“I cannot play. I have no music.”
He was startled from his reverie by the sound of a piteous whine. He listened for a repetition of the plaint, and when the whine expanded to a howl, Sebastian leaped from his chair, and dashed through the corridor and down the kitchen stair, with a pang of recollection.
“I forgot to let Grubel in, and it’s bitter cold outside!”
He made his way swiftly through the dark room, unbolted the outer door, and flung it wide.
A huge St. Bernard 佛山桑拿哪里最好 bounded into the room, and Sebastian, brushing the snow from the shaggy coat, caressed his pet affectionately.
“Now, Grubel, Schwester doesn’t like you to stay in this room. Come along, old fellow, into the passage!”
The dog obediently followed his master across the dark kitchen, and trotted through the door that Sebastian held open for him.
As the boy sought the stairway again, his attention was arrested by a flood of moonlight pouring through the uncurtained pane and illuminating one of the much-used music sheets that had fallen from the bag which Christoff had thrown into the window-sill after locking his own book behind the wicker door.
“How bright the night is,” thought Sebastian. “One could read the notes, I believe, without a candle.”
Bending over the pages, he found it to be quite true that the dots and lines were 佛山桑拿全套特服 clearly definable.
“I wonder if I could write well by such a light; I’ll try it,” and idly lifting a pen from his sister’s table, he dipped it and scribbled his name across the top of the music sheet.
“Very good,” observed he, eyeing the scrawl with admiration; then a thought shot through his brain that seemed to turn him to stone, for he stood motionless, with head thrown back and pen uplifted, while the silvery moonlight, bathing him from head to foot, transfixed him into a marble statue of expectancy.
“I wonder if I could, I wonder if I could!” he whispered excitedly. “I’ll try now, this very night. If I could get hold of Christoff’s fugues, and copy them here in the moonlight, I should have a book of my own, and still keep my promise not to play out of his.”
Turning to the cupboard that held the coveted treasure, 佛山桑拿介绍 Sebastian gazed wistfully into its second shelf. The doors were of strong steel lattice work, and Sebastian saw that it would be [Pg 30]impossible either to insert his hand through the finely interlaced bars, or to bend them in the hope of securing a wider opening.
The boy’s burning desire to obtain the music, and his sense of the justice of his purpose, would not let him draw back without a mighty effort.
Casting about for some means of assistance, his eye fell upon his brother’s violin case. Opening this, he hastily extracted the bow, strong and slender, inserted it between the powerful wires, deftly worked the roll of music to and fro, drawing it ever nearer until it lay at the outer edge of the shelf. Slipping one finger and thumb through the mesh, he seized the roll firmly and drew it from the cabinet. For a moment 佛山夜生活论坛 he could do nothing but hug the volume madly to his breast, in the joy of his accomplishment; then running noiselessly up to his room for copy-paper, he speedily returned, spread the sheets before him on his sister’s table, drew up a chair, and set to work.
Swiftly and steadily he wrote, bending very low above the page, that he might read his text correctly. He took no note of the flight of time, but as the moon rose higher in the heavens, his pages grew shadowy, and he was obliged to draw the table into the sheen of her passing radiance. The fire died out, the room grew cold, and the boy from time to time threw down his pen, and beat and blew upon his benumbed fingers, warming them to further activity.
At last the light failed utterly, and in the gloom Sebastian rose, carefully rolled his brother’s manuscript, 佛山桑拿论坛 strapped it as usual, pushed it through the lattice, adjusted it to its former position by aid of the violin bow, gathered up his freshly written sheets, and crept cautiously to his room.
Next morning he met his brother at breakfast, and Christoff secretly wondered that the boy wore so cheerful a countenance. No reference was made to the distressing scene of yesterday, and[Pg 32] the brothers set off together, Christoff on his way to a pupil, and Sebastian to school, quite as though the painful episode had not happened.
Sebastian attended his various classes like one in a dream, for his mind was filled with his daring enterprise, and the tremendous effort he must put forth before his book should be completed.
His zeal did not abate, and at evening he waited breathlessly until the household fell into heavy slumber; then once again he stole down to the kitchen, arranged his materials at the window, and toiled feverishly until the white light faded.
Night after night he repeated his adventurous vigil, and no one of the family suspected that anything extraordinary was taking place in the house.
To Sebastian’s surprise, he discovered that the moon rose later each night; and ere long he was obliged to wait up so late for his shimmering torch that he was forced to bathe his face in icy water,[Pg 33] tramp up and down his chamber, and bite his tongue severely in order to keep awake. Even these heroic measures failed when the moon was delayed until the middle of the night; and Sebastian realized with dismay that he must set his work aside until the time in the following month when his friendly lantern would begin again to mount the sky at an early hour.
Laboring with such hindrances as dim and fleeting light, nearsighted eyes, loss of sleep, and piercing cold, the lad’s progress was necessarily slow. Week after week, month after month, he continued at his weighty task; but never once did his interest flag nor his patience fail. His organ lessons with Christoff were carried on in a half-hearted fashion, old selections being rehearsed, and studies previously finished, indifferently played and heard. Had not Sebastian been fired with a dominant purpose, and bent upon mastering his art at any cost to himself, he would doubtless, at this[Pg 34] period of cold laxity on his teacher’s part, have abandoned his music altogether. But deep in his breast there was rooted a desire so strong,
a hope so pure, that even Christoff’s unjust denial had not power to discourage him.
If the elder Bach had been less orderly in his habits, Sebastian would not always have found the manuscript within reach; but though Christoff took it daily from the cabinet, he always returned it precisely to the place and position which it had occupied before.
One night Sebastian barely escaped detection. He had just descended to the kitchen, and was groping about for the violin box, when accidentally he stumbled upon the hearth-rug, and overturned a chair with a great clatter. Christoff, roused by the unwonted noise, bounded from his bed and made for the stair, pausing just long enough on the way to light a candle.
Sebastian was appalled at hearing his brother’s step. Dropping to the floor,[Pg 35] he crept hastily under the dining-table,
convinced that its drapery would not screen him from his brother’s eagle eye. He shook from head to foot, not with fear of punishment, but with dread of losing his chance at the fugues.
Christoff, however, came only half-way down, and stood upon the stair, holding the candle high above his head and peering about the dusky kitchen for traces of intruders. Nothing out of the ordinary greeted his gaze, for Sebastian had hastily righted the chair before beating his retreat, and the music roll had not yet been taken from the cupboard. The organist, perceiving no mark of robbers, heaved a sigh of relief and quickly repaired to his room, deciding that the disturbance must have been an ugly dream.
Six months had glided slowly by, bringing their gifts of increasing warmth and fragrance, when, one clear midsummer’s night, Sebastian finished his book. He was so beset with agitation upon[Pg 36] discovering that only one page remained to be copied that he could scarcely command himself to pen the finishing notes.
“I’m almost done,” he murmured over and over, as his quill flew across the paper. “One line more, and the fugues will be mine! Now, a single measure, a single measure! One note—ah—it is done, it is done!”
The monument to little Bach’s courage and fidelity was built.
The pen dropped from his aching fingers, and, overcome with weariness, he laid down his head beside the closely written sheets and fell asleep.
His friend, the moon, shone upon him brightly for a time, and in her pearly beams the tired child’s face was as white as the page beside it. Even she withdrew at length, and nothing disturbed the silence of the room but the regular breathing of the sleeper.
He was awakened by a voice exclaiming,—
“Bübchen, what are you doing here?”
Sebastian started up, bewildered, for Mrs. Bach stood beside him, and the kitchen was blazing with sunshine.
Sebastian started up, bewildered