excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 48–49 (310 words)

excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 48–49 (310 words)

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The Golden Sovereign

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But Young Harry, who had caused the disturbance, was too upset to settle down at the keyboard.  He flung back his hair, looked at his uncle accusingly, and stood up.

“No!” he cried, “I can’t take the piano part after that.  You’d better.  I’ll play the ’cello.”

And he picked up his own instrument, bent over it, his hair almost sweeping the strings, and began to tune it, screwing the keys, and his own features, simultaneously, as in a kind of nervous agony.

“Uncle Charlie’s old-fashioned,” whispered Bertie to me, leaning across the fireplace.  “Father doesn’t really understand Wagner either, but he’s more tolerant.  That’s due to Haydn, whom he worships.  Haydn was an experimenter too.  Father is kind of – of prepared for the change, you see.”

His further words were drowned under an expostulation of tuning up, this time with a still angry and lachrymose Uncle Charlie at the piano, giving the note …

 Schubert bowed himself into the room through an atmosphere of constraint.  His boyish gaiety and bubbling outburst of good-humour were quite incongruous with the expression of set obstinacy on the face of the pianist, the worried anxiety of the fiddler, and the anger of the ‘cellist.

But that made no difference to the movement of the music; music that came running up the shore round me, sunlit, foaming out of the deep, as playful yet strong as a flooding tide, sun-drenched, and pungent out of the mid-ocean of genius.

I leaned forward, half-losing my nervous distress, and, clasping my hands between my knees, stared at the whitening knuckles, unaware that my fingers were aching, conscious only that I was moving into another and larger chamber in the house of music.

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excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 48–49 (310 words)


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