer from it. My life has been notoriously irreproachable. I figure in polemical literature as an instance of a man who has lived in contact with the demoralizing influence of the stage, and will yet go to heaven. A la bonne heure!

I am coming to the end of my souvenirs and of my cigar at the same time. I must convey a coin somehow to that dreary

person outside, who is grinding now halfway down the street.

not the woman, but the child. I should like to look into the wonderful eyes of the old Ninette, to feel the soft cheek laid against mine, to hold the little brown hands, as in the old gamin days.

It is a foolish thought, because I am not forty yet, and with the moderate life I lead I may live to play Stradivarius for another thirty years.

Ón consideration, I decide emphatically against opening the window and presenting it that way. If the fog once gets in, it will utterly spoil me for any work this evening. I feel myself in travail also of two charming little Lieder that all this thinking about Ninette has suggested. How would "Chansons de Gamine" do There is always the hope, too, that it, for a title? I think it best, on second when it comes, may seize me suddenly. thoughts, to ring for Giacomo, my man, To see it coming, that is the horrible part. and send him out with the half-crown II should like to be struck by lightning, propose to sacrifice on the altar of senti- with you in my arms, Stradivarius, oh, my ment. Doubtless the musician is a coun- beloved - to die playing. trywoman of his, and if he pockets the coin, that is his lookout.

Now if I was writing a romance, what a chance I have got! I should tell you how my organ-grinder turned out to be no other than Ninette. Of course she would not be spoilt or changed by the years just the same Ninette. Then what scope for a pathetic scene of reconciliation and forgiveness the whole to conclude with a peal of marriage bells, two people living together "happy ever after." But I am not writing a romance, and I am a musician, not a poet.

Sometimes, however, it strikes me that I should like to see Ninette again, and I find myself seeking traces of her in childish faces in the street.

The absurdity of such an expectation strikes me very forcibly afterwards, when I look at my reflexion in the glass, and tell myself that I must be careful in the disposition of my parting.

Ninette, too, was my contemporary. Still I cannot conceive of her as a woman. To me she is always a child. Ninette grown up, with a draggled dress and squalling babies, is an incongruous thing that shocks my sense of artistic fitness My fiddle is my only mistress, and while I can summon its consolation at command, I may not be troubled by the pettiness of was down with Roman fever, and tossed on a hotel bed all the long, hot night,

a mere human love. But once when I

while Giacomo drowsed in a corner over

"Il Diavolo Rosa," I seemed to miss Ni

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The literary gentleman over my head is stamping viciously about his room. What would his language be if he knew how I have rewarded his tormentress — he whose principles are so strict that he would bear the agony for hours, sooner than give a barrel-organ sixpence to go to another street. He would be capable of giving Giacomo a sovereign to pocket my coin, if he only knew. Yet I owe that unmusical old organ a charming evening, tinged with the faint soupçon of melancholy which is necessary to and enhances the highest pleasure. Over the memories it has excited I have smoked a pleasant cigar-peace to its ashes!

ERNEST C. Dowson.

From The Fortnightly Review.
ELK-HUNTING.

"An elk looked out of the pine forest,
He snuffed up east, he snuffed down west,
Stealthy and still!"

So sang, according to Charles Kingswoman-hater, pining for fight and chase, ley, Wulf the Goth, warrior, hunter, and and reluctantly compelled by fidelity to his chief to idle away his valuable time in the court of frail Pelagia's Alexandrian mansion. In writing this article I have no desire to work myself into the sort of kindled, after supper, in that grim old frenzy that the sound of his own voice pagan; nor to horrify my-may I hope numerous - readers as he horrified his solitary auditor, the young monk Philammon, with the concluding stanza of his ferocious hunting-song:

I sprang at his throat like a wolf of the wood,
And I warmed my hands in the smoking
blood.
Hurrah!

If we make allowance for all circumstances, including supper and compulsory

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