excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 175-177 (500 words)

excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 175-177 (500 words)

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Recollections of an old musician

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A fearful amount of time is spent on railroad trains while jogging from town to town in our country of great distances.   […]In such circumstances, if someone comes along who at once shortens the hours and sweetens the life,—even to the limited extent of making one forget the worst part of it,—that person is a very welcome companion.  Just such a desirable person entered our car one dull, rainy day on the New York Central Railroad,—a very attractive lady lecturer and a marvellously fine story-teller.

[…]She had been engaged to lecture in a rather small town in Northern Illinois, and it was her first visit to that section of country. On account of some misunderstanding as to the hour of arrival, there was no committee-man, with welcoming face, to meet her. Finding no one to meet her, and knowing the name of the hotel where she was to stop, Miss A. was the first one to enter its waiting ’bus, and, taking one of the seats farthest from the door, she awaited further developments. In a few minutes two ladies entered, who eyed her wonderingly and exchanged glances and remarks in a way that was not sweetly comforting—soon interrupted, however, by the entrance of several men with musical instruments. The newcomers also looked questioningly at Miss A., but business was evidently on hand, for they began to take out their instruments from bags and cases. Miss A. also noticed that a man spread a cover of fringed white cloth over each horse, bearing some legend which she could not make out, and ornamented with designs of an artistic nature at the corners, groups of banjos, mandolins, fiddles, triangles, flutes, castanets, etc Then the men opened the windows in the 'bus, and “ the band began to play.”

Just imagine the young lady lecturer shrinking into her comer, the stunning noise of ten or twelve brass instruments, reinforced by a big bass drum on the roof of the stage, every blow on which seemed to strike her on the top of her head, and also to act on the honest, staid horses like a bunch of exploding firecrackers tied to their tails. Away they flew and almost brought about the crack of doom to the 'bus and its occupants. The bandmen, however, taught by previous experiences, perceived  that a fifty measures’ rest would be a good thing just then, and stopped playing until the horses quieted down. After a while they began again, and as the man on top thumped mezzo forte this time the horses seemed only to be rejuvenated by the sweet sounds and behaved decorously.

The cortege went pretty much all over town, and finally halted at the hotel. The bandmen and the two ladies got out of the ’bus. Miss A., summoning up all the life that was left in her, and separating herself from the crowd, got out with all becoming dignity.


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excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 175-177 (500 words)


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