excerpt from 'Music and manners; personal reminiscences and sketches of character' pp. 140-141 (363 words)

excerpt from 'Music and manners; personal reminiscences and sketches of character' pp. 140-141 (363 words)

part of

Music and manners; personal reminiscences and sketches of character

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

140-141

type

text excerpt

encoded value

I got upon my feet and staggered to the window, peering nervously through which I took in the whole dread reality at a glance. There they were, forming a hollow double circle, in the centre of which stood the gorgeous bandmaster, leading with his hand in lieu of a bâton — two score swarthy, wiry, deep-chested Arnauts, blowing, beating, and jingling at high pressure, and looking as if they could go on doing all these things for unnumbered hours without turning a hair. I may say with truth that I had never entirely realised what cymbals were capable of, in the way of poisoning human happiness, until I heard that band play. Nor had I been aware that any tune could be harmonised in such sort that its accompaniment should exclusively consist of discords. As "long I stood there, wondering, fearing," I learnt all this and a good deal more, equally discomforting. Presently the bandmaster, looking upwards in a spasm of inspiration, brought on by a more than usually deadly dissonance — at that particular moment the brasses were playing simultaneously in at least six different keys — caught sight of my face at the window. Instantly a lurid smile illumined his tawny countenance; he waved his hand more firantically than before, and spoke some word of power to his bandsmen, the immediate result of which was an explosion of noise to which their previous achievements in that line had borne the relation of a whisper to an eruption of Vesuvius. By this time my kindly host, slippered and dressing-gowned, made his appearance in my room, and explained to me at the top of his voice that this abominable din was in the nature of a high compliment, paid to me by my august host of the preceding evening — that it would last for fully an hour and a-half longer — that etiquette required me to remain at my open window throughout the execution of the entire programme, and, finally, that the entertainment would cost me at least ten ducats (nearly five pounds), that being the smallest backshish one so highly favoured by the Pasha could offer to the garrison band.

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excerpt from 'Music and manners; personal reminiscences and sketches of character' pp. 140-141 (363 words)

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