excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 74 (307 words)

excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 74 (307 words)

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The Golden Sovereign

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The Challen pianoforte was surprisingly mellow.  When Father and I came down to breakfast on our first morning, Maudie was practising scales.  She did not stop when I entered the front room … I saw the left side of her face in shadow, and that, with her brooding frown of concentration over the busy hands, made her yet another person whom I must get to know, a newer stimulant to my reviving emotions.

She turned her head and smiled at me, as though to challenge any questioning of her right to be in the room and at the piano.  I studied her hands.  They were firm and chubby.  The backs were arched, and the fingers rose and fell like the tossing heads of horses on a bearing-rein.

“Keep your wrists down,” she said, and followed this axiom with a gleam of pretty teeth, and a nod of the head to indicate that she was addressing herself, in the direction of those muscular hands.

The mere sound of a piano, like the mere external appearance of books, affects me disproportionately.  I have to pull myself together, as sensible people would say, in order to balance the effect, and to prevent myself from some extravagant gesture, in word or act.  I am a ready subject for the fluting the Pied Piper, or the wailing strings of those gipsies who tempted Tolstoi.

I began my breakfast, tapping the top of an egg to the rhythm of the dominant, the sub-dominant and the tonic of a minor scale, to which Maudie had just moved from the major.  The shift of sound from light to dark, from outward to inward, from known to unknown, touched my chameleon sense, and I gloomed over the yolk of my egg, adding bitterness to the salt from the tiny bone spoon in my fingers.

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excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 74 (307 words)


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