excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 105 (228 words)

excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 105 (228 words)

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The Golden Sovereign

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Jack studied him for a moment, and the sardonic lips twitched in amusement.  He approached the French piano as though stalking a sitting hare (it was the colour of a hare), sat down, pulled the stool closer, and began to play the Chopin Prelude No. 17, which has an ominous bell-note in the bass.  It came out on the instrument like the distant sound of a woodman’s axe at the bole of a hollow tree.  At each punctuation by these muffled bell-notes, a tiny wrinkling of the skin at the corner of Jack’s eyes was to be observed.  I, who could read that epidermal script, knew what the wincing meant.

                The performance was followed by several moments of complete silence, during which the grim mask over Jack’s face re-adjusted itself, while his fingers fastidiously moved among the several albums of music on the stand.  Before any comment could be made by our host, Jack found, and began to play, the charming lyrical piece by Grieg, ‘To Spring’.  The delicacy of this, and the oppressive melancholy of the Chopin étude, evidently convinced our host and hostess that they were entertaining a maestro, for from that moment, until the day he left to get married, they approached Jack with awe, and a shyness that canalised their good nature rather more in my direction.

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excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 105 (228 words)


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