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Full text of "Concert pitch [microform]"

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CONCERT <PITCH 



Prinltd in Grtat Britain 



CONCERT PITCH 

Bj FRANK DANBY. 

c4uihot of -77J/ He^ of a Child/' *'c4n 
hcompleai EtonUn/' *'<Pigs I Clover/' 

'^Vl *^^'* ^^yer/' "Lei the T^^f 
FM In, ' 'Joseph in Jeopardy?, ' ' Etc» Etc. 



T^ COPP CLARK CO., LTD. 
TORONTO J^ jL ^ 



i9t3 









To 
E. ARIA. 
Dearest, 

You said recently that I had "never dedicated a book 
to you," and you said it as if you were a little hurt that I 
had withheld the slight compliment. Take this one, then, 
it is no worse, perhaps better than some of the others. 
You read it in synopsis, and in manuscript. Without 
your sympathy and encouragement it would certainly have 
been even less adequate. But does not this hold good of 
all I do? It seems to me 

"There is no word of all my songs 
But unto thee belongs." 

It is for your verdict I always wait, and, although I 
realize you admire my small talent above its deserts, the 
generosity of your mental attitude warms and sustains me 
against unkind criticism, as indeed your love does against 
all adversity. So it seems to me, and that in the shield 
and shelter of it I have been immune from the "Slings 
and arrows of outrageous fortune." Would that mine 
had served you as well f 

FRANK DANBY. 



#lii2ll|| 



.#*.• 



"CONCERT PITCH" 



CHAPTER T 

position in Society w^Lr!,^^^^^ House Piccadilly, their 
SaUust took them^ fK ^f*.^^**'^^^- After Lady 

mansion of WL^sons'ii^^S? i^^ ^'"c*"^ '^' ^^^Y 
seasons. But. iSSv nfS^^f 5 ^^"^^^ ^°'- three 

dignified, cou^d W tLr ^ w'^^^ ^^"^' however 

imposing place VSir^o^; ^s' es^^^ti^'^S??^^?' , ^ 
two country estates a varht a^^ essential, with at least 
They learned ?hl,v ^ ■ ^^ ^^^^^ stables. 

mgton Palace oS^den^wL^ hIh""*' ? i^°"«^* Kens- 
it was reaUy onlv Sf T^ ^'^^"ifi^shed address, but 

had come wToSlL^Hfrf J^f ^^?^^ husband 
her I^^i?m^e';^r^^^^ 

speak, professii^Tiner !^H ./^ 'l*^'*^ ^^^' «<> *« 
that went with h SfsS h^n ^^^ Photographic smile 



2 " CONCERT PITCH '* 

as one shakes fleas from a blanket. It. was ridiculous to 
think of considering their feelings. Loctitia had, as she 
always assured her friends, a great sense of duty. She 
would not have been doing her duty to her husband, his 
children, and the great position they had all attained if 
she included any of her relations in the new visiting-list 
of Stone House. 

" You agree with me, don't you, dear Lady Sallust, 
they would be incongruous, painfully incongruous, it 
would be fair neither to us nor to them, they would be 
uncomfortable. ..." 

Of course. Lady Sallust agreed with her. Lady Sallust 
knew nothing about the many kindnesses the Briarleys 
had shown Loetitia in her poor and humble days." All 
Lady Sallust knew was that the Wagners were diaboUcally 
rich and the political party for which she stood was 
in need of money. She agreed that Lady Wagner— for 
a baronetcy was the outward sign that the Wagner 
wealth had flowed into some, at least, of the right channels 
—was quite right in discarding relations, friends, or 
acquaintances who might unpede her upward flight. 
Lady Sallust did not even combat openly Lady Wagner's 
hint that Sir Hubert's daughter, her own stepdaughter, 
might aspire to a duke. Stone House had been acquired 
from the Banffs, and Calingford, the heir, although in his 
fortieth year, was still a bachelor. Afterwards Loetitia 
said that it was upon Lady Sallust's advice she sent for 
Manuella before her education was Complete, in order 
that the introduction to Calingford might be effected 
quickly. There were rumours already that this interest- 
ing nobleman had begun to see the error of his ways and 
his musical comedy amoureUes, and was on the look-out 
for a suitable alliance. 

It was eminently appropriate that the first season of 
the Wagners at Stone House should be inaugurated by 
the coming-out of a daughter, and a series of entertain- 
ments with a grand wedding as a probable climax. For 
so mean a soul Loetitia's aspirations were strangely lofty. 
Lady Sallust never ceased to marvel at her, to relate 



" CONCERT PITCH 



stories about her ; but she k*.nf ♦^ *u 
of their strange illiaSce Lid ^tK . unwritten tenns 
helped her consistent to ^t To thf'^ reservations, 
of her dreams. ^ ^^ *° **»« empyrean heights 

AXt!^ tZo^'^ll 'r'^y *» »- nephew. 

newly come to tt^Zdi; honl? 'r ^'"' A'"" 
than. "J^ iionours and mccngruous in 

^^^^dZZZl"'''^:lr'^'^^ that we want 
are always peoprwL^%Srdfe/''''/r^^"«' t^S^e 
he ,s only reaSy inter^Tedt ts ITvf ?."^*' *^'"' 
»s . . »-««, you saw for voursdf I i ^^^ "^^^^^ 
something for one's comitry.^ wfcL't Jl k°"', "^"^* ^« 

^tefast^^h?^^^^"^^^^^^^^^^ you^s^rdt7; 

at^h^^s^f LttV^y 04^^^^ t^ or three things 
" Loetitia Wagi^er wa^t^?. ^r*^' ^^^c"^* to foUow 
went all the 1?oV waf atf t 1?*%^°"^^^' ''"t she 
and that sort of fhing^ ^m no. ^1"^'^ ^"^^'^ 
first met them how amazinl, • u °^ ^°^ when I 
wards, when I made th^tTke^vn^'^'y ^^^^- After- 
Square at an exorbit^Tr?„^t iTl^^ ^ ^*- J^"^««'« 
something for them in re um Oh L h'"^ .^"'^ to do 
me. thmgs have altered siSe vo„ L^ ?^" ^y' '^"^ve 
have been out of office for^f, ^ ^^""^ ^^^t home. We 
things going fromtad to worTe 'TtL .^'^' ^^ ^*' -^ 
I must tell you that Hubert wf ^ *'"'^- ^"t first 
thousand pounds to threx^ns^^^f .^ ^"^"*^^ «% 
He built and endowed a new S for k r' ^^'* ^^^^tion 
at North Leven. gave ten tS i *^^ ^°""ty Hospital 
and presented a IrinUg fouS T^^^l'^^ ^ P^^k^ 
only a majority of fiftefn wrar/i^"* !?'" ^^ ^^^ 
them, to make much of them L *?""^ to receive 
f there looking so taU '^i f^^^f.^' Waldo ; don't 
<hs^pomting. If the WagnTrs htn^f '^ and ... and 
m St. James's Square^rwtt/''* '""*"^ *^^ ^^^^ 
pounds more." ' ^^ ^^"^'^ owe six thousand 



«* CONCERT PITCH " 



iH 



" What are these Wagners, then ? How did they 
acquire their enormous wealth ? " 

He spoke indifferently, playing with the little dog 
that rolled and leaped beside him hke a kitten ; it was 
a Pekingese, only second to himself in his aunt's affections. 

" How does anybody know ? What does it matter ? 
His father was a small tobacco-planter, I have been told, 
in Cuba, Havana or somewhere, and this man ran away 
with a neighbouring planter's daughter. Fortunately he 
was inspired to go to South Africa, and it was in the good 
days when everybody made fortunes. Of course, they say 
he began by illicit diamond buying." 

" You don't mean to tell me the woman I took in to 
dinner last night ever found anyone to run away with 
her ! ',' 

Lady Sallust laughed. 

" No ! I can't imagine anyone running away with 
Loetitia. She is his second wife. She was governess 
to his children after their own mother died." 

" A governess ! That accoimts for it. I thought she 
had an educational manner. She put me through quite 
a stiff examination, and, I believe, ploughed me ! I 
haven't been to the Academy, nor to any of the theatres 
she talked about, I did not dine with the, Duke of 
Glastonbury last week, and I forget where I spent Easter. 
Why on earth did you make me take her in to dinner ? 
Did you think I wanted disciplining, that, back of beyond, 
I had become a savage ? Heavens ! What a typical 
stepmother ! She might have come out of a book. Are 
they boys or girls ? Poor brats ! " 

He was fond of his aunt. To make light love to her 
was his way of showing it. And at fifty-seven a woman 
Ukes being made love to, however Ughtly, for vanity dies 
more slowly than sex. 

" Why <hd you make me take her in to dinner ? " he 
repeated. Now he lifted Curio on to his knee, toying with 
its ears, talking to it, as the little creature looked up at 
fascinated 



bright. 



eyes. 



She was a bad aimt, wasn't she, Curio ? A bad 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



We don't WS n^lwud bv on ° ^^^ '™P«™''^y- 
"Tvl,"^ ^"5i;;& a.°do t'ST" "°^ 
rubbS- Z>- "^S ^ *"''"^- Leave ofl UIW 

»«g^««*. compared to me^'* ^'^ *"^*'»"''' ^ Positive 

In^^ ^- *° H"* • Wh»' ha™ you to teil me > - 
L^f ^ aC I?, ""^^v '^„^^;f f- 

nitMuSfTc^«s:S r told -^ 

got to her theme aJain tA !- ,! l"*^'"^"^^. and then 

mnmt? Did no one ever think of it for you >■■ 

into h^% Tt«ed .£.1,?' '-^^"% --^ his gUss 

cusMons^^l'c^ri^fte^^STd'rve'^H™"'*;''' 
his consideration. ' **™ ""e question 

I IL^fnZ ""^ *"*'"■ ^"^ "'""o" " »nce or twice when 

°a^/cr:r^^ilno€^¥"" "»"-"• 

lost. . . ." ^^® *° ™^- ^t was then I got 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



^i 



He lost himself again in dreamland for a moment. For 
years he had been wandering in waste spaces, in desert 
and jungle ; what women-folk he knew he had never 
taken seriously. It was only outside confidences he 
would give his aunt. 

" When I went away first, there were eight lives between 
me and my grandfather," be said, when he came back to 
the occasion. 

" There were only three when you returned from 
Nigeria." 

" Three such good lives," he pleaded, " and possibilities 
of more." 

" But you ought to have thought . . ." 

" Of the discomforts of dead men's shoes, of how badly 
they would fit me ? Dear aunt, you surely don't mean it." 
His tone was still light. 

" Eight lives in ten years, and estate duty to be paid 
on every one of them ! That is the point — ^the point I am 
trying to make you see." 

They were in that luxurious, flower-filled drawing-room 
in Grosvenor Square. Although it was winter, the room 
was full of roses, lilies-of-the-valley, mauve and yellow 
orchids. From the walls great grandmothers, great- 
aupts and far-off cousins, painted by Reynolds, Gains- 
borough and Lawrence, looked down upon their conference. 
There was priceless china on the mantelpiece and in 
comer cupboards. Lady Sallust had been a Treford. 
There were vitrines full of Treford miniatures, sc le as 
early as Hilliard and Isaac Oliver. Lady Sallust herself 
suggested nothing of the quiet pictorial repose of an 
old miniature, she was anxious-faced, well dressed and 
ultra-modem in manner. But this was an affectation; 
she was really a survival or return to type, a great 
lady who had to stoop to reach to-day, and did it 
strenuously. 

" You bring me back to whence I started." She laid 
her hand, with its old-fashioned rings, upon his knee ; 
the Trefords had always been celebrated for the beauty 
of their hands. " You have not talked openly to me. 



" CONCERT PITCH " 7 

TTiat it was true made it the more ridiculous ; he was 
up to the neck m debt, although never in his Ufe had he 
willingly contracted an obUgation he was unable to fulfil 
There is only one way out of it-one possible way. 
You must marry money ; you owe it to the family " He 
moved uneasUy, then he laughed. 

Ko«i^° *^°'" u^ ^^' " ^ ^®*^^ "myself entirely in your 
hands-your handsome hands." He raised the one on 
his faiee and kissed it. " I suppose you have decided 
whose money I am to marry? Who is the lucky girl ? 
Or is she a widow ? " ^ ^ 

im3!^"i*^'* Wagner's daughter." Lady SaUust answered 
^mediately, quickly, irrevocably. She had evidently been 

^^Sr u ^ '" *?,? ""^ ™''^' "°* o^ce. but many times, 
bu- Hubert wiU give her a miUion of money, a niillion of 
money j ; she repeated. " I have it direct from Loetitia- 
if the ^1 marries to r'ease them, of course. I thought 
of you directly I heard it. Their own idea is CaUngford • 

f?!^J??"^^* ^^^""^ ^°"'^ ^'"""^ ^^^ I^"ke. you know, and 
the scheme came mto their heads at once. The Duke is 
ahnost an mvaUd ; it cannot be long before Calingford 
succeeds Loetitia already thinks of the girl as the 
future Duchess ; I can see it in her eyes.^ They are 
sencung for her to come home immediately, although I 

^htlL"' wir^^^^^ "°' ^^^'*^'' -^ ^^^ ^^ -^et 

It was e J-ent that* if Loetitia had set her heart on a 
ducal alliance. Lady SaUust was equally desirous that the 
girl should become a Countess. 

" Waldo tell me I may speak to them about you, and 
open negotiations. I have let her talk to me about 
Calmgford. but it would be easy, comparatively easy to 
make her see the difference in your quartering A 
milhon of money. Waldo ! There is no one at X 01^ 
set wiUi anything like it. I don't want you to have S 
go to Amenca for a wife." She was really pleading with 
hun. and he was touched by her interest, by her affection 



8 



" CONCERT pitch;* 



>\aldo. Lord Lyssons, with whom so much of this 
story IS concerned, had recently inherited one of the 
oldest titles in the United Kingdom and the lands that 
went with it. A series of accidents had placed him in 
the position he found at present so unenviable. A yoimger 
son of a younger son. the obscurest cadet of this ancient 
house, he had been called to fulfU duties for which he had 
no mclination, recaUed to a civilization the formula of 
which he had almost forgotten. Heirs-pri umptive and 
heirs-coUateral had died incontinently. They had gone 
down m the Amazon, been lost in the Watatah, broken their 
necks m military steeplechases, made fatal experiments 
with aeroplanes, contracted typhoid and encouraged con- 
sumption. It seemed now that all he had inherited was 
the claims of the Inland Revenue, a bewilderment of 
Land Taxes anu unsettled Death Duties. His forbears 
had held a castle against Henry I. in 1118 ; it was doubtful 
If then: unworthy descendant would hold anything at all 
agamst the piratical performances of a Radical Chancellor 
of the Exchequer. He had heard of nothing but claims, 
claims, rlaims ! All these weeks since his return he had 
lived m dusty lawyers' offices, learning his difficulties. 
Now he sat m Lady Sallust's drawing-room in Grosvenor 
bquare, and was told them over again. 

But the suggestion his aunt made him, and made so 
sciemnly, went further than anything the lawyers had 
proposed. Lady SaUust challenged his personal freedom, 
the prerogative of his manhood. He could not treat her 
proposal senously. for seriousness was not his con- 
versational note. 

" Is it quite fair on the girl, even if you do succeed in 
persdadmg that stupendous stepmother of hers to lower 
her pretensions ? You must think of that, my dear £.unt. 
A duchess is . . . well, you know a duchess is always a 
duchess. ^ 

r 2^}^^^''^ y°" ^^^ laughing. It is no laughing matter. 
Cuthbert says something must be done, and done quickly." 
She could not have been more in earnest. Cuthbert, 
wuo, by the way, was Lord SaUust, once a Cabinet Minister 



" CONCERT PITCH " 9 

and always an important figure in EngUsh political life, 
ha'i imprcsbed upon her the seriousness of the position. 
The Inland Revenue people have been very lenient, he 
says, but you will have to settle with them sooner or 
later." 

She had not an idea how little impression she was 
makmg upon this incomprehensible nephew of hers. 

" Cuthbert ays everything is mortgaged that can be 
mortgaged," she urged. 

" More," he answered with cheerful acquiescence, " ever 
so much more. I never cease wondering how they did it." 

"And you agree with me that there is only one way 
out." '' ^ 

" To become a Wagnerite." 

" She may be a very nice girl." 

"She may!" 

" And I would help you with her." 

"Me! Do I want help? Has it gone as far as that ? " 

Dont, Waldo! don't jest. TliJs is really a critical 

moment. She is to be presented at the very first Court. 

You know how desperately hard up the Banffs are ; they 

won't lose any time." 

"It is to be a race, then, between Calingford and me. 
And the girl, the hare,— isn't she to have any start ? " 

" Don't be exasperating. It is what girls expect— to 
be run after." 

" I know," he persisted ; " but she ought to have a fair 
start. Now, here you are. you dear ladies, laying the 
scent, puttmg our noses to it, showing us the trail 
whoo-hoopmg us away." He shook his head with mock 
solemmty. " No ! I don't think it fair. Put n^e down as 
havmg scratched." 

" You are really perverse. It ii a girl and not a hare ; 
they hunt, if they are not hunted. You ought to know 
that. Why shouldn't she fall in love with you ? You are 
much nicer and better-looking than Calingford." 

" Oh ! that is quite another question. You never 
mentioned that." 

There was a carved and gilded Chippendale mirror on 



10 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



r> 



I j 

I i 

Pi ( 



the wali between the pictures. He walked over to it and 
regarded himself deliberately. 

^hl*^u^ *?"n l^^. y°" "^ "°* Soing beyond your brief, 
that she will be given a run ? " 

Lady Sallust had not a keen sense of humour. Waldo 
was exasperating, but. of course, he must at least be as 
weu aware as she of the seriousness of his position, 
i-ootang at him as he posed before the looking-glass a little 
dramatically for her benefit, she thought, if the choice 
were given to her, the girt would certainly prder him to 
L-ord Lahngford. even if she knew nothing of tha reputation 
of either of them. 

The new Earl of Lyssons was very taU. if rather too 

turn ; he had black hair that would not be smooth, and 

an eyeglass which, since it never kept in its place, made 

mm appear restless and not very wise. He was for ever 

taking It off and putting it on again ; it fitftd badly, and. 

as ne tried to screw it in for greater safety, it made a 

red mark, and his indeterminate features, soft and plastic 

went awry and out of drawing. He had a habit of saying 

things without any apparent meaning. Lady Sallust 

sometimes thought -e was very clever and very deep, 

and might be a great force ; whUst at other times she 

wavered and d';nbted if he were completely sane, if he 

were all there." She admitted that, although she had 

always been fond of him. she was unable to understand 

him. 

Now he stood before the glass and pretended to doubt 
^i w?^""®"* Wagner would look upon him favour- 
ably ! What was the use of disregarding first principles ? 
Wavermg as to his complete sanity. Lady Sallust assured 
him that very young giris were not. as a rule, hard to 
please, they fell in love with the first man who paid 
them any attention. 

"And if you are backed up by her people, other men 
kept at a distance . . ." Then, hesitating at some- 
thmg whimsical or laughing in his eyes, she went on 
even more firmly to impress upon him the desperate 
nature of his affairs, about which ail theu" world was 



'* CONCERT PITCH " 



II 



talking, and this easy way of righting them. Finally, when 
tea was brought in, and he was feeding Curio with sweet 
cake, having ceased apparently to take any interest in 
the conversation, she took it for granted that she had 
secured his acquiescence and migb* take steps towards 
accomplishing her design. 

He did not really care what she thought or did. She 
could not marry him against his will. He rallied her 
that she occupied herself with such trivial things as party 
politics and the preservation of his estates. He parried 
her more definite questions, paying her compliments 
and persuading her anew that no one could be more 
agreeable than this nephew of hers when he was in the 
mood. She thought no girt could rasist him ; certainly 
no young giri. Already she saw herself carelessly men- 
tiomng Waldo's quarterings, comparing them with the 
Duke^ more recent creation, convincing Lady Wagner 
of the superiority of such an alliance. Of course she 
would caU it "an alliance " and not a marriage ; that 
would suit Loetitia. 

" Isn't the whole idea rather French ? I feel like Rip 
Van Winkle. I have come back to a world I don't 
understand. Are things done like this nowadays ? When 
we rtad ' A marriage has been arranged . . .' does it 
really mean it has been settled without the inter\'ention 
of the principals ? " 

" Loetitia is sure to be able to influence the giri when 
I have influenced her," she said confidently. " You will 
find we shall make everything easy for you. I only 
wanted to know that you would fall in with my plan." 

He laughed again, he reaUy could not help it; she 
took everything for granted so easily. 

" You will admit, even from the little you saw of the 
mother last night, that she is not the sort of woman a girl 
would like to live with, or prefer to a good marriage and 
a position of her own." 

" I admit, dear aunt, I most freely admit i girl might 
dare anything rather than live with tha ning lady 

with whom you sent me in to dinner. Bu . ." 



12 



<« 



CONCERT PITCH »» 



whI5fT»,'*^' **"^«v«"' f«aJIy no use in arguiiur- the 
whole thing was too ridiculous. ^^' 

m,! J '^?"'* *'°?""''* ""J^^ ""*»^ I have seen her • vou 
must not o iiniit me. I am a litUe slow. You «^ me 
away by your goodness. What a pity aunts are^tC 
the prohibited degree." She had 5ven to def«^5 SS 
laugangly against him. and to teU him t^^^ 

.^^ vJi5".*^/*°°^ °^ *h« Giosvenor Square house had 
It was not he. but she. who was absurd, and so wSl 

?nS T ^ w"*" °' marrying the daughter of Sir ^rt 

pernag less. Whichever way he might find out of 
his difficulties, it would not be this one.^ He^d hlt^^ 

30$s'T!ke^Tr 'tJ^'l^'T ? --P^-atioTiiTS; 
joys, iv.jiced for and found adventure. Blackwater 

fever m Nigeria, and several forms of mSSa S 

stitubon and his morahty were nevertheless unimpaired • 
^nrZ. 'r!^^ extraordinarily sane although kTSe 
moment a htUe out of his bearings. For he w^ not wiS 
out the knowledge that it was a^eat name^th I ^^l 
tradition, to which he had succeeded. not^tCta certl 
pnde m record and lineage. If he ^as n^ yet d^'i^'S 
how he was to tackle the difficulties of his ix)S^d 
his amazing poverty, he never doubted his caSy He 

hrwo^l^fi^/^' ^"^ *° ^"* *^^ ^°^dian kn^fo^; hS 
ne would find his own wav out 

So he thought as he left Grosvenor Square that after- 
noon, i.ever dreaming that there were forces wath wWch 
he had forgotten to reckon, and complications SiIJ no 
man could foresee. He sent a telegraSi to l^y^^t 



" CONCERT PITCH ** 



IS 



a few days later. He told her it was unfortunately 
impossible for him " to make an inspection of the 
auriferous property " she recommended, as he was leaving 
England. He also wrote her a short note : 

" My dear Aunt, 

" I have been thinking over all you said, all you 
so wisely said. Alas! my affections are too deeply 
engaged. Sweet seventeen is not for me, who find my 
distraction in maturer charms. Pity me, love me a little 
if you can, but don't, I implore you, don't try and set 
me hunting hares. Lady Wagner's daughter is fore- 
doomed to be a Duchess, I feel it. It is Calingiford must 
satisfy those inquisitorial cold eyes. I should run away 
on the eve of my wedding. I am running away now, 
you are driving me from London. I believe I am frightened 
of the fate you suggest for me. 

" Your enamoured nephew, 

" Waldo." 

Vet once or twice after he had written his letter he 
caught himself wondering if any giri could be found to 
accept CaUngford~any young girt. He was thinking 
about Calingford whilst his aunt was talking. Tuey 
had been at Eton together. Unless Calingfo.d had altered 
very considerably, he pitied any woman who might asso- 
ciate herself with him. He did not know Sir Hubert 
Wagner's daughter, but he was even uncomfortable, 
and had a strange quixotic irrational moment of re- 
niorse at having refused to many her himself when he 
thought she might be thrown at Calingford's head— and 
heart— and never know what a head it was. and what a 
heart. 

A very curious fellow this Lord Lyssons, hardly fit to 
take his place amongst ordinary men and women. 






it ' 



# 



CHAPTER II 

feis Zhh . ',""' '° ""'^ ="»'• «'"^y went to 
wSs dfetant "h'.^T*. '?** *"« *"* Courf was six 

anS^rtr sl^^o'eh'''!' ^? -' very troublesome chUd. 
reta«orv .h i!f "'^' ' ?''y experience in dealing with 
Ste7 -Si'" '"""^ "' "«'' "* wi'h her%tep? 

n^^ubthlririleTf S=.""' '°"'''°°^- ^'"* 'here h 
minrf il t ? f, f '"^'^ impression on Lady Warner's 

2"n or efit i^" ^^^^'^ *" ^"'''^^ "^h Js for »me 
to fade The^™ "°.Vi^ "•' impression had had tune 

iU:^ to^lXrpart'ta tte^f'-,'~'K"'''" f' ™ 
S J^f^ Wag^L^Xn^tllL'^MS^' :id^lt 

S that nn i?H^ ^ T*? ^''^^ emblazoned carriage or 

£f rio-th: L'SL«rSr srr;^^ 

doing her share in establishing the permanence of X 

14 



« 



CONCERT PITCH " 



IS 



famUy position. Lcetitia did not doubt that the most 
refractory head would bend to strawberry leaves. A 
certain amount of coaching and clothing would, of course 
be necessary before the girl could be introduced. But 
there were six weeks for preparation. 

Lord Lyssons remained a month in Paris in order to 
avoid argument with his aunt and the attentions of 
Som<;rset House. As it happened, he returned upon the 
same day as Manuella, and in the same train. In fact 
he had avoided nothing, as the event proved, but a very 
foggy February in London. 

He had not forgotten Lady SaUust's importunity. 
Several times iie thought what an extraordinary idea 
It had been, and wondered about the girl and Calingford 
and whether she had accepted him. He had been out of 
England so many years that times and seasons meant 
httle to him. He never pictured Manuella still at the 
finishing school, and Lcetitia putting off sending for her till 
the last minute, nor dreamed that he was running back 
not only into, but with, the very danger from which 
he had fled ! 

There had been no talk of any Wagner issue but the 
proffered bnde. Lord Lyssons was unconscious of the 
very existence of the brother, Albert Edward Wagner ' 
But all the way from Paris to Calais he was amused by the 
conversation between a boy and girl who occupied the 
same carriage and talked with complete unrestraint, under 
the impression evidently that the tall man in the comer 
was some sort of a foreigner, who did not understand 
their language. 

Manuella was finishing her education at Fontainebleau 
when Albert unexpectedly came to fetch her. Lcetitia 
considered neither the girl's feelings nor those of the 
Principal of the school. She may have always intended 
that the girl should come back before she was eighteen 
but she had given no such indication. ManueUa looked 
forward to at least six months more freedom. Com- 
parwl with Loetitia's rule, her school life had been 
freedom. Now here was Albert with the peremptory 



i6 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



order. It could hardly be called a summons home, for 
there was not enough warmth in Lady Wagner to kindle 
a hearth or make an atmosphere of homeliness. She 
was a stranger to her stepdaughter, but one around whom 
no romance lingered. " Mother " was a word in ManueUa's 
vocabulary that implied a cold eye. pinched thin lips, and 
implacable tyranny. It snubbed and denied. Lcetitia's 
pleasmg manner." Lady Wagner's "social charm" 
.'^%f-,i'°* exhibited in the nursery or schoolroom. 
Children must be seen and not heard" was a phrase 
that embodied her. echoing in the child's ears from the 
early South African days; repeated on the steamer, 
m chilly foreign hotels, at the big house in Kensington 
from which the child had gone lo her years in foreign 
schools. All she knew of care or tenderness was epito- 
mized m It. Such newer associations as she had with her 
stepmother were letters that forbade this or that • " pi " 
letters that preached and dogmatized, letters which had 
been a duty to write, and were a vet more distasteful 
duty to answer. 

Lord Lyssons. listening in his corner of the railway' 
carnage, heard aU about it. although he did not know 
who were the young people talking. The boy was a 
typical Enghsh undergraduate, knowing no word of the 
language of the country in which he was travelling • he 
shouted at the guards and grumbled at their stupidity 
m not speaking English; a foolish youngster whose 
insularity was his only excuse. 

"Can't you tell that infernal fool that I want my 
hajidbag m here. I'v shouted at him tiU I'm hoarse. " 
The giri spoke good French, but she seemed almost 
as cross as her brother. They took some time setthng 
themselves. The train was fairly started before all the 
h&gs and handbags, hat-boxes and papers gathered about 
them were property stowed away. Then the intimate 
talk began. The girl was iU-dressed for traveUing, wear- 
ing a red-stnped flannel blouse with a turn-down collar 
a blue serge skirt, and a burnt-straw hat. But the 
costume suited her, and there was no doubt of her beauty 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



«7 
ll^^slof i^?'*?''^' '^ «*""•"' ™Pf«aon Lord 

Had at last made himself comfortable and riven W I 

hemlSs"moke'°®Tft'''' that Johnny i„ the comer if 
n- t?tnS^ti,d" "^ '"^"""S '» -e I shaU pretend 

she »rh'a^nrS;\fhe^';!4rA';heI*"'^ 

beautiful R»+ ♦k^ "i ^"ipression that she was verv 
^rS^ .IX^^^ "- """y "--tary. her seS 

been in. I wLted to stay '^ '°""^' P'"" ''^« =^•■• 

ov;7tL!rr^gSo'rSn:'r vrr^'. ' ^-« 

there is no good firiitine her^^l ■* ^^ '" '°"'« ^ 
eno^h ? /he's gof JS^Gtem^rTa Tri^r' " """ 

Siff :pir'i?teSfn".^rsi^r^^^^ ^* -^ 
She had sucS^ ^th ilK: tw ^"IP ™ """*• 
defied her. That v^ whTwh.n ifi^f "'' '*'^*'"''y 
Manuella wy banird^o^'ce^^y^""^ """' '» E'""- 

^"^htf ^!^17,- Wallfy" '^\X; 
beastly convent m Brussels. I believe"S'„Sy Lau« 



i8 



** CONCERT PITCH » 



m 



* I 



I wrote that I loved Foutainebleau she is takine me awav 
from it." "* ^ 

" I say, draw it a bit milder. Steppie has her points. 
She has done a lot for us all." 

She has done nothing for me ! " The answer was quite 
vicious. " Thank Heaven I have only seen her five times 
in seven years, and then it was only because they were 
somewhere near and would have felt ashamed not to pay 
me a visit." 

I say, if you're coming home in that spirit there will 
be ructions. Can't you manage to simmer down a bit ? 
Anyway, you are past bread-and-water days and being 
locked up. I should make up my mind to play the amiable 
if I were you, it pays ever so much better." 

" Oh, yes," she said contemptuously, " of course you 
would." 

Albert had always truckled. But then she remembered 
she was very fond of Albert. He was all she had ever 
had to care for, and, although he had played her false so 
many tunes, disappointed her, ajid given in to authority, 
she felt her heart warming to him. 

" Are you going to be at home ? " 

" Not when I can help it. but I'll give you a start. I 
can generally get down for a few days if there's anything 
going on." 

" She will come in when we want to talk, and interfere 
with everything, just like she used." 

'' You're as bad-tempered as ever, I do believe." 

" I wasn't bad-tempered at Fontainebleau, nor at 
Dresden. It's the thought of going back that puts me 
into such a rage. You oughtn't to find fault with me. 
You hated it all as much as I did. We were never allowed 
to do anything we wanted." 

" Everything is altered. I'm sure you'll get on better 
with them now. They're big pots, you know. The 
Governor is going to get a peerage. He stood for every 
sort of place that never returns a Conservative before 
he got in for North Leven. We've get to be in the 
show; don't make a fuss, there's a good girl. We'll 



" CONCERT PITCH *♦ 






19 

well, you know, if he win'fSundlr he? thumb "l"".' 

"rd nice to see them doing it." 
that .h!'h f^ 'he Mater say something about it and 

.^-it\i^^de''™w':i:iryo^ d^sr^ 
^-^°„^;sJt%?s^i'£-f'X^:* 

her a^t^^T,"^"'/' "^^ criticismTd >^ni«e„„t as to 
r^ntaSn-h.rr ^""^ ";=**"«• »" dark eyes and 

I^X" Lt'^^irtoXt^L^ihe^cLr =^^ 

she^felt. It was strange that her identity neverltra^ 

' Oh ! don't bother aoout mv lookc t ,!««'* 
com. out or to be married, or iiiy oHh.^twl'^* '° 

iorr\aer^^.;:rsiJ:ii?^'*-"-- 

S^lT^L"? "^*^"^'' '"^ -hat she would :l^^ 
not q^te s„e ol^teSel^t'^r'S^ '^" '*^' '"'I ^he\as 



H 



» 



10 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



ii 



known, if the beastly summons had not come. She was 
in utter rebellion. 

There was no use teUing Albert that she wanted to be 
an operatic singer. Monsieur Lausan had said her voice 
was unique, that it had only to gain power, and she had 
only to acquire dramatic capacity, expression. . . 
What was the use of telling Albert? He might 
laugh. 

Albert did not press the question as to what she did 
want, and why she resented so bitterly having to come 
home and be presented and do all the things other girls 
did. He had a great deal to say about himself, about his 
popularity, and the jolly fellows he knew but was not 
allowed to take home because their people didn't amount 
to an3rthing. He spoke of cousins who had been dropped, 
and there were exclamations from the girl of dismay and 
more defiance. 

" I shall go and see Susie Briarley, whatever happens. 
I don't care how grand we are supposed to be. I'm not 
grand; I'm not going to be a snob. I Hked all the 
Briarleys." 

She said this, and he told her she would have to look out 
for herself ; he wasn't going to run counter to his step- 
mother, who really held the purse-strings and everything 
else. He didn't mind what he did on the quiet, but he 
hated a fuss. He did not press her as to what were her 
own desires and ambitions, and only Waldo was in- 
terested. Why did she not want to come out or to be 
married ? But of course she was too young to know 
her own mind. Still, he wondered what wild idea she 
harboured. 

He saw her again on the boat. Albert showed early 
signs of sea-sickness and disappeared into a cabin. 
Manuella stayed on the deck, leaning over the taffrail, 
watching the slow retreat of the shore, then, when it was 
out of sight, the waves that broke against the side of the 
boat. The sky was lowering and the waves high, crested 
with foam. She watched them, and Lord Lyssons watched 
her. The mutiny and the rebellion went out of her face 



i%. 



it 



CONCERT PITCH " 



21 

now that she was alone. Waldo thought there was 
something wistful in it. She took her hat off when The 
wind tore at it, swinging it freely in her hand wwLt her 
^"^[^^Itr^'^^'J^y ^"^ *^^*- She wL'reaSy c?ay 
them 'l?i S;- ^'^f '*' ^"'^ '^°^*' «^ she had outgrown 
^Z J^. ^""^ ^^^^ ^^^y *he wistfulness and S" 

c& tie m'2h '"i" -^'^ .^y^ ^"^ ^^^«^r into her 
cheete. the mouth relaxing into the softest of smiling 

As he was standing near her he spoke : 

" RaSiwl ""^""^"^ *^^ '*^^"^ ^ " he asked. 

She did not resent being sooken f n • ;* 
obvious fhaf i* AiA » i. "6 '»poKen to , it was 

wav t^ her fiif i ^a ^^^^' ^"^^hing out of the 

Z^rcoL " I llh . '^ "° young-ladyish scruples to 

th" wavS Je^t^hHecr^'Sev lo^f ' '??^ ^^^ 
going to, don't they ? Hotthey I^Vrklt^l ndL !'' 
They could hardly hear themselves speaking. 
It doesn t make you ill ? " 

of'i't^the"?aL^*m!?fTT ^''^ ^^""y ^^"-the salt 
face " ^' ^ ^^^" ''''^^ i* ^^'"es up into my 

fi.fi'fK^^^"* over again as she spoke, and he could see 
^V^t^Tlf *he waves, as therbroke ag^nst the si^ 
of the boat, did really wet her cheeks. She rubbed them 



tt 



** CX)NCERT PITCH " 



r* 



W 



Falls I I don't wonder Rhodes wanted to be near them 
do you ? " 

He did not correct her topography. It was really a 

storm, and now the sea-spray jewelled her dark hair, 

and between the wind and sea they shouted at each other.' 

" You come from South Africa ? " he asked her, when 

there was a lull. 

" Ever so long ago. Since then I've never seen a real 
sea. It was an awfully stormy time when we came over. 
Mother and Albert were sick all the time, and I ran wild 
about the deck. I loved every moment of it." 

Then she was silent ; he even thought she sighed im- 
patiently, as if the end of the running wild had been the 
end of her happy time. When he could make himself 
heard, he told her of the seas he had traversed— equinoxes, 
great gales in Southern seas. He caught her interest,' 
and when he suggested they should get into shelter, for 
now the rain was pouring down and the sea a httle 
abating, she made no demur but followed him to hear 
more. He found two seats on the lower deck, and she 
let him tuck a rug about her, surprised at the attention, 
however, saying she didn't want it, but afterwards playing 
Desdemona to his Othello, listening to the stories of 
adventure he fitted for her ears. It was there Albert 
found them, some minutes after they were in harbour. 
Albert was very pale, and said he had had an awful time. 
He looked curiously at her companion, but waited until 
he had left them before making any comment. 
^^ " So, after aU, the Johnny was Enghsh," he said then. 
We weren't very careful what we said before him. But 
I don't suppose it matters ; I don't suppose he is in our 
set. Touch of ' reach me down ' about his clothes, wasn't 
there ? I say. you'll have to give up that sort of thing, 
sitting about talking to men you haven't been introduced 
to. You're somebody now. I suppose I ought to have 
trotted after you. But oh I God! I was bad! What 
did he talk to you about ? If you meet him again ?ny- 
where you mustn't bow, you must pretend not to ki ' 
him." 



ill 



•• CONCERT PITCH " 



23 

ManueUa said they had talked about travelling she 
had found him awfuUy interesting, she should do what 
she^ chose and bow to him whenever she met him 
1 Jfru **^"* traveUing. did he? I thought he 
looked hke a bagman." Albert answered, and there let 

fhnnJUf I ^'°^- ^^^PP^' ^^"^^ ^°" teach her. he 
thought ; he need not jaw at her. 

But in the bustle of finding their luggage, getting off 

A^Lf \^"/ *^^' '^^'■P ^^"^^ exchanfe^f talk with 
Albert, she forgot even to say good-byl to him Lord 

Lyssons had not obtruded himself nor offered any servTces 
Srr'd h?"" ^'""'^'U disapproving and critical ^e^^Sd 
agreed he was right to disapprove. The girl wa^ too 
ingenuous. unsoph,sticated-<:ertainly too beautiful to 
talk to every casual acquaintance. By his very inclina- 
tion to ask her name, his wish to see her again, he knew 
Albert was m the right. He laughed about it o himseH 
when he was in the train, thinking of the undergraduate" 

il^LT'^T' X?"* ^'^''^ "°* ^^"^^ ^hen h? though 
about the girl. He wondered to what sort of home fhe 
was going so reluctantly, what fate was in store fTr her 
e^^Tha'd I'lp'r^' ^^ ^^ ^*--- ^- gloriously her 
He never gu^ed. never came within a hundred miles 
of guessing, that this was the bride who had bJen 
offered to him. By the time he met her again he ^S 
almost forgotten her-almost. not quite ! 

Albert got better on the way to London and told 
ManueUa more about Stone House. But even then she 
w^ hardly prepared for the magnificence in Itore for her 
A motor met them at the station ; in ten minutes it rolled 
between the iron gates, and Albert said : 

.h i^T "^ ' ^^^* ^« yo" think of this ? " as if 

she would be awed. A pompous butler swung open the 
massive door, and there were two powder^ footmen to 
bXreph'd: ^'"* "'^^^ ^^^'^ pom^u^r^th: 
Hub^SV'' ^^^ ^"^'^ • ^ ^^y ^^^^g"^- ^' Sir 



H 



•' CONCERT PITCH *' 




A gentleman at the head of the lapis lazuli stain 
who^ ManueUa afterwards understood, was the «?S 
aomo. came lorward, and whilst informing them that 

?hfmom'::.""'j'*/? t^y ^^^^"^^ wasM homfa' 
?nL <. flu""'^^'*"'*'' **»^* " *»«»• ladyship should be 
ii^rmed of their arrival when she returned.'' It wS S 

nX w ^""^ ""''y '^'"^^' a"d already ManueUa Mt 
Udy Wagner s personality in the backgrot.nd. If it 

Un ° V''"'^"'' "'°"*^ ^^*^'" ' ti^en she would have 
known where she stood, whethei her voice would give her 

all of It that had not been crushed or cramped by Lcetitia's 

hlUr"'"^- ^r ^"^^^ '" '^' fi^* momems of her 
home-coming, in that great cold hall, with its piUars and 

hir^'' .^^r - '"^'^^^ ^"^ ^^^d°^' freedom see^d ?o 
hrhiTh'"^ '' ''T.t *° ^ ^ ^^eble and stifled tWng! 
her high hopes mt childish dreams. The shadow of the 
great hall was all at once upon her spirit and upon her 

^ Ibert guessed something of what she was feeling 

bother'T'^ch^- ^°"'" "^^ ^^^"^ ^*^ ^* dinner!' don't 
Dotner. 1 11 show you your rooms." 

Her rooms were high up. but a hft took her to them 
They were large. luxurious; the upholsterer had knovm 

wi'*7S/"' *\*^' °"^y daughter of the house. S 
w^ a bedroom hung with pink brocade, a sitting-room 
with waUs panelled with mauve silk, a large baKm 
Math green marble walls. Albert played showmanTth 
obvious pnde. Certainly their magnificence had impreSed 

" They've got you a maid." he said. " a French woman 
who was with the Duchess of Southfields. You'U soSi eeJ 
ri*' H f'l ^'..^''^^ patronizingly, for he misreaS Li 
dismayed look I knew it would rather floor you at 
first. We really are big bugs." 

*Jl u^ the French maid and not the magnificence 
that brought the dismayed look to Manuella'slxprS 
m\J ^oman stood there already, silent and respect- 
ful. 'jetweenTherself and Albert, b- -en herself and the 



I : 



** CONCERT PITCH " 



i 



25 

AiS^lSTtSti! '?' *? "^**°" ^*^' ^ "''^ her eyes. 
AJbCTt left them almost at once, saying she had better 

""l S^". W*^wk" ^!r'' ^^y '^^^'^ saw her 
I want a hot bath and an hour's rest before dinner 
TTiat time on he boat knocked me over ; I'm Xto S 
st»«- You wiU be all right, won't you ?" ^ " 

riw^ T^*^^, °"^ *^"^ *'""'*" *« ^hich she had to 
chng. she had almost clung to him. implored him not 
to leave her made a scene, but the maid was therT and 
s1!fl:?;oi^e!'"'^*°^°«- So she only answere^ir^ 
"Don't bother about me ; of course I am aU rieht " 

Oh I go on." she said impatiently. " I've cot to 
unpack. What are you staring Tt me for ? " ^ 

oUK ^f'^h^'" a harried hug ; he was really fond of her 
although she was always so difficult. ' 

''Po"'t get the hump. Keep bucked I " 

aw!y' "'"^'"^ *^' ^"^ ' "**^^ ^^^y' *h^» pushed him 
" Go and get your bath and rest. You look awfullv 

f"oi't^.^"«^^ ^^" - '^ ^ --^ck r'^r^^ 

huS'i^"^- ^^1 "''* ^"^^ ^^^^" ^"y ti"^e to rest. In her 
humed. impukive way she began at once to unpack 
She Ignored the new French maid, who offered h^Kot 

7o£' sHri^^d r^"'T^ "' ^^^ ^'"^''^ school ^v^id- 
rooe. bhe tned to make up her mind in that first 

hour of her home-coming to do'^as Albert said, to subrS 

to crcumstances. not to set herself against her stTo 

mother, to make the best of things • it w^« w !-l 

and not herself that rebelled ^ ' ^ ^'' 'P^"* 

besl^cfo^fhi'h r^lution weakened when, dressed in her 
best clothes by the concerned and exrlamatorv French 
Tr^^T'L "" K *' ^.'"^' ^*h ^kirt too short S lidTce 
too tght-she waited in the enormous drawing-room S 
alone for the best ^t of an hour. Udy wLner h^ 
returned from her afternoon drive, and was^ now^S^L^ng 



t6 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



i 
m 



J Si -1^ 



Loetitia's sear* of duty brought her to the drawin«w 
room ten minutM before dinner was served to welcome h5 
stepdaughter The chilly kiss and condescending kin^ 
ness. the implication m her little set speech that, although 
there had been much to forgive in the past, she had ho^ 
the future would compensate for it. brought to ManueUa 
\.u -'^^»"^'^at>o"- It was she who had to foreive 
she thought. But before she had time to harm he^Jf 
by hasty speech Albert came in and took the edge off the 
situation. ** 

Manuella was struck by the comparative friendhneas 
between Albert and his stepmother ; it was as if he had 
gone over to the enemy, and it made her feel her own 

IfclfnlT- "1°'^ ^'"*u y* ^*^°"^'^ '^^^y ^^ ^^ indirectly 
asking kindness for her. and Lcetitia in a cold and dignified 
way was promising it. 6""«u 

" She is imp-oved. isn't she ? The Mater thought you 
w^ going to be short and stumpy. She is on the g<J>d. 
looking side. Mater, isn't she ? Going to do us creit? '' 
tion •' *"" ^^^ Manuella has come home with that inten- 

Manuella had come home with no intention at all • she 
had come in revolt, and because no choice had been ^ven 

hit" fwii^f ^°^. '° i^- yf^^"" «^^ ^^ fi"ed down a 
Dit, She 11 have quite a figure.' 

'' She must learn to hold herself better." 

" You do Stoop, you know. Mimi." 

" And to do her hair more tidily." 

" I expect the sea blew it about a good deal. We 
had a most awful crossing." 

He spoke of his experiences as if sure of her sympathy 
A grown-up deferential stepson was more to Latitia's 
^Z V .^ad. seemed possible in the past, when he was 
under his sister s influence. She was as kind to Albert as 
r^ "Jt'^e. P«r."^«ed. Sir Hubert, too. when he came in 
hstened with interest to Alberts accounts of his seal 



«• CX)NCERT PITCH " vf 

l!^"*"Mii.T '"^"^'"i **"* he.iMbcrt. had his position 
Her fathers indifference hurt her. although he. too^neant 

of knowledge. They were half-way through dinner 
before he spoke to her again. For. unfortunately, he wL 

cnme had been committed in the house 

" I keep twenty-three servants, and can't have a elasi 
of water at my own table. ..." ^ ^ 

^■^^'tSTr^?^ *'"°"^^® ^a*«^ a^"t a custard pudding 
Sur Hubert hved on a diet that seemed to be unsatisfying 
and to imtate him very much. When he did rememblf 
ManueIJa again, he said she had grown very Tke hS 
mother, who was the most beautiful girl in Cuba and 
that is saying a great deal. I can tell you " 

Loetitia was annoyed at his referring to the davs before 
?Ll/r.*° ^"*^ Africa. She ^shed Wm X l^Z 
that he had once planted tobacco. He annoyed her 

sfrTtW^th'lf ^r ^",jP-aking; she intenSlo iS 
sure that the girl would meet her in the right spirit 
before she was made independent. ^ 

'; You come to me in the morning, and I'll see about 
giving you something for pocket-money. I ho^Wrl 
not as extravagant as your brother " ^ ^ 

But it was obvious he was satisfied with, if not proud of 
Albert s extravagance. Then he had capsules to take 
and some powders in a wineglass of water ^iSwi rlLlv 
a very miserable millionaire' who suffered from T^tomS 

brelklm^Ho^^^^^^^^^ " i^^ '""'^ ^^^"^^ ' "e colTot 
oreak ftimself of the unpulse to go on oiling intn hnih o«^ 

U was this habit that obUterafed^l Ws^other^uaiite 
exi4 noth- ™"f ■ ^J^^^y ManueUa knew she coSS 
expect nothing from him but pocltet-money, and that 
her stepmother ruled the household 

Sir Hubert said again that she had grown verv like her 
7^^J^^^'^^-^°°^''«' ""* «ould suit a mantiSr 
bom m South Afnca of an English father and had grown 



28 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



fiercely patriotic in her foreign school*; t»,«.. 

it was only " puX fat " l^^n'"^ reassuringly that 

less reticent As it ^«L Itl ' • ^^* ^^^^ become 

sure that ^he g^af sTSme h^ hadTI,' ""^ "°* ^* ^" 
would matenalize lS/ f , ^Jf ^'' stepdaughter 
of movement ui^adv^Sh T"^ Manuella's freedom 

slanginesfto^A^^^Skr'^^^^^^^^ ^^-^' .^- 

" deolorahlP " or,^ ^^"gar. Her wild hair was certainly 

And^7tle, Mani M? tt'' ""T'^r<' """''^ 
soon it v^ Uke a'^ddtt Ituttr^"™ '"^''^'"^^ •' 

room again, alone CrL«tiufh^"T- '"'"'' "^^^S" 

turned to ^ovmesfth^ii,''^"^"'^' '*'"■• Her colour 
loweringrsi^th «X S:: ^^^^'T ^'""''' 

ri^r4VE^f.fnr^v^^c.-^»- 

- nursery 3 ^ htt^.'; -J^~^ ^^ 



t^ ■ 



^^*-, <-, 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



Jther she shoied a^ ab oh'; .^^^ "^^ ^'^ 
of her position. gratitude, or sense 

want ^;Ldy f"pu?1„rL:2:*- I/-- I don't 

inat IS precisely the rpa<y^n t u "*5""ienr, 
you would have had enough Ise to J^^ have thought 
must learn to behave as if vmi T Perceive that you 

as if you had been bo4 in Thr^" ^ ^""^ l^dy of birth, 
given you the entr^e^' "^^'^^ *° ^^^^ I have 

to^cS^rSf t inSr "-^'^^^^ ^^ been brought 
children is St tottt'^ bT^ /\'" ^"^^-^ '^ 
convinced of it is not nn^nT' ^ 1 *^** ^^« ^as firmly 

fitful outburst of^ge/made W J*'.-, ^^"^"^ ^^^ J^« 
Wagner said it waS wn^o . ?^u ^"^"^^ struggles. Lady 
proTi. Alber lagged ^^f^^^^^^^^^^ ^it«e she had im^^ 
project for her benSt She ^nfj'T' "°* *° ^^^^ ^^«^y 
girl had a maid. She ' could^'f ^^''l * "'^'^' ^^^^ 
by herself, it wasn't decen^^t "^ .!^"* *^^ «t^^t^ 
aU. it was true th^thev had . n v '" * ^'^P^^'' After 
felt Albert's defection ^httri/.^^^^^^^^^^ 1° '!fP "P- . ^he 
phrases on his hps She did il; i ^t^^ Loetitia's 
with Lcetitia for her in h^ ^^"^ *^^* ^^ Pleaded 
quite loyally ' '" ^'' °^ ^^y. of cour^. but 

-^^P^^I^V^^"^^^^^^^ .She'll come 

Albert was allowed to Ko ei-> 
seemed it was the tW at Et^^^^ ';;'') ^"^^^- I* 
young friends indulged fn f h. ^"^ ^^^°^^ • a" his 
inauiged m the same manner of speech 



30 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



complain of bufk ntes ^Th^;?^'"«;^^"'"''»S to 
and irresistible cold tS ^h^ Lf ?h ""*' '^"*"'' 
It was true that all thaf was reauired n/k "'"'" °' "' 
form to custom to havl w h ' j ''"' "** *° un- 

dresses lengthmJd to fit n„ , ?' P'^P^''^ *"<> '«'' 
and learn tL\Ti^u'et*t° of' pTeiSn""^^ "'" ^""O-- 

no exDense Tf thf , ' "^/^f ^''^^' milliners, sparine 
sh^Tnrimpi'tifn: flS^t "JheM^sS^n^" H^ 

was conscioZf d:m'ffittr°""'°""'^^ °' "' '"' 

co-li'/hardty'hte'S e"xpeS ""1."^ *" "' ■»"- 
ments were at v^aTce ^nH llf • ^"' '"° '*■"!««- 
made common'sTnTSpo^br^ '"P"*'™ P^^'""- 

h.^'selmM'^Va^u'ek'^rTo iTk^^" -<» -' 
mother's poUtenesfTfr.t ;.,<u '"'■'' ^'^^ her step- 

about the'S^:tf F»,leKw tT-^PV*" '^"^ 
and mting e^,i,^„, w^S^tlTiiX^^tSe^^ 

lJ^L lf^°"" "^^^ ''""' "*"« more lively 
andl/^^uet'.SarU'e'itntrt''"^ ^''T-- 
n^t^i'-l^iroX^^^^^ ^ -pSnt' 

were offered her /Stkr^nlw*'™"' "■" =?«'«« 

'"^fitfaV?'^»«r p^'-^^^^^^^^^ 

an^r st^ sratsrd-h:?^^i-js<ir'' 

sahsfied with evervthina cKo i. i srovvth. She was 
She often said Z7'^i^^'^%:^^^^' ^^ 



" CONCERT PITCH »• 



deprecated that quality as beLT ""^u"/'^^^' ^"^ 
class. She said you rou d t^U . i!h^k *^,f «"ghly middle 
and by the way sL wijkeH ,Vh ^ ^^ 
unwearied in poindn/ont .w T""^^' ^^^'^^^ was 
she took too fonf steps It ""^'^ -^u""^^"^ ^^ked 
stately, she lacked dtunction IZiT'^'' '""^^^ "°^ 
she must be always on her guard ""'""'^ ^'' '^^' 

^^^%'':oii'j:',^ 7h7 r r '^"^^^ *.^ ^^^' ^"^^>' 

She was always sohtarv Z ^^""t '^'^^^ ^y them 
to be living undefa TathPr kT' ^^°"'- She seemed 
decorous. silentT she real v L. ' ^^"7*^"& ^as soft, 
the great house ^ndLnfser^'^ri \''*^ '"^'^'^ by 
and genuine convictTon of Si Kr.^ ^""^^^^^'^ P^^«>nal 
possibility of argument v^hhlfr.'^' ^"^ ^^ ^^^ i"^" 
justify her sense^f Sng wL^e^ 1?.^' ""u*^^ *° 
for was given to her of It^S., "^"y^^ng she asked 

" You will not have t^m.S • '"''^ '^^"^^• 
later on. perhap^! 'iTee^": '^^tloTt'o '"""^ ^"^-^ ^^^^ 
with your music at the er i! ^ ^''"'' continuing 

less occupied. Mv dear ^i ?/'°''' ^^^^ you are 

little str4hter ^ ''^' '^ ^^'^ ^^^'^ ^^^^ your back a 

a lit«'p'° A\rv2rm"wS '^^ ^^^^ ^^^ -- 
tion " ^'''''^ "^ ^on^an is such a great attrac- 

to^a\tTa"tive%"\1 SwISf IM^ ?! '^^ ^^ ^-^ 
conscious of an inchSati'^n V stoln r/"'' ^°"^y' ^^ 
there was no time for sJZ. L^^^^^^^^ .H ^^^ '^^ that 
days were filled with dJSSf ^.^ moment. Her 
necessary things Her SI !u^" ^^ frivolous, un- 
slde.dire'^ting.SstruXE^^^^^^ by her 

She was £rowin<r mr.^J . duties of her position 

whether sh'I°3d?otbeTrd"?H''?"' ^^^ ^^'^^^ ^d 

what Monsieur Laus^ Lh ^/'^'^'^°"' ^^ ^be repeated 

let such a gift lie^^'f?' n„'^^'J* ^^^ " Impossible to 

^ ^ ''"^- Now when she raised it in the 



3* 



** CONCERT PITCH '* 



dtS? ? -J^^t °1 ^'' ""^ sitting-rcom it sounded muffled, 

taste hI !?.i '°"''. refinement of her stepmother's 
taste Her days were full, yet i. seemed to her she had 
nothmg to do. She had been well taught, both in (^r 
many and France, but not in the art of lookSg he^ bVsJ 
which here seemed all that was required of her 
.2^ Germany she had learned needlework, cooking 

to steTTrn'' ^""^ "°' ^"^ *° ^"^^^ ^^ 1^^^« - -S>m 
to step mto a carnage or motor, to curtsy to her 

Sovereign, to dance modem dances. If they had left 

her for a longer time at Fontainebleau she might have 

acquired these further accomplishments ^ 

swiV^nTr *^^V^' r^ ^'" *°° ^^'^y ^de^ Loetitia's 
I7n,'jf """^'^ ^'''^" ^"^^ ^" resistance, the excuse 

Lrd cauL!"^^"'"''' ^^' ^""^ '° P^y^^'^ ^^*^^^ *^^ 
She was in the period of growth and her Ufe in Conti- 
nental schools Lad not fitted her for so sudden a trL^?k>n. 
The transp antation affected her, and. although it sounds 
a non sequitur, the food also ! ^ 

«,i Jii! ^''?? ** ^^^ ^^""^ '^^°°^^ ^^^ been sufficient and 
simple. It was less so at the Fontainebleau chiteau. The 

habits'" anH ^"i Jr'^l ^^v° ^°«»i^^*ed it had penurious 
habits and although she condescended to receive a 

W on ?r^' u y°^u^ ^^^'^' ^^^ ^^d «° idea of spend- 
ing on their upkeep the remuneration she accepted for 
permittmg them to enjoy the amenities of her fast- 
fh.t^^.^' '*'" magnificent home. They suMued 
the^ healthy yoimg appetities, those pupils of Madame 

hshmenr^^/ *' \^' "^'^^ ^^'' ^^ the aristocratic estT 
hshment, ate rolls and coffee, and fasted until the 

be rtLed'^fn ^^1°"' '^^ ^^""^ °^ "^^^*' learnt to 
be satisfied with soupe matgre in the evenings, to keen 
rehgiou^y aU the Saints' days, and days of fSing ^ 
The change from this to the regime of the Stone House 
^ef. was not without its effect on a constitution ^ yoX 
W^r %*f°^f ^^"\ent so emotional as that of Menuella 
Wagner. It clogged her activities. She became ener- 



" CONCERT PITCH 



cease to struck **' " **^ "^"^ *e should 

res'S"oth^ca«*1:;d*h ~"S^"dt*« !>««« on the 
Manuella. on Se da^ „^,f '" *'"'' "«^t work. 
standard,ie°d"falLnS to p'a tera^'shiri T't ^'^^' 

the " PUDDV fat " anrl *U u m^' ^^® ^^^ ^^^t WC ght. 

of her stSed sDWt ?hf '' ""i""*' '^ *« •»<» 'he quiet 
her showfd 1,:''|J^,t -"- ^hat had been laid 2pon 



; I! 

it 



.ill 






1! 



if 



ittr 






CHAPTER III 

'THE presentation duly took place and all the Society 
Sir ^u^'J n^ade mention of ' the beautiful Sughtero^ 

T orH r ^^^^^^'Z" .^ts way, was extremely gratifying 
later in M^^°'n ^'"'^ ^* ^^^"^ House a^ day Ttto 
her Art? h^^fT"^ ^\^ ^"^ ^" to dinner with him M 
attep^t on On th"""' ^^-^^^^^.^ ^^at he paid her marked 

fntSe Wagners' b^"'^^ "^^^' "^ '^^ °P^^^ ^^ ^^^ «^en 
lu me Wagners box. Rumours were afioat before th^ 

season was a week old. In a column devoted to Socie^v 

?^n \°^*^u' iiJ^^t^ated weekhes. unde° the hVaS 

Overheard by the littlp RirH " u neaamg 

to the effect ''thlTtu ' ^^^^^ ^^^^ ^^o lines 

an,fvJ J *.^® engagement between the heir to 

T T '?™^y notified in the course of a few davs '• 
ca^ tot^T; t° ''^1™' '"«"P»*^d =0 mS hurry 
S^cXf "dt'Tarar tut^tt S! '^""^^^^ 

lutety. ''°"' ""^ "° '™e«^ d'toed abso- 

She said it with that air of complete originality that 

34 



35 



" CONCERT PITCH '» 

always characterized her clichis "lik^ «^k 

men who are cxdospH Z fll! fV . °^®'* y^^g 

wild oats. .''^^ ° temptation, he has sown hil 

" Dragon's teeth." interpolated Ladv SaUust R„f k 
aUu^on was a little beyoni the ex-g^vLl^?''' ^"' ^'^ 

In any case discussion is orematurp w« u 
yet heard from the Duke " T* 1 u ' ^^ ^*^® "^^ 
was secretly elated^d in I' °^'''°''' *^^' ^^itia 

n^Y^'A Waldo's 

move for ^^e^S'lJ^' *^^ ^^^ "^^^^ the requisite 
Pa5^ wo days latTr ^S^'^'^Ti "^^ ^ '^^ ^^rning 
spoke of My fmure brn h'^^^^^^ ^'^'^ ^^ ^^^i^^^^' ^^^ 

now called Manuella •My W "* anH* h /-^"^^ Wagner 
judgment on minor matVers such ?f ^ ^^^^""^^ to her 
daUy round of duties ^ *' ^^' °^ t°^«t o^ 

she^'rt^Sl'^'^^ ^T ^°- ^* ^^ -bo-t that 
did not rStr th^t h.Tl *" ^"^^ Calingford. She 
he seemedT have t^n L hl'"^? ^'^'^ ^^'' ^t^^ough 
Court. She se^ed t^ ^ fi k?*^^ T' ^"^^^ ^^^ ^^t 
shadows. mo^T in In^J?^^^ ^'^ ^^^ through 
was no; ex^SdSaSi;^ e?s^d''wS:T; ^J^^^^^ 
mother found no more fault A^K .u ^f* "^^ ^t^P- 
she was a " ripper™ hlrlih '* ^"^^^^^ ^^^' ^^ said 
and gave heTSToney Ld'Sr'h'r:^ '" 
stranger in the housT is fnr r.'r . ^3° ^^"K^'^ * 
man she was goine to m.rr.! i, ^^^"'"^ ^^^' the 
intrusive, aTd duX thT^/ f ' T "^^l ^ *^^ ^'^^ 
ment she never saw limalot^ " ^^' '' ""'' ^^S^^" 

in ie: ronot'^I?was'o;;?tl'^"iFr*y *^^ ^-^«« g-e 
The SaUusts were in^eHut it"^?^ '"^^ ^erAy. 
that Lord SaUust had to i in tL H ^^ ^ coincidence 
Sallust persuaded her nephew to t^e ^ZL^^'J^'^ 
a coincidence, because I'ady slJlus"aCdoned1Jj 

3* 



$6 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



SS^had aX^terCa^lrt -^/^^y. and aince the 
deliberately to evemhS? th«? ^^^'^. '^"' ^^' ears 
there was noSingm^J^?! ll h ^^' c?"^ ^^^^ him. 
about it agaiTof Se? way to^S:' bL^«. '^1' "^^"^ ^ 
He condoled with her. an7LS £?avfirth«A""'"P^^>^- 
unfortunate. She had for^oHon^^l X^f* ^' "^^s most 
in with her plSis a^d IZ^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ "«* fallen 
under the Jcllt^^es ^"^' ^^' "° "^^ *° ''^^ her 

nighrmy'tL!^to;S:j^^^^^^^^ in with her to- 

accor^g to his a^T.^avet?en ^^ '"^^'^' "^° ^^°^^' 

his'^m'i^^rf^rhiiTa^f^^^^ 

going bacFio Nii^ria^^Thr'^ ?"'*' ^"^^^- "e was 
graduaUy ; the iS^ I^H .1^*"' ""^^^ '^^^"^e ^^e 
It might^take SireT?^^^^ '"^"^J ^e" in hand, 

thing^appen to h^ 1 th^ meLS '^'' ^^^'^^ ^y 
Gilbert wo^ find that ever,^ W f^' u*^ ^"""^ ^^nsin 
out. As for Wmse? he hl?fr ^^^'^ straightened 
was not cut oS? to 1^ a l^^'^'iT'^"^^ that he 
common with that gir^he S?L^,"^^1 ^^^^^^t. In 

whom he someone! cau£hthimii?''..*^l-^^ ^^ ^^ 
was his great n^ He fSl S^ ? thmkmg. freedom 

Une always feels they hve in "th^ 7«, «. ,. 
Ptotively. when she had L^n th. 7' . '^' '^^' 
address. ^^®° 'he footman the 

'.' What entertainment could be bettpr fKo« 
animals feed ? It is kind nf^T^,?; u • *^^ ^^S the 
we ^ see ujr^^^^^^-^ .^^"PP^ 



" CONCERT PITCH »' 37 

pound notes dropping from his mouth with horrid erowls 
and noises as he scrunches up that miUion" ^ 

He had very little real interest in the subiect wns 
^L'nmtlJ^\H"?^"-P^^y '' obligrhfs S. ^d 
ri^ew'^t^ulTbe S-^— to pass the time. 

Considering he had s<> often thought of the eirl he had 

oTthe'Cffs^H^'' '' ^VT^' *^^' during that's hdf 
of the Banffs dinner-party, he failed to recomize her But 

s?thfs^L"h:d"^ " ''''''' '' '' -iSr mLu?u1 

oy tnis time had been run. as it were, into a mould and 
become, outwardly at least, like all the othTrirls^n 
^eir first season who were dressed by Paquin fav ir 
Hayward coiffed by Lentheric. and hattTby LeWis 
One could not see the tree for the foliage And ITrd 

dinner with the Duke's sister, who was eighty years 
Seable"^ si^'fn ^^^ '^^'' ^^ notoriSy ''dl^ 
sluust ' ''''''■'^' ^"^^ ^^'*^"«d ^«>^ Lord 

^^i,^"*?^/®"""^' ^y ""^^e," Lyssons ventured to sav 
to her. half-way through dinner. ^^ 

she snapped''' '* ' ^" ^"' ^^'" ""* "^ ^«^^^ ^^^" y«^/' 

he'su^esfed'^'^' "' '""^"^ *^'' ^"^^^ ' ' ' '^-^'Shtr 

"What is going on to-night ? More truckUnes to that 
wretched httle Welsh solicitor." ^nicKungs to that 

She too. was rabidly political, and Waldo was ev^n 
more bored than he anticipated. She spoke o the mL^I^e 

- S;tal r T """^f^ ^^^^ ^^ *»^°"g^ al^ut it "^' 
T A ^,^^f d^*' I call It. quite dreadful ! Such neonl.. • 
I don't know what Banf^ is thinking of " ^^ ' ' 

al«cc^'? '' *^,^ ^"*^^ • " Waldo asked, and. with his 

^ '' sS tltr ^'^^'^ T""^ '^' '^^^' indiffer;n«y 
She IS sitting beside him. They call her good-looking 

stupid. I know I cannot get a word out of her " 

Good heavens!" He took his glass out; the 



Ili': 






but 



3« " CONCERT PITCH »' 

ejaculation was under hi« hr.a*k 

it is I What havelhey'ltt her ;''""'*^ 

he wl^iTb"t::c?:d^tn'to'"^^^^ ^^^- that ■ 

When she asked him wXt he ff w ^"" ""heeded. 
W/' he scarcely answered ""^^'* "^ *^^ " '«'^^''''- 

^a^^.*^So;?,4V^^^^^^^^^ the ,irl of the 

But never like this. She wS^S. /'"'"^^ *^'"^'"& °f her. 
ford How had it come aZitT^H: ""'"ir ?^"y ^^""g- 
of Calingford. It seemed fn I ^ ""^'^^^^ a" he knew 
thatch^H^-andCaliSd. Tnir f ^^"""^'^ ^^^^fice^ 

the wolves. He iookeTat her aga n wrd*''°"T« ^^^ ^'^ 
The dinner lasted an inordina^t;'^^""^: about her. 

done in an old-fashioned way th/H""^ ' ^T^^^i^^ ^as 
|f It had come out of the 71 ' t^,^^^'""«^-tahle looked as 

oaded with fniit and flo::,. elnTv7rT ^''''' T'^'' 
the mtervenine enerimAc d, -5^ victonan. But for 

There was n^^h^ g,? if he"'t« "^^ -^"S-"^"* h^ 
d»ek; she looked tifed i|l„w n^fn"'"' ""'*' "P°" her 
did not look happy. ' "°' '""PPy. certainly she 

have^'aJSi*Sr"a Z:°"^ ' ^'"""<' ''*^« 'bought would 

anfasrh»r-3Lln^r\tt7 

a stepmother perhaps ^ ^^* she-dragon of 

^i^^^l^:^rZ:^ -«■ The ladies 

The two men had been af Ft«« * .u 

^2,?™ °"- yearXween'^hem^"""' ""'°"«'' ^^^^ 
^aimgford was a shorf +h;^i 1 

forehead, red nose and W^.T •v*"" » "^n^w 

certain,conterapt-for Lysso„?^h„ '''^^- "« had a 

t- ve^ ,«.a ..a;onnnSL|''S«^;7£: 



" CONCERT PITCH " 39 

^J^v hi'd"'*^' ""*'?. "^P'"*"^ ^^«»' i" 'or prizes. 
They had met very seldom in af Ic-hfe. their ways lav so 
far apart. Still the school-days were a link i^d Har^ 
was by way ot being host. ^^ 

fnaM^r""" V ''.^"^"[y ''"^^ y°" ^"^ I ^ere at school 
cZ^T ^r ''" ,^." ^^^^' ^'S g^"^e. haven't you ? 
Come home to settle down ? Same old round. I've got 
jolly sick o It. you know I'm going to be married-S 

iToteC '^T i\Rr^™be' ^^«" Dunholmel^d 
I wrote exeats for each other, and took a couple of days 
m town and the Governor came down unexpectedly ? 
We nearly got sacked over that job. By God ! we^d 
I beheve ,t was before your time. What a quee7liU?e 
devil you were, and how we roasted you t " 

Waldo remembered vividly how he had hated him 
fag master and head of the house, tyrant and buC 
unmentionably worse. H. found his old dislike returning 

dnnk before he left Eton, and it was a habit thit had 
grown on him Waldo thought that he was ust tSe 
same. Characters never alter, they only develop 

ne -one uneasily conscious that the man revolted 
him Ti.ac everything he said jarred, that in another 
minute or two he would probably be extremely ZTZ 
him. He pushed his chair back, thinking he had better 
get away upstairs, or out of the house. Harry Calin/j- 
ford would not let him escape so easily • he went on 
talking-school days, college days, then back ^aTn to Ws 
approachmg marriage, about which he became extremely 
communicative. ^'»"WJr 

" Hard lines on MiUy. isn't it ? We've been together six 

years now ; but what's a fellow to do ? I'm Si never 

et her leave the stage. You saw her int£tll7rZ 

the East I suppose? Rippmg song, hers in the second 

Enghsh girl. I say. for make and movement ! Look at 
Milly's figure now. ..." ' 

it.The Duke rose and the other men followed his example • 
It was time to join the ladies. ^ ' 



40 



" CONCERT PITCH '» 



he asked her. without circmilSn "^ n 1-^"* ^"^'^*^» 
„ And who is MiUy ? " "^'"^"^'o" or prehminary. was : 
MlUy ? MiUy p f. 

P«^''^ ^^^o"^.""*^ ™«"d '1>« ™om inquiringly „i.h . 
any Mmy"* ^""^ » """"Pt. MiUy who , j <,„„., ^ 

«*X VKd Zki^i!:^" fr'^' ? On con. 

^y wte'Ltn^ ^:„ «' -To' r^^ '"'^•' ^o- 
Know why I You mpan lu-n r '^ "O' ^ "» sure I don'f 
-^o has Ln taJk^gl^K^^^^^^^^^^ ^?^ But 
. They say he has two chiL.rTu '^^^'^ ^^"^ ^^ice. 
senously attached to him-^it7 • ^^. ^''■' ^^^ ^^e is 
appeared since the en^WTnt h^" ^t''' ^^^ ^^ "ot 
2l ^^ " *° «»^e aSuiTment n;*^^" announced. 

"^lii^yi^-p- ^^-^aJirra-^'Arrhaf;^^^^^ 

l^y^pt^^tZ^, J?^ Wa^er girl^ She would be 
animation." ^^y she had a httle more 

you ever see a rirl tolc mT 'J'"*' ^' « doing. Did 
Latitia's eye. . .^" '"'''' ^^ depressed; she watch« 

8n..nl«:h«, SSXV^'r"" -"*■ I -»' to con. 

^e introdictatrslsild IZ'^'F'"" '°««"»^°" 
va«nt seat beside Mann^f " *"'' ''" <^"PP«1 "to the 

^„Jo„don-t.„e„bern.e... was the first thing he said 
~on^e had ^^l ^sa^^ ^cS^^ X^feif 



" CONCERT PITCH " 4, 

«ie imile was mischievous, amused. " I wish Albert were 

a'i, ^^ ^ ^®'"*^" yo" were a bagman ; he was 
*^ffy angry with re for talking to yo^ 

I think myself it was somewhat unladylike " he said 

In fact, you must have lost sight of your position " 

Calingford sauntered up to them and said : 
rinchl?"* ?f*^"^ *° ^ ^*y*"^ something very amusing- 
rh^^fJ ^ ''"Z'^''" ^"" ^»^^ "^^Sner laSgh before." She 
changed countenance when he came up to them but he 
did not stay. '< m come back presently. I TuppSse I 
must make myself agreeable to some of these peopl^'^ 
Lyssons rescrewed his eyeglass and regarded her again. 
A bagman That was a bad guess of Albert's ' I 
a K ^^^^ti« your brother. I taught you werl quitl 
a little girl Haven't you grown up very quickly ? I 
can t make it out at all. Don't look as if youlant to get 
up and follow Calingford. you will have time enough f^ 
him you can surely give me five minutes." 

^?:^'zi:^,^^^^^^^ '^^'' *'^ ^"'^^ "-^^- ^-^ 

" I have often wondered what became of you. or whether 
the Great Eastern swallowed you up. I've any numW 
more of advent to relate. Do ?ou thfnk ^alin^JS 
will be jealous if I sit here ? " "'giwa 

" I don't care if he is." 
rlJfiL** °"!7.*^! strawberry leDves. then?" he ex- 
n^w ^ i!? l"^f ^^rtently. She turned startled eyes 
uiK)n him. He had a little forgotten what wonderful eyS 

"V'f L^' ^^^.^"'^ ^"" ^"*o t^^"^ a»d said cooUyT 
Don t be cross. ^ 

'' Why did you say that ? " 

mv ^!?' ^ f Jf^^ ? """^^^ congratulate you. and that was 
my way of doing it. a little unconventional, perhaps 

staLtv'^r'"'^'"*'^''*'' "^y ^""* ''^' me^ co^n: 



42 




" CONCERT PITCH '» 



say, I 
time. 



^ieve Calingford 
Jf ou have a bad 



,''! don't know." 
Now you are frowning ] 
s going to have a deWI ^of a 
^®^Per, haven't you ? " — 'hjw a bad 

chiJd'th^etafslu/LTer'''*X^^^ ^°^ "^"<=h of the 

stiU was the strange pain h ^^l^^l "^^"^ extraordina^ 
Pajn ebbed to tenlern'Ss"aXn ISn^' '^Z'^^^.^}- tS 
^are! Of course, she had not been ^'i. ^^^''^^d! poor 
aunt was a lunatic to think he m.-^xhf I? "^"^^ ^ ^un. His 
place ; but already he^d' an^^'C c1^,^^^^^ 
it's &"^ -^ ^ ^ave a C^'e^^f S^^s^;^^ 

;;You don't bite!" 
No." 

nonsense, he saw the alteraHnn • k ^** ^^^^ talking light 
y^ it seemed to tolt w^'^ an' '"T ^^^^^^ 
tiut underneath it was thi rirl of ff S*^""^ alteration. 
taUang to her unta the ti^f 11*^^ ^t^- «« went on 
There was not a word of^rj?. ^ ^'''" *^«"» both to £o 
what he said, but TL^p??"'"^' *^a^% of seni & 
and responded. He s^k.. *° ^?^ ^^^ ' ^^e Wfaed 
quaintance. and r" aSS llS'JP "^ '^^'^^ unlicen^^ac 
seemed a very lon7^^ Albert s supercUious loo^ ff 
remenjbered.'" She" & £ *^,^/^t Pleasant'S'ng she 
wished she were a chSdlSl ll \ ^^"^ then f she 
dreams since she had b^Sn, ^^" ^^ ^orgotteA her 
memibered them agahT whe^l^M 't"^^^^'^' *^"t she re- 
much she had alterS! '''^ ^^^^^^ told her how 

young^."^- ^of rL^^^^^^^^^^ are the patte. 



"CONCERT PITCH" 



43 

tie hai^^h^!!;^'^*^ ?^ '^'^S °* P"^^^ess Pearls and 
?n them ml? f," ' '* ^^' *^^* ^^^^*» ^^ imprisoned 
Jo p! he sa^: ' ^t^P«^<^ther's notification she rose 

"We shaU meet again. I suppose ? " 

in cSLkSrhL^iS'^^'^^' ^°' ^"^'^'^ ^^^ "«* «^*^^eeded 
m cnecKmg her mipulsiveness completely : 

Oh ! I hope so." 

shamT^'' h. tT'^^i^'^T" ' ^^* ^ <^^»ed. infernal 
sname ! he said, when he was in the carriae*. «Hfh hil 

^"n^ returning to Grosvenor Square. ^ ^*^ ^'^ 

J^^^aI ^y^^f ^y what has happened ? " 
He had forgotten he was not alone. 

The Insurance Bill." he answered promptly " It i^ 
impossible to defend the Contributary Clai^T' ' 

You may well say so." 

unmhe^&''^ h ''"'P^'i' '"^^^^ ' *^« *«Pi<= J^ted 
unm ne lett her, at her own door, again persuaded that h- 

was more serioos-minded than ^^S^t^^^. 



QHAPIER IV 

Strange in that, for thev m? T- ^^^^^ ^^s nothing 
^ very little mi^SS^/^!!!^ ^" ^^e same woSdf 
about. Manoeuvring hhTX^^ "^i''*'^ *« bring it 
.^^^^y- Manuellf had m^^e fr^e^l^' '' ^^^^ <^<^"^ed 
rwponsibility for her co?dict !^c t"°^' P^^ of the 
At least, that was the way L«titTa li^I^ Caluigford's. 
felt she was no longer tied to W nn.i^^- ^P^" ^t. and 
Lord Calingford was not L ""congenial task. 

I-rd Lyssons^^anu'ua tc^^heTlL^^^^ '' ^^ ^th 
the Row. She became on eLv .n!f ?" '??°"^^^ "^e in 
him while her fiar^remL^^,:?;^ ^^'^^' tenns with 
bead She had a way S^S^in/rTV^^ ^ ^^^^^ 
her stepmother's friends/anfwasfH^^^^^^'^ ^ «"« of 
company, fonnal. exhibit ntdl^tn^ and unreal in his 
had imparted to her. With Lo^d T"" ^^''^ ^^^^ ^atitia 
|o^ He was too tall anTL to i^^^^f, '^' '«* herself 
She chnstened the large beast hJ^ ."^f °" horseback. 

^'^'Jul^S^ly "^^ - " ^ -- ten years old," she said 



-— iau». lo me as 
once petulantly. 
" I know. l' forget 



your years, I only talk to 



44 



your 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



45 

o^r frS''-" ""' ^'^ *^^« ^'' ^d ^^fS her pout 

nnr7 ^^^ wk"!^"^ ^T ^^^ bad-tempered," he told ner 
once. What I can't stand is seeing Jrou liok as if vou 

sX ^eT ""'"'^ P'*"^^^ ""^^^ y°^ stepmothS's 

" When do I look like that ? " 

She gave her horse a touch with the whin caUooed 
up the tan. and did not wait for an answer & f S 

^n wh'""!!"'"^ '^"'^^ ""*^ '^^ P^ed her horse in 
agaim When they were trotting side by side, as if^ere 
had been no pause in question a^d answer, he ;^ : 
When you are with your fianc^ " 

heJ^^Ir'L^i''''' were walking, and he was watching 
ner Her face was shadowed by the broad-brimmed 

?et!;^I,'f"'''rrf '^^"^^ He went on, S:^ 
he wanted to make her face him. "^««>c 

"I suppose your feelings are too much for vou " he said 
contemplatively; "you are so awfuUy in love 'with Ihe 

Sr-'^A r^ ^n'' l^^- ''^' ^^^<i of Tatl^d o1 
S;. u^ ^^\^°' ?^ '^^ the flush, and that he wZ 
making her angry, he added thoughtfuUy • 

been'i^^oveS'^^^P'^'^^^'y-^^^^ I have never 
" Neither have I," she flashed at him, as if he were 
accusing her of something unworthy o?^ ri<£?uloS 
Neither have I. Who said I had ? ^at hSlove ?o 
do>^thit? You are always trying to anJ^y^."'^'*" 
attr^Snn^?* ''^Z^'^\ ^ ^""""y^^ ^hen I alluded to the 

^^v ^' WW^h^'^^'-T'' ^^i ^"^ y°"'" he continu^ 
mildly. Which remmds me, by the wav that I heard 

this monung the Duke is iU-inflienza.TillX i^^^ 
or retard your marriage ? " "«»"ju 

'' I don't know." 

;; Is it to be soon, or mustn't I ask that either ? " 
Not until^e end of the season," she rephed hastUy 
You can bear the delay ? " "«»«.uy. 

" I wish you wouldn't ask foolish questions." 
It 15 a bad habit of mine." 



46 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



^ Quixote" to t m^^ t'Zt r'^" '"-^» 

«^J,^ ^ '""^ ""' Mcongruous eye- 

lae Duchess, bv mrf i " i, 

a IittJe prematui, buMo the'l^^'^l? ^"^ ' " *« the life 

Duchess, but Banff's fiBst i ^^- ^°* B^wning's li; 

Why are you looking ciss ? wT'f ^°" ^^^^^ /oLse^* 

She did not look croL .h.^^ *f "^^ the I^e ? •' 

w^y to help 1: a. Ladv SalhTSk 'T? , . "''• °»' seeiuK the 
gome weU vviUi the ^„?'^'°''^'»™ ""ings ware not 
jnattentive; it w^'hSf^rhi"' ■ tj^ ^StorTZ 

" wt'r'^-£FX"i^:^ei" ^^ - »' ^- 

" I hate f^L ^i^^^^ yourself ? " 
" Ac ?i! ^S Messed up." 

;;T5sti^tr4'ti!?''»co™.<.,„„o„th. 

" What had you bf^lT^^i . ^'''PPe'' short. 

^ to make you conspicuous 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



mo^S^ ^t'T^^^T^ff ^« f"» yo" » your 
is kno™ to be verJ e^Jt*;?f *^?'' '"" ^'^ Ly4ns 

end^ ttVtS^tZSy'^^ '''^'""- -0 ^«- ^ 

alway^'L::' moJelS^ThereMe^ "^^ Young people 
the matter any further T llu'; Y^^ *^ ""* <"scuss 

wished she could ^xnrfftT.k. Manuella now. She 

ford had spo J;; 7^11 *^ ^rsrs^* ^"'i^- 

M^uek*°'''"°"'r^'"'^'''>^he^ ' 

-?g:,rsxStoTd":3i:drr'"- - 
it's Xrr r s^t^r-^'^^ - " ' -- * ^<^ ^ 

;; A"t:2<^^„ «^J^«4^ ^o cheerf;^^* 
caUed you that at Oxford "S'ttiiev^He^; „ *'''y 
place ; won't you ? I'm not ™,^i, „7 j • ' **''« °>y 

When they were alone h. f "5 V ? ^<=^ °»»-" 

SenUy-ina^er^fiereJt^th ^'k^*! ^^^y- 
he generaUy took mU W ^' '^'" *""* *"y <">« 

Is tl^« ^^gl r^S , ?-'* y" "" -e about it ? 

She ^swered moodily, but just as frankly • 
ol^-^lt.l^^.'^y'^y^^- I've made a fool 

;; It is Calingford, then ? " 

^^^l^^^tUZ^ry--^"^- Now 

You don't like him ? " 



f 



48 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



WgV' '^' ^^ °^ ^^^ -bo"t it ? I don't lUce 
;; Except talking to me ? " 
Except talking to you." 
u She smiled, but her smUe was a short liv^H ♦!,• 

I hate everything— mvself mn^ a snort-hved thmg. 
away. I don't want to tdk" * °'' ^^^ ^"^^ «« 

',[ J^\^° someone else, then." 
stam^VyouTU''" '^'- ""^^ ^°- y- -e mentally 
^Tears were near the surface of her eyes, and he divined 

eyehdHmt'Sig ' a'w^l^ri^dir^ 'T ^"* ^« ^^^^ ^er 
dress baU. ^' ^^ ndiculous to cry at a fancy 

could do for hS S h J\ ^- ^""^ ^°^ wl»at ^e 
her into this ^Leme^? Ik \"^^'*. ^^ " J^^^^eyed " 
felt that "he iTuKr ; Sh" ^^^ S^!° ^^"^ ^^^^ ^nd 
off wiu. nim. Tst^tiough^rthat'rt'^"^"^' 
J^a .ueer Httle twinge c^'IhSll rthrrl^^' ^^ 

he^^d.*^"'''^ "^^ y°"'^^ °^*^« o^ things ! " was what 
" I know I have." 
;; ^«« is no way out, I suppose ? " 

And rvTp^'^sS^.'' "' '^■' *>"* « »^ »ytl.ing. 

s^9orxt-r:.s--Tw^^i^ 

My tpZtSr^y^ I'Z^* ^-} ^^y ttends. 

them if I had." ' "^' ' ^"^ not keep 

"Your stepmother is . . . is unmentionable. Of 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



I w Ih^ He ttT^t^o'^^^r^' ^' y- ^'^ 

imprisoned. I have^he IZ ^ ^°"- Y°" ^^el trapped, 
in London. I ^ awav nt^f ^^«^«:..all the time I^ 

f*':,^^Pj;5;youcan'tTom;^thme^^ "'^^ ''^^''' 

curled lashes, anSturnTt' W^'T ""' "^ ""^^^ h«' 

; To go back to RhodesTa r %t?'t^^^'\^'' *»^ds : 

like Wouldn't it be wonderful P'*' ^* '' ""^^^ ^ '^^^^ 

he 4r h^ar^rifk^dtel^^^^^ »-" a woman 

He had the sudden desh-e^n^ that rose to his lips. 

Come," he wanted to say ^Lr'^!"'^ heart-belt. 

taste freedom together '' ^' ^^ "°* "^"^^ ? We'U 

neetd^Td ''^WZk t ^^^ <>P^- ^he 
better than anyone else hJf^ ■'' ""^^^rstood her 
tenderness towards her, it wis not^JT^"?. ^P"^ o^ 
her. It was for her-^to make L^' ^^''^^^ ^« wanted 
beheved that. But she Zt\ ^^PP^* ^e quite 
Calingford, and the Dut ^^s df?n^^ u ?"^ ^V 
to speak, he had nothing to offer^f h ' ^^f "° "^ht 
together. ^ " °^^^ "^r. He pulled himself 

Sht haSTshed' 'aSi'tSht' ""T"^''' ^^ ^^ -00%. 
minute. Now she pSd a^d S""^ "^ *^a* i^P^kive 
gave him, he wanted to 'kiS^hWfr °^.*^^ ^^^ «he 
tional wish he had ever had in L- r?"^ *^^ "»««* ^"^' 
Sensible. He did not Sow wh^f ^'' ^1"' *^^ "^^^^ inde- 

."In a rage again^'^Te asked^'^JyP^T^ *° him. 
nunutes. " ru Tq to rk«^ ^ ^ ^^^^y* a^er a few 
not so interesting' ^°^''^^' '^ ^^^ "ke. But it^ 




wrong thing." 
bonfb,-S,J^ i'. "i? S l^.^^. I suppose; another 
«ch other." She wasi^U i f*!'" *''«° *« taUc to 

"We understand ^'XeJ/^e*::^^: '" *^ '^^ 



50 



" CX)NCERT PITCH " 



" I suppose we do." 

Did they ? He thought not. He wanted to kiss her, 
for instance, and it was impossible that she wanted to 
kiss him. 

" Pretty well ; not quite. You have not an idea what 
I am thinking about at this moment, for instance." 

" What are you thinking about ? " 

"Your lips. ..." He did not say it, he said 
mstead : 

" Don't you want me cO tell you about Nigeria ? 
flaunting your Rhodesia, indeed ! Do the natives paint 
their legs red in your country ? Of course they don't ; 
they are just commonplace Nigs." He dashed into travel 
talk. Strange figures strolled into the conservatory; 
they were no longer alone. 

" Got out of that just in time." he said to himself, with 
a sigh of relief, when she was claimed by a partner. He 
did not understand himself in the least. He thought 
when he got home that he was only sorry for her ; he 
did not know that already she was in his heart. 

" I am twice her age ! " 

So was Harry Calingford— more than that. 

" I shall have to clear out before I make a damned fool 
of myself. She would rather talk to me than to him. 
she wants gentle handling, with her quick temper and 
pnde. Of course she is proud. They've jockeyed her 
into it, and now she'll keep her word at any cost." Then 
he saw her eyes again— glorious eyes, but puzzled. " I 
puzzle her. She doesn't know what to make of me." 
He smiled, but it was a wry and fleeting smile. He was 
conscious of quickened heart-beat, sudden hunger, an 
impossible thriU or longing. It did cross his mind that 
he was falling in love with her. but he dismissed the 
mtrusive thought. He said to himself again that he 
was twice her age, that she was not a woman at all ; he 
was ashamed of the visions that pursued him. 

That night— the night of the fancy-dress ball— Manuella. 
too, slept badly. Why had she promised to marry Lord 
Calingford? She could not think how it had come 



^te 



" CONCERT PITCH 



*t 



51 



about. She had no feeling at all for him ; he was dull, 
heavy, uninteresting. She supposed she would have to 
marry him now, but shrank dismayed from the prospect, 
comforting herself, however, by remembering her wedding- 
day was a long way off ; there was always a possibility 
that something might intervene. She was sure he found 
her dull too ; he did not seem to care at all for her 
company. She thrust him from her mind and allowed 
Lord Lyssons to take his place. He was never dull ; 
one never knew what he would say next, but one always 
wanted to hear. It seemed to her that she was never 
long enough with him ; something or somebody always 
interrupted them. Supposing she had been going to 
marry him instead of Lord Calingford ? The supposition 
made her redden a little in the darkness, under the bed- 
clothes. She was sure she would never have felt dull 
with Lord Lyssons, 

In the morning two things happened, bearing a relation 
to each other. So many days nothing at all happened, 
but on this day there were two co-related circumstances. 

At eight o'clock in the morning a letter was brought to 
Manuella. The handwriting was strange to her • <he 
had few correspondents but her school friends ; c,.v»- 
were generally foreign letters, and this was English. It 
might, of course, be an invitation ; it was not sufi&cijntly 
ornate for a circular, there was no crest nor monogra n on 
the envelope. Invitations and circulars generally went 
to Lady Wagner, but this might be an exception. She 
had no prevision of its contents when she -opened it ; 
why should she have had ? 

It was quite a long letter, and she read it through 
twice, its contents being difficult to master, to understand. 
She did not know such things happened except in books. 
She felt humiliated ; that was her first feeling when she 
had mastered the contents of Milly Leroy's letter. 
Nothing unclean, shameful, ugly, had ever touched her 
before. She was for destroying it, then for going with it 
to her father ; but she was ashamed. That was what she 
felt most definitely — shame. As if she would have taken 

4* 



i 



ffi 



•kit 



J 



52 



" CONCERT PITCH '» 



J 



fresh sS of «t.i I ' ""^"^ co°»Placent and with a 
s^at^totrf^^^^^^^^^ ^<"^^ a letter of 

of your' dSr\\ wlT'* '^P^^^^ ^ ^^^"^ *»»« ^^d news 
conveyed it to mv SS ^^"y;. ^T *^"*^^' »»a« J"^t 
and I ^ UufiTd aTir. ' i^'^"^^ **^" telephone, 
shown tT f^llbLkittnM''"''^^^^ *^a* ^^^ ^n 

Poor child • I am surl Ih ^n'^t *' S^^"*^^ ^' Possible. 
1,0^ Km. ^* ^^^ s^6 Will share vour ene^f h- 
had been ailing a lonp tim*» K„f ♦»,« "«•« your gnei. «e 
I mvdearH?rr^/?li!?'.T*^®®"^^as sudden. May 
h Jh\^ ? ^' *^^ *^** ^ am sure you wiU crace th*^ 
high position to which you have be*»n raiuT -^ 
child by your side " ^' ^^'^ O""" 

much better Duchess ^e* htseTwould tve'i^e'' IZ 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



53 



Lord Calingford, against her own people for not having 
known, against herself for having promised to marry 
the horrid man. 

" There it is." 

She flung the letter on the table. Lcetitia looked up, 
astonished, from the one she had just sealed and was 
about to dispatch. 

" There. I don't want to touch it. I suppose you've 
had the same. ..." 

" Has Lord Calingford written to inform you of the 
sad event ? " 

She smiled — Lcetitia' s famous smile. 

" I forgot, I should have said, has his Grace written ? " 

" She wrote," the girl answered sullenly. 

" She ! The Duchess ! I am surprised." It certainly 
seemed a lapse in etiquette. 

" That woman. . . ." 

" What woman ? My dear child, I wish you could 
acquire a more definite method of expressing yourselt 
What is this ? " 

Something she read in the gina Tace made her take 
up the letter Manuella had flung down, and it imme- 
diately arrested her attention. A pale, indignant colour 
stained her cheeks, becoming accentuated in her thin 
nose as she read the signature at the end. The facts 
contained in it were not as new to Lcetitia as they 
were to Manuella. 

" What a disgraceful letter ! An outrageous and dis- 
graceful letter ; probably not one word of truth in it ; 
the letter of a shameless woman." 

Manuella was standing ; she was waiting for some con- 
demnation of the man whose name was mentioned, 
watching her stepmother as she read : 

" / have two children by him. J went to live with him 
before his eldest brother died ; he was only the second son ; 
he promised he Mould marry me as soon as his father 
died— swore it a hundred tinted. Now he is going to throw 
me over altogether. I wish you could see my little boy ; he 



54 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



son^ Ive been cryjng my eyes out over it /or days LZl 

« «noM<r man be/ore or since. I've got a littU eirl ton \u!i 

/*« home you are breaking up. ..." ^ »»««--«« 

The rest of the letter was in the same strain It aUuded 

taken any mc^e uotir* «/ i.v!l. r j t i • . ''^•* «^«if «of 

made him t i./ >/ t .. y^' ^ ** '"y *«<»« / I've 
^rhlZ'J. ""?* ^"^ '*^''^ ^^ him. I've earned 

A,.rrmn^. that^sTMlVtlTl ''*'" f ''^ f *^ '^ 
M. father of mychildrl .«' ''''' ^ ''*''' ''*^"'' »'^ *^'«' 

^r^^^^^^X^:^^ -^^ ^ain. and after a 

takeiturortb^lawers i^'^T^^V y?'^ ^^'^'' ^ 
Kirl' But th*S! ^! To send such a letter to a mere 
SiTi . xjut these creatures are all aliW*» f h^„ u 

sense of shame Let if \L Til j f' ^^^^^ ^*^« ^^ 
it out of yo^^nd '' Shi J 'S '•. '^''"^ *^"'^ ^*- ^t 

Manuellarr^eTfin. pa'l ToTed^' ^TL^l^'th" '"^'' 
for you ! " *' ^ lu rea. i nave other news 

sit down : it has Sn 1 .wu * ^^^ jou had better 
uwn , u nas been a shock to you. This letter," she 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



55 



held up the one she had written." is to Harry, to your 
fianc^ ; it is a letter of condolence. You may like to add 
a line, or, better still, you will write to him yourself. 
Harry, our poor Harry, has lost his father. Harry is 
now the Duke of Banff. You look quite pale. Shall I 
ring for a glass of wine for you ? I do not, as a general 
rule, approve of intoxicants in the morning, but if you 
think you would like it ... I have told him he must 
not grieve, he will fulfil the high position to which he has 
been called." 

" What are you going to do about that letter ? " 

The girl was going to be tiresome, Lcetitia scented it. 

" You had better lie down a little," she s^d sooth- 
ingly. " We won't talk about this dreadful letter any 
more. It is of Harry we must think, and the change 
in his circumstances. Do you feel equal to writing 
him a line, or shall I add a postscript? Don't 
look so distressed ... of course, it will make a great 
difference." 

" I am not going on with my engagement." 

" You are a little overwrought just now." Lcetitia 
meant to be very gentle and very tactful with her. " You 
must really not attach undue importance to an anonymous 
letter, practically an anonymous letter ; for as far as I can 
make out, the woman is entitled to no name, no name at 
all. I understand she calls herself Leroy ; probably sh«* 
is Smith, or Jones." 

" You knew about it ? " 

" My dear, will you not try and be calm ? You are 
always so emotional. It is right you should know nothing 
of such things. Young men will be young men, they 
are exposed to great temptations. It is not a matter 
we can discuss. If you will be guided by me, you will 
think no more about it. You must not, of course.^ever 
allude to it to Harry ..." 

" To Lord Calingford ! " 

" The Duke of Banff," she corrected gently. 

" I should think I wouldn't. I shall never speak to 
him again." 



5« 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



l^tia avmed, out^„ j;;^ '""^^ »»d behaved, so 
^^:'^*iy^rJS^','i?Z^^ « "Kiting, de- 
and .':" t'd'ouTxler Ho!:;* r^. "»* I'"' »sujted 



CHAPTER V 



NOTHING could move the girl from the attitude she 
had taken up ; neither her father's arguments nor 
Albert's had any effect upon her. To discuss the matter 
at all was extremely dif&cult, and, as Loetitia said, 
Manuella's obstinacy Wcis inconceivable. The way she 
persisted in declining to ignore thi<: disreputable person's 
appeal was thoroughly unladylike, and showed an innate 
lade of refinement. Loetitia was naturally exasperated 
as she saw herself losing the opportunity of being the step- 
mother of a Duchess. She fought as long as she was able 
and in every way that was possible. Manuella did allow 
herself to be persuaded to do nothing until after the 
funeral. Loetitia thought time would bring her to a 
better state of mind. But, before sufficient time had 
elapsed, the very day after the funeral, in fact. Lady 
Wagner was astounded, humiUated, she said, by hearing 
that the new Duke had wTitten to Sir Hubert, with- 
drawing his pretensions! The news was in the papers 
before she recovered from the shock. 

The marriage arranged between, His Grace the Duke of 
Banff and Miss Wagner wiU not take place. 

It stared her in the face from the fashionable column 
of her Morning Post, curt, decisive, the overthrowal of all 
her hopes. 

It may be imagine<l that Manuella's position in the 
house became an unpleasant^ one. Her father^^again 

57 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



,,(iJl 



f 



5S 

ignored her, Albert went back fn nw ^ . 

no, opportunity of expr^fnl ?. '^'^^ ^^ ^«*»«a lo^^ 

" T J, f 

io you again." ^ ^ ^^' '''^ ^ "^'^ ««'»' see or speak 

everybody who inqmVeti^'^!? ,t^^2r""'t *« ^^ to 
thrown him over, not he her ^' ^^^ ^^^' ^ad 

i don't know but what !'«, „i ^ ^ , 
was his comment. 'it^JZft.''' ^ ""* °^ i*'" 
kmdergarten." "^^ ^^^ ^^E m a damned 

tetter may have touched him h .Something in her 
MUIy cared nothing for to ,22' '^'^^ "">«* "«" 

ti^^i'cr ^f r ro.-n;"*-fi'" ^ ■»»«« 

f^tuaUy became awarHf Tt wT2 "'^'7^' !»«»>•. 
to gossip, in and out of Gro™»„™- c "®"'^' '""^ned 
^ •■ 1 suppose she is havSrardl^T" "p^^^^y- 
stepmother of hera " he ^h L r^"' * '™« ^th that 
ttese occasions. ^^ '" ^<*y SaUust on one of 

lock2"i S^hefroom-'^'^ '"P' "" ''"^d »d water, 

" Ti "Y "cie — to stay with mp ? " 
i'i:r.t'u^e:^>.---P.wou,dit.. 
She sat very upright i„ her chair. It was imposslMe 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



59 



to misunderstand what he was asking her. " If you are 
really so much interested. . ." 

" You are not going to repeat that unholy proposition 
of yours ? " He was examining one of the miniatures, 
avoiding her eyes. 

" I am, indeed. Why should you go to Nigeria ? " 

" The climate suits me." 

" Don't be absurd, it is a dreadful climate, every- 
body says so. You would be a much better match for her 
than Harry Calingford was, I told you so before." 

He had made up his mind to nothing. Manuella was 
no longer to be met in the Row ; Rosinante and he searched 
for her in vain. 

" Lady Wagner has taken quite a special dislike to 
me." 

" That will not matter at all. She certainly hates her 
stepdaughter." 

He brought forward other objections, of which not tl)e 
least was the disparity in their ages. 

Lady Sallust combated all the scruples he set up ; there 
was Uttle doubt he set them up for her to demolish. 
Yet he was really in half a dozen minds about coming 
forward as a suitor for the girl's hand. He had a great 
dread lest she should be forced to accept him as she had 
been forced to take CaUngford. 

But Lady Sallust was urgent, and when she saw he 
was moved by the relation of the girl's treatment at her 
stepmother's hands, she used all the force of it for 
argument. 

"It is really not only of you I am thinking ; the girl 
is evidently unhappy, and being kept practically in con- 
finement, one does not see her anywhere. I hear she is 
not even allowed in the Row." 

That was true, and Waldo knew it. But he did not 
know that he was the excuse. 

" There is no use you running after Lord Lyssons," 
Lcetitia said cruelly. "No decent man would look at you 
under the circumstances of your broken engagement ; 
your meddling in a gentleman's private affairs." 






60 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



compromise h-r Sh- wL "^ *"^ endeavouring to 

Honing after -him'' M^liL"7^^J ''''' ^^ ^-^ 
were both hurt ; her stTnmifj, ^"^5 ^"^ sensitiveness 
pttable things to whicK^"' "^'^ ^*"^^ *nd unf^ 
but which fere never wiffTT' ^^^^^^d hotjy 
spirits failed under tie trStmTn, ^'^ '^^'- hS 
she became glad to be Ji^ Tf ^® ^^ receiving 
room to esca^ oWrv^tioU "^'^ *" ^^"^^" ^ ^er^' 

took upon herself th7 Lv^^tlJ:'' f" neverthelei 
The failure of the ducal See h^ ''^f'^^S her. 
too to some extent, and ^e wliil"* T^^""^^ ^cetitia. 
visit with ingratiating warmSi f.Ti ,f ^^^ ^aUust's 
cu-cumlocution. she knew^h^' ^^ ^^"^* employed 
ear She spoke casuSy of^lanT.'n ^^ ^«*^*^'« 
habits ajd conditions, aVve^^wiril^ 

Banff IS a mushroom to wlw ^ °^ Waldo, 
one is :he ninth duk^^n^ the^tht''.^ T^ ^"°^- The 
-the earldom dates from iLe'V^^ I^^°*y-first earl 
count with you. but it SU^^ake a diS'* *^"* ^^^ 
It ? I understand the youn? D2>n^^ o '^^^^^'^ce. doesn't 
towards each other. orcoiSf^i^ ^* ^f^^y attracted 

suggest they should be given ^on^;f ^J^^ ^^y^' hut I 

Loetitia was attracted bvfhf PfP^^^^ty to meet." 
what httle she hrl l^n^of if ^' ^^^^^"gh she dishked 
wished to get the girl ^ her h'ands'^fr*?^ ^"^*''^- She 
her happiness, but to rid herSf of h^ ^'^'"''^ "^ ^^' 
made it clear that T^rri t "®^^" 01 her. Lady Sallust 
as Hairy 0^4^:^^^^ ^^^-^ would not comeVit^* 
^ 'He is attracted by^he^^^t^^^^^^^^ 
tunities to meet her to hecoL^.: ^^ "^^"^^ "^e oppor- 
^ This way of doL thSrw^'/''^'^"^*^^thh^." 
Lcetitia. She was ^genSnelv of T""'' '^' ^^" ^th 
more anyone saw of her ^flL. l^^ ^P*"^^" that the 
was to become att^h^^^^^^^^lt"' '^^^ i^ ^^^^^ ^^ 
however, because the gi^yZ\nt ^ ^ ^ '°^' 

S^i was an mcreasing vexation to 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



6i 



her, and such a marriage would leave her with no cause 
of self-reproach. 

She began to take Manuella out again, to entertain 
and be entertained ; the season was still very yoting. 
Lady Sallust begged her to keep the matter secret between 
them, to await events. But Lady Wagner only partially 
fell in with her view. Certainly she gave Manuella to 
understand that she was on probation with Lord Lyssons, 
that he was sorry for her, and wished to see if it were 
possible for him to replace the Duke. She managed to 
poison that intercourse to which she agreed. There 
was an ever-increasing awkwardness between them, the 
cause of which Waldo was for ever wondering. He 
feared they were putting pressure on her, although he 
had made no proposal. 

He was invited to lunch and to dinner at Stone House, 
stiff and formal meals, in which he had little opportunity 
for private talk. Only once he spoke to her of her engage- 
ment ; that was the day of the final tie of the Army Polo 
Cup at Ranelagh, about a fortnight after he had begun 
coming to the house. 

He lunched at Stone House and drove down with them 
afterwards in the motor. Lady Wagner made the third ; 
she was conscientious as a chaperone, perhaps additionally 
scrupulous because of that idea of hers that the less 
anyone saw of Manuella the more likely she was to retain 
his esteem. Waldo noticed Manuella was pale, and 
thought she had grown thin, too thin ; she looked de- 
pressed. He recalled the girl of the Channel crossing, 
and fotmd hardly a trace of resemblance. Loetitia wouM 
have said she had ' fined down," Waldo was vaguely 
uneasy. She had " fined down " to breaking-point. He 
disliked Lady Wagner even beyond her demerits. This 
afternoon, as he sat opposite to them both, and his future 
mother-in-law displayed her pleasing smile and talked 
about Society, he wanted to strangle her. 

It was a great day at Ranelagh. The King and Queen 
were coming, and the streets were lined with people, A. 
long string of conveyances impeded the Wagner progress ; 






62 



tt 



CONCERT PITCH *• 






they were nearly an hour getting into the gardens AU 
iSd St w H ''^'\^'^' ManueUa reSed paS 

^v atteLt^ "^ T*f ^ *° ^"°^ ^^^* *iled her. C 
any attempt he made to question her was frustrated 

by Lady Wagner's incessant pleasantry and s<kSi 3 ts 
She exercised them all for his benefit. She wa^^nS 
to know the value of the aUiance, one or two Sf 

?o,2^1r T^ "'"^f '' ^^^^"*- She was recovS 
£Ter tnntTSrUa "}? wT ^ ^"*^^"f ' 
tjmately evident that^Ztd no ^^itule^ ^onvS r. 
tion. and lacked the social sense. Loetitia fiU^ ud^ 
the gaps that Manuella's sUence left, and w2 extrf 

;""haf andfh"' ^' \^^ f f^^ dreL^'anTher^- 
^^n fnH ^^• "^^y. '^^ ^^^* ^^« ^^ improving the 

She would have been surprised if she had hearrf hi« 

i^'r 'pI' ^s;,:^'^- ^' '- '"^^ -- ^is^'s^th^ 

" I say can't we manage to lose her ? " 

Ihey did manage it. but not until much later aff^r 

^Z^f ^^'^ "^"*' ^* ^d watchS a dull 'iath 
when they were at tea together, and his endurance came 
suddenly to an end. Then Hamel. the flying SS ^1 
a diversion. Everyone rushed to the gromfd^ir? Ws 

h^Tratrmetet't/br .^^^^ ^-gnef d^^oro^^^^^^^^ 
ner seat at the tea-table, and wondered where thev were all 

out ^%IZ ^iT ' ■' "^ -"«'• ""» ""-y -- 

cn™I!i-^*"x^"*'' ^"swering smile and manner lacked 

.fv vP' ^ ^***® animation did she show, 
he asked hghUy. He did not expect an affirmative answer 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



65 



His heart contracted suddenly when he saw her hesitation ; 
contracted to pain. 

" Have I done or said anything to annoy you ? " 

" Oh, no, of course not," she spoke quickly. 

" I'm sure I have. You are quite different to me from 
what you used to be. We were going to be friends. ..." 

He spoke quickly, he was hurrying her out of the 
crowd, in the opposite direction to the place of the air- 
man's descent, but he was not too hurried to note the 
vagueness of her response, her unwillingness. 

" Ought we to be going away Uke this ? She has not 
anyone with her, and does not like being left alone. I 
don't think she has finished her tea. ..." 

" I don't know what she has done with her tea. But I 
know she has nearly finished me. Here we are. Never 
mind Hamel, let us watch the croquet, the hoops are 
quite in order," There were two chairs under a tree, 
the ground was deserted. " You need not talk, and 
for Heaven's sake don't be polite, or mark your periods, 
or speak the Queen's English. Be slangy, be vulgar, be 
an3^hing but refined, or pleasing, or agreeable. Heavens ! 
what a woman ! No wonder your father suffers from 
indigestion ! " 

He made her smile. It was then he asktd her again 
what had ailed her, or if she had taken a dislike to him. 
He knew she was no longer at ease with him, and he 
wanted to get back to the old footing. 

" I wonder what has become of that red blouse I saw you 
in first ? You wouldn't fill it out as well as you did then." 
He was eyeing her ; she thought he was finding fault. It 
was the fashion to find fault with her. 

" I've grown thinner." 

She always flushed easily, and if this time she flushed 
angrily he liked it better than her unnatural quiet. He 
began to tease her purposely, as he used, to call her 
" Alice in Shadowland," and complain that soon there 
would be nothing left but her smile. He said she was 
like the Cheshire cat, only with her it would be her large 
eyes that remained. He talked lightly, but his heart 



\ 



; 



«♦ 



" CONCERT PITCH •' 



met<Hfayi„SDl'Si^".i'."'?" "«■"• She told 
find you'; p^'; S!,^4?^ *»' ^'■^ «" «'-<! I should 
hte flamed out at that : 

must r. '""' *« ^S"' "" ™«. »<) thinks everyone else 

.!• '1^*"' 5""" ""o* I don't, not entireW I " ti, 

it was Hany JiSi A fortmght or so ago I thought 
isn-t me. ^anVSncf is k7 i *",»•""« >* *»• It 
"nh«PPy-" ' **" y°" to be so 

He^id'lfott:^''.?'?: "",">'■«• P"' '"^-J "0 daim. 
pressure^^^'hJ^"' *^ • "^ *"y P"""« f" potting 

h.r'^lSI ^^rTttlfs^ifi''.-* *-* W"" to Pity 
him festered in heT ^^e was on probaton " with 

sho^*" is nothing the matter with me." she said 

" And you have not taken a dislike fo «,« 5 -r 

tailor a^gili'L"' *^"^ ' ""^^ '» ^ "V 

u ^ypne put you against me ? " 
Wo. 

you^VSrSTtXe^^ho"""' "^ ""y ^'»»«- "' 
ie way . . ." ^ "* *"" y™ «°t rid of him. by 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



65 



She could not bear to speak of it. Her stepmother 
said she had behaved in an unladylike manner. She felt 
wildly the possibility that Lord Lyssons thought so. too, 
and more wildly that, perhaps, he had things like this 
in his own Ufe, women. He wanted perhaps to know if 
she minded. It was hateful, hateful of him. He was 
trying to find out if he liked her well enough to marry 
her. She did not want to marry him or anybody. At 
that moment she thought she did not even like him any 
more. 

But she changed her mind just as suddenly when he 
put his hand over hers and spoke softly : 

" Never mind, I was only teasing, I don't want to 
know. I am sure you were more than right. Do you 
think I ought to have told you, given you a hint ? Is 
that why you are angry with me ? I wanted to do it, 
but I couldn't. You might have thought I was speaking 
in my own interests." 

Sli^ looked at him quickly, and he saw in her surprised 
eyes that she had never even suspected such a thing. 
He answered the surprise in her eyes with something very 
like complete candour. 

" Well, it came to that, it very nearly came to that— 
that evening at the fancy-dress ball. I suppose you don't 
happen to remember how beautiful you looked, and how 
unhappy. Why don't you begin to look happy ? You are 
free now." His liand tightened over hers and he went 
on : " You know you are absolutely free, don't you ? It 
is going to be just as you like ; they have not told you 
differently, have they? I am half a hundred years too 
old for you. . . ." 

" Oh, no I " she exclaimed impulsively, then flushed 
and wished she had not said it. He kept his hand over 
hers. 

" You are sure I am not too old," he said gently. 

She had no way of answering him, nor knowledge of 
what she might say. She did not care how old he was, 
nor had she ever given his age a thought. 

" It's only because you pity me." 

5 



nn^gi^ 






66 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



He had not said 



" I'm not talking TOu^e!''?"!;' '"""""M. 
OTOr. Be fair to to.'^ ' ' '"™ "'"" ««"«<» you 

S^rt"SH"SH?^"^^^°»<> "^^ 
Hi,hand?A?:vX°i„ti„T^' into the ?S^ 
^^I taow .t « only became yo/^^ „.,• ,^ ^, 

,. J^"" ?»n « really want me " 

•■ S'^ttok'^J^'X"; •"• fjrf"" whimaically. 
sre." ^ «* «we gomg to be friends ; you Ld we 



were. 
"I 



«^"VTi ^.S'^l^-*. am I? You 
day. ■ Oh, no X V *,n-,^^' Pohce<ourt the other 
more like a tt^kd fta^ a • Jb^H™ "T* "l'"*"" ' '''= 
You « not going to^ hS •: ^"»' *""k « «»«'. 

almost unT^Ls^b^S"™* ^'' "»'•'« »<J -l-ietly. 

«^'m*l'Sn'^St«<^^>- --^-t "^^-O *•«* s<« 
of them spoke for o?iff?i^ "^ ''"''"y- Neither 
his hand ftST h^' iSd t^ '?«. 1™ • ""«> >» *<«k 
happening in fS oT th^ 4L"^ ^^^^^ »' «J»« «» 
descent was over and ^^ e'jatement of Hamel's 

in twos and tS Sd h'S^f muT ^'^ "'*' "» ^^^ 
nallets in hand, took tl^lr plSs^^"" ""^ Payers, 

^^. tTa?1iir,r^> "»«" 'o •» » 

si« to one on the man «^ th^o""* *»"* "• I'" iay 
deadly eamestn^^„ri? "« Manama hat ; there is i 

a touiSS^ "'"°* ■""'• I-ok at his chin ; he h4 



" CONCERT PITCH ** 67 

Before he got through what he had to say about the 
croquet, Lady Wagner sailed in sight. 

" Oh I there you are. I have been looking everywhere 
for you. The King and Queen are just going ; we ought 
to be moving too. You know we have the opera to-night, 
and the reception at the Foreign Office." 

Other people joined them, and there was talk of the 
polo, the flying, the croquet. They did not speak again 
to each other. He excused himself from driving back 
with them, and Manuella was glad of it. She felt very 
agitated, excited ; he seemed to have told her something 
strange, new, wonderful, incredible, something that made 
her pulses beat irregularly. She drove back in absolute 
silence, feeling no resentment when Loetitia said icily : 

" It is a pity you lack spri(,htliness, aplomb. 1 fear 
Lord Lyssons considers you but a poor companion, and 
prefers to seek more agreeable, more lively, society. I do 
my best, but you give me no assistance — no assistance at 
all, when I try to <&aw you into the conversation." 



r 



5* 



. 



CHAPTER VI 



IF during the days that followed Manuella was in a 
tumult of veelings, and understood none of them, 
LoBtitia's vigilant chaperonage may have been partly 
responsible. Waldo thought he had told her what he 
had to say, and that she would make up her mind in 
due time ; he had promised she should not be pressed 
or hurried. For himself he was content to wait, more 
than content. He cancelled his passage to Nigeria, and 
took rooms in the " Albany." He was living in them 
when the great entertainment took place at Stone House. 
Even in those days of elaborate entertainments, lavish 
expenditure on flowers and food, on music and the 
engagement of great artists, the reception given at Stone 
House was spoken of as promising to be unique. It was 
the Wagners' first season in Stone House, and Loetitia 
meant to make it memorable. Although she had hoped 
for a ducal alliance for her stepdaughter, she was be- 
coming satisfied with the one in sight. 

Stone House, thrown open for the first time on this 
occasion, and resplendent, was found to have had all 
the embelKshment lavished upon it that the imagination 
of the most glorfied upholsterer, with Sir Hubert's banking 
account to enhven it, could ontrive. The hall was of 
blue marble, enriched with golden mouldings. From 
luted columns of this same marble, drawn from a quarry 
South America, exploited for the purpose, and new 

68 






" CONCERT PITCH " 



«9 



to the eognoscenii, the great staircase rose, leading to 
billiard-room, banqueting-hall and pcture-gallery. 

The banqueting-hall was of cedar wood and silver, the 
design of the ceiling copied from one of the rooms in the 
Doge's Palace in Venice. Cunning employ :ju at of electric 
light turned the silver to rose grey, and silver and rose 
deepened in the tone of the carpet, specially woven for 
the hall. Lady Wagner would, of en use, liave preferred 
gold to silver in the enrichment of the ceiling, but yielded 
to expert advice. 

On this great night thirty people, iimoni» whom was 
Lord Lyssons, sat down to dinner under the cedar and 
silver ceiling. A prince of the blood sat by Lfctitia'!* side. 
He was only Prince Basil Francis of HelsUg-vScholstein, 
but to Loetitia it was sufficient that he was Royalty. He 
was known to be musical, and the concert after the 
dinner had been arranged for his edification. The know- 
ledge of how much money it was to cost, that every 
performer was a star, sustained Loetitia through the 
dinner. 

Prince Basil Francis of Helstig-Scholstein was very poor, 
and unusually stupid, even for a prince. He did not 
know why he was here, but, then, he very seldom knew 
why he was an3rwhere. Nevertheless, he said the right 
things to his hostess ; he had said them so often before 
that they came quite easily to him. It was unfortunate 
that it was June, and there were no luxuries out of season. 
A year ago, in March, in their hired house in St. James's 
Square, when the American Ambassador dined with them, 
there had been, to ecUpse the freak dinners of fable or 
America, an immense effort made to induce a couple of 
tame plovers to lay prematurely, and apparently the 
Wagner money had proved too great a temptation. 

But to-night there was no eccentricity, wiser counsels 
having prevailed. Of course, the asparagus was of the 
giant variety, the strawberries forced British Queens, and 
the wines of unexceptionable vintage. The Prince's 
appetite was Ukewise remarkable, kolossal, in the language of 
his Fatherland. He even asked, and Loetitia looked upon 



t 



TO 



** CONCERT PITCH » 



I 
ill 



mi 



it as a command, that one dish—canari with a mnu^.^^ ^4 

Sa! ! ' n ^^'^^^ surprised. She had a vague f^^ 
that a smaU appetite was a sign of good birth. ^ 

case fn i^r ?' '*^^ ^* *^" *^^*^ °^ *^ splendid stair- 
S^ric ^^y s^*^" a"d Crey wig, diamond tiSra. immen^ 
pearfe. and digmty. to receive the guests that were^^ 
coulH n T^"^ ^ncl supper. The?e was no c^h^thSf 
could not be a crush in Stone House-but everyone who 
was anyone came. The Duke and Duchess of fttiTi^ 
SuS^' TajL^^?;;' ^ ^^^^elS-ISHono^at^ 

a r«?. Si^l\ "^f ^^"§ *^^^ *"^ the reputation of 
a poet , Lord Chetwode. with neither hair nor reoutation 
Lords and Ladies; the Inchestres. the Th^i dZ' 
te«^ and dowagers, old stagers and young. W 1m^" 
f^^^at finding themselvS here, ^d sSd s^ di^st 
under the eyes of their hostess. As a matter of fact one 

ndv^T,^;""^.*^^"**^^^^' theyw*^elr^ p 
\^tl ^f "l* T^'"Sr the bell-wether. The engLment 

was not yet announced, but it was in the air. ManuX 
was by her stepmother's side at the top of th^ sta^ 

The picture-gallery was even more superb t£n the 
banqueting haU ; the very waUs were gold and golden 

cSrm tT'^ ''^''^ ' '"^y *h^ ^^'^ brik^the^SS 
^r^'h ^l^tL^ere reputed old masters, and prodiXS 

^r^n'. *^" P?^ ^°' *h^"^- Here the blSe of^?^ 
CWw". h!?"^" Tu^^^ *^' ^y^' ^"d there the gold of the 
S? fh.^° ?"*'^°"' *^" «^^1^ «^ ^^ and ceLg. But 
for the m(^t part, it was the frames that stood out 
conspicuously upon the walls. ^ 

To-night there was a platform, with foothghts and a 

h^^r:^^'^:o:r'^'''''''f''^' Powdefedfoot^n 
^^1? i programmes. An arm-chair rilded anH 

SSeTm l^FTt^ ''' *^^ ^"«^' -^ -^'^^ar ^e 
beside him for Lady Wagner. AU the chairs were gilded 

fiL/ni V ™t,*^^ dinner-table, had some difficulty k 
finding Manuella among the crowd. He whisp^d to hS 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



71 



in a ribald manner that a bed or sofa would be better 
than a chair for Prince Basil Francis. 

"He is somnolent with satiety and champagne. I bet 
you half a dozen pairs of gloves he is asleep before the 
Trio." 

It was by the Prince's wish that the Tschaikowsky 
" Trio " was to be played. Lyssons had laughed when 
he heard this, for the intimation of His Highness's wishes 
had come from the impresario who arranged the concert. 

The " Trio " was the most incongruous item on that 
satin programme, which in itself was even more amazing 
than the distinguished names impUed ; not a number 
cost less than three figures, and it was rumoured that 
the " Trio " ran into four ! Certainly Steinhault was 
playing, and he had never before been heard in a private 
house in England. 

It was to be performed after supper. This had been 
arranged with the view of keeping the Prince in Stone 
House as long as possible. People would be coming and 
going all the time, and Loetitia wished that everyone 
should see him there. Here is the programme. Its 
significance Mrill be seen later. 



PART 1 

1. Pianoforte Solo Barcarolle 

PAUL STEINHAULT. 

2. Song " Un bel di vedremo " 

(Madame Butterfly) 

MADAME LIEBIUS. 



Chopin. 



Puccini. 



3. Dance MADAME PALESTRINA. 

(By the courtesy of the Manager of the Paladin Theatre.) 

4. Recitation from "LaGlu" Jean Richepin 

M.\DAME EUNICE D'ARTAVE. 



t. Sea Pictures 



PART II 

(a) •• Where Corals lie " 
(6) "The Raven" 

MADAME JULIE LADD, 



Elgar. 



i 



72 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



and ISIDOR VESCI. '""'^"^^T 

3. Song " SI, mi chiamano MimJ " (La BoWme) Puccini 

MADAME LIEBIUS. 

4. VioUn Solo Introduction and Rondo 

Capriccioso Saint- Sai«ns 

HERR ZEISLIG. ' 

previously sung together t{T^2 ^^"^ 

teW J'^"*"""' ''*"' Steinhault is the pianist 

m^ ^?''- '^"S'r *» *« ^«y latest a»da,Srta 
musical cnticism, Paderewsld is a mere amafenr »n3 
Rnbenstein was but a Mnkler on the Sw Th!. t^' i^ 

were lound for lesser people ; there was a mc+u «* 
Your Highness. Ladies and Gentlemen 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



73 



How lovingly he adjusted the strings, caressing them 
almost I Under his fat, stumpy fingers he music danced 
and sang, cried and laughed I'ghtly. What a genius the 
man was ! The Prince said so, and led the applause. 

Lord Lyssons was not musical, and to-night he could 
think of nothing but Manuella. In truth, she looked 
beautiful ; on her slender girlish neck the lovely-shaped 
head, with its coronal of dark hair, rose gracefully. She 
had Uttle colovir, and even her hps seemed pale ; but 
without colour her contoius seemed more exquisite, the 
small cleft chin, the thin bow mouth, the delicate nose. 
The lashes Jay shadowy on her ivory cheeks, underneath 
them her ej'es were Uke stcM-m-haunted pools. 

" You cau>'t want to listen ; come away and talk.' 

" Can't want to listen ! Why, it's Zeislig 1 " 

Manuella loved music ; once — a thousand years ago 
it seemed now — she had wanted to be a great singer. At 
Fontainebleau her singing master said she had a wonder- 
ful voice It was, however, not only because she was 
musical, and wanted to hear, not merely Zeislig, but 
Madame Liebius and Julie Ladd, that she stayed where 
she was. 

An extraordinary shyness of Lord L5^ssons had come 
upon her now, she was for ever conscious of him, of his 
presence in a room, his presence in her thoughts ; but 
she evaded the knowledge that was knocking at her 
heart. 

Supper was served at small tables between the two parts 
of the concert. Now everybody was eating lobster in 
aspic, quail or trufifled chickens, drinking champagne or 
hock ; there was a rattle of glasses and plates, with the 
hum and buzz of talking. It was perhaps only Waldo 
who noted a man approach and whisper something in 
Sir Hubert's ear. Manuella was at her father's table with 
the wizened ambassador who stood next to the Prince 
in distinction, and where Manuella sat or stood, there 
were Lord Lyssons' eyes. 

Sir Hubert, for once forsaking regime., was eatine and 
drinking hke an ordinary human being, talking, too, and 



74 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



„ Anything the matter ? " he asked. 

I U call It what you like." 
.. Let me go, I must do what father wants " 
- aS°^ "*** *° ***^® a word, then ? " 
^^^ After supper; after I've seen what is to be done; 

talk^io vnn f* """^ °^ y°." ^"" ^^y' s«e if I don't, ru 
thWtv^J^^ °' twenty-four hours without stopping- 
inirty-suc if you are not good " "^"PP^ig 

S mfe^ teao'"h^'''''^f "«• .^' "-y moment „o^ 
illu:i„?|^*,L'e^ to brother"" h' *°''' ."'^ «'^"'- 

any moment Ct .L^^' ^"^ ^^ "^'6^* ^^^^^ it at 
«"V *"uinenr. But she was ■sq voup" H*^ — >«' i j, jj 

bear that she rfiould hum.' ^^' "^ ^^"^^^ 



" CONCERT PITCH *" 



75 



" Champagne, my lord ? " He found himself sitting in 
her vacant place beside Sir Hubert. 

" In a tumbler, and a large piece of ice. Glad to see 
for once that you are indulging," he said to his future 
father-in-law. 

Sir Hubert surveyed his tnrfSed chicken gloomily. 
" I expect I shall have to pay for it in the morning," 
he said. " My only possible chance was ii my mind had 
been undisturbed whilst I ale and drank. Now comes 
this news. I'm sure I don't know why Steinhauit hasn't 
come. I gave him his own terms. I shall be ill to-morrow, 
very ill." 

" Perhaps not. And, if so. it will be in a good cause," 
Waldo answered cheerfully. " I should go a mucker 
if I were you, since you have started — ^lobster, quail, 
peaches, and a bottle or two to top up with. You may 
as well be hung for a P6rigord pie as a lamb cutlet, as the 
old proverb says. As for the programme or any altera- 
tion, what's the odds ? Nobody listens to music after 
supper." 

" The Prince wanted to hear Steinhauit and 2Jeislig 
together," Sir Hubert reiterated irritably. " Manuella 
wUl have to see that a motor is sent for him." 

He was, however, very much inclined to take Lord 
Lyssons' advice, since it was certain he would be ill 
anyway. 

" I've heard that music has sometimes a very extra- 
ordinary effect on the digestion ; they have been making 
experinients — you've heard about them. I suppose ? " 
Waldo supped to an obbligato of medical dc^^ails. 






li 



CHAPTER VII 

must be remembeVfd thof .1!^' ^^"^"a paused. It 
had been pSsTS Ge^^I ^' ?'^*'' P^^* °^ i»«r youth 
is understC! rrve?ed S.^^^^^'nusic *^^^ ^^^ home. 

For a short tiiie never fo^/' ^^ ^^^^^^«s homage, 
couraged toZveth-l i°>/°^e^°"en. she had been en- 
artist Tremulous days h.'d ^' "l'^^' °°^ day be an 
that music opene? ^7kerL^?u ^f' ^^^ '^' ^"^^ 
speaks, had eVir been ench^p/^ J^"?'^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ 
days she had heard the v!S* ^^f ^"^^« childhood's 
dappled sward throS'hT' -^ ^^^' ^^ dairies on 
Oriheus had played to ht inS"^ ''''i ^^ «"«"gl»t 
had been thunder an H h!L • • ^'''■^- Sometimes there 
and then it was thTlnf ^^ '"/^^* enchanted land. 

herdreamfal^e.^dlTe",:^^^^ k^" *^^^ -- ^- 
one day, not six monthral at p-'^L'^^^ ""til 

sung to Monsieur Lausa^i wH^ f Fontamebleau she had 
and who had SclareTThlt W v"^^^ ''"^^ *^« ^^ ^^ass. 
she must be an Trtlt ? Tw ?t!^^ "^^^ wonderful, and 
teaching. o^SLh Ws IZT^'^' °^ ^^'^^^^"^ ^auWn's 
the sunS;ionsTmeTheTmnf ^r"""' '^'^''^^^^' and then 
It seemed so long ago ^^ZlT'lT^'^'y ^""^°^^"«- 
ever hoped to be a Inger. ' ^"^P^^^le she could have 

It aU rushed back to her. those t^r»u^ a 
*ea™, as she s.ood at ^'^AiTt^r.^^ 

76 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



n 



almost afraid to enter. Zeislig and Liebius and Vesd 
were there. Something from the past, some reverence 
or memory, made the intake of her breath quick, and 
she hesitated on the threshold. 

She saw Zeislig first — 2Jeislig, whom she had heard 
in Germany, and idealized, with whom she and all her 
schoolfellows had said they were in love. He had been a 
doctor and then a soldier, they were told, but always a 
genius. She would have liked to make a reverence to 
him ; she hardly dared to look him in the face. That 
little fiddle he carried, how she had heard it speak and 
sing ! There was no one like Zeislig. Again she was in 
that big hall in Dresden ; the girls in their white dresses, 
tier upon tier of silent people, then his figure on the plat- 
form, the awkward figure ; the violin timing and scraping, 
and then . . . then . , . such music as she had never 
heard, only dreamed ... It was really an obeisance 
she made to Zeislig, and not a formal bow. They 
saw it, those artists, and their hearts went out to 
her. 

At first it seemed as if all who were in the room were 
talking at once, and she could not make out what was 
being said. Zeislig was the calmest ; he was not satisfied 
with one of his strings, and tried it with his finger-nail, 
and then again, testing the strings all the time the others 
talked. But Isidor Vesci was vociferous and excitable, 
and Flockmann, who had engaged the artists for the 
concert, and represented the firm that had engaged 
them, was full of explanations and apologies, and could 
have made matters clear to her if Vesci had not screamed 
him down. 
Zeislig said quickly, as if to himself or his bow : 
" But Uke this they will never make her understand." 
And although the explanations, half in Italian, and 
all in chorus, rose and rose again, it was a few minutes 
before she Imew what had happened ; that Steinhault, 
the great Steinhault, had not only not come, he had 
neitto" wired, nor written, nor telephoned ! Nothing 
had been heard of him since he had accepted the 



gil« 



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" CONCERT PITCH " 



Vesci was gesticulative and violent Ha i««„i^ 

«T f^^"" r^' n ^"^'' » ""cSmo such an"::'4„"<:* 

guinm for his complaisance. He iaidtel^?„l,h'?'"' 
tt"'.".'' '"""^'^ «"«'^' -ho had rtlt toe r f aT 

h^ .^ Ik ^°' ^' *«* convinced that SteiShault 
had seen the programmfc, the indefensible pr-^ra^imf^d 

nriJ. Sreat Slemhault to conunence a millionai^ 
private concert I so he abused Flockmann """'*"*"' ' 

Jm ™tlW Ttt ^^ " '-"yo^ein the artists' 
nf «!._ 'aiang at the same moment, and that most 
of them were saymg the same thing: only zS ™„f 
on adjustmg his strings, humming a Utile ™d J hk LTh 
Md a vul^ American woman-Manuella T^i S eSs 
otn*San"^the^Srrt ^"^ '""^^ „- ™-S 
^ven Without Stl^ha'.^?'t{^V^l J^d '^^l^l^ 

S s^^fof-^""?™- ''^'''^ "■'' -^ °* S^ "tt^ 
£ngrieTeJ SS^C^es^aT^i^ri' '^^'Lf ^ ' '^ 
his d^eveU«l hair. and*las IlitS^t^^t hS^'JIe 

iJcbius in her song. Manuella rememb^ed his h^ 
That was aU she had seen of haa. aith^h^^ 
muacian enough to recognize how fiie^^fccom^a^ 
Madame Liebras had secured • how ««i«v h^? fi^ 
caressed the keys, how the pi^no^S t.^" 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



79 



and falling with the voice, just as an accompaniment 
should rise and fall, deepening values, adding richness, 
never obtrusive, always subordinate. 

She had noticed vaguely that it was a fine and massive 
head, crowned with hair the colour of ripened corn. Now, 
but equally vaguely, she was surprised to see how young 
he was, little more than a boy. His small ears lay flat, 
his shoulders were a little bowed, his eyes were on the 
keys. 

She wished all the others were not talking at once. 
Flockmann and Vesc>, ignoring her, were still shouting 
at each other. Only Zeislig played with his fiddle, and 
the young man at the piano touched a note now and again 
in accidental harmony. When the confusion was at its 
height, and she felt her inteUigence and capacity drowning 
in the noise, he ceased fingering the piano, and swung 
himself round on the stool. She became conscious he was 
speaking to her, softly, under cover of the noise. 

" I saw you in the audience, did I not ? When I was 
playing ' Un bel di vedremo ' ? You love music, I saw. 
After that I played it for you." 

" For me ! " 

" But, of course. Now I want to play the Tschaikowsky 
Trio for you. Will you tell them to cease wrangling, 
cease talking, and I will play ? If you would tell them 
that. ..." 

For the moment she was uncertain how to answer 
him ; she hesitated, not knowing him, nor the etiquette 
of the occasion. 

" But certainly I can play it," he said earnestly, mis- 
reading her hesitation. 

As he looked at her she saw that his eyes were blue, 
and in the middle of each of them was a strange Ught ; 
afterwards she knew it was the light of genius. Even 
now she saw that it was not self-confidence that lit them, 
for that is a small and feeble thing ; they were compelling 
eyes, double-irised, strange. 

" I can play it for them, no one better ; only Steisihault 
can play it as weii as I,'^ 



8o 



" CONCERT PITCH ** 



"?'; 



«;»?i^ • • • "^^^^ • • . what shaU I teU them ? " 
She moved nearer the piano, by now the dispute between 

h^d^h.r'!*r' iT' t"^ '"^^^ vociferouf^d no^e 
heeded her. although they knew she was here to assZeTt 

with^the,!!!''™ ^'* "*"'"" ^^«°"^ ^^ P»*y *hrTrio 
;; Wm they know ... will they be satisfied ? " 

here Z^ Z^ZJ^'^'Tl. ^'^ ^^"^^ ^i^^ius 
Mtitfi^H T ^."* .**»ey will be satisfied, completely 

, /^: ^°^J ^* do«s not matter what thev sav • aft«.r 
wards they wUl be glad." ^ ^ ' *®'^' 

It was a strange, a difficult position for her How 

r'iwer'^h' Z^ ' .-^^ ^F^^ imprSsed her ^^h 
Tb^ twn^r *^ ^°"r^*»°"- He was little more than 
a boy, two or three-and-twenty at the most His far^ 

sculped hnes. Her hesitation was not shared by him. 

" Herr Zeislig, Signor Vesci." 

She held up her hand to ask for silence, but she was 
B^^' I^VT^"^^' " P^^^^P^ «he had the riTt 

^e« iv^ w ♦K ^^"6^*^^ <i^st Vesci. and then the 
otliers. gave her the opportunity she asked. 

1 want you to aUow ... will you aUow this centle- 

man to pay the pianoforte part in the Trio in^ He^ 

Stemhault's place ? It is Signor Harston Migotti. " 

There fell a httle doubtful hush over them, ^d ii ;as 

" Migotti ? " 
" Migotti ? " 

fac^g" """ ^'""^ *^' '*^^' ^' ^^« «6^«y o» it' 

her ^sL'hS'^'/*?" "' Englishman." he corrected 
her. She had made the opportunity, and now he spoke 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



8i 



for himself. " Since Steinhault. who was my master, is 
not here, I will play the Trio, if you care that I shall." 
He spoke confidently, and, although he said he was an 
Enghshman, there was something foreign in the inflexion 
of his voice. 

It was a difficult, and, in some ways, an embarrassing 
position for the girl. Zeislig looked at her inquiringly, 
then he turned to the boy at the piano. Vesci continued 
to talk fuiiously, and Flockmann seemed too astonished 
for speech. 

" I have never heard of you," he said, after a pause. 

Migotti shrugged his shoulders. 

" No ? " he said laconically ; and for no apparent 
reason he smiled again at Manuella, as if she, too, must 
be amused at that. 

■' Where have you played ? You have never been 
heard. ..." 

" Nevertheless, I can play the Trio." 

He rose now, and one saw that the promise of the head 
was not quite carried out by the figure. Like SSeislig's, 
it was a little clumsy, loose, not well-knit, his clothes 
were ill-fitting. 

" Would I say it if it were not true ? In ten minutes 
you would know. I will play it, but only if Herr Zeislig 
and Signor Vesci are content, and Mademoiselle wishes 
it." He was certainly not pleading. " It is for you I 
will play it," he said again to Manuella. 

Now it seemed that Zeislig was listening to him. And 
Zeislig, moved one knows not by what impulse — the girl's 
doubting eyes, the boy with his Beethoven head, convic- 
tion, indifference, or merely in contradiction of Vesci's 
wife, who continued to scream that only a Steinhault, 
a Paderewski, or a Bauer could play with Vesci — said, 
quite laconically, as he took out a new string : 

" Let him play ; I will play with him." 

Vesci's face was a study. Flockmann threw up his 
hands. Migotti sat down again on the piano-stool, and 
Zeislig, after another glance at him, continued to tune his 
violin. 

6 



MOOCOPY RESOIUTION TEST CHART 

(ANSI and ISO TEST CHART No. 2) 




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1653 Eosl Main Street 

Roctiester. New York 14609 USA 

(716) 482 -0300- Phone 

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82 



« 



CONCERT PITCH " 



^yhen Manuella left the artists' room she became 
again uncertain of the wisdom of what she had done 

10 Lord Lyssons. to whom she voiced her doubts 
It appeared of httle consequence either way She told 
Jum how good-looking the boy was. and that he had a 
true musician's head. He rallied he; about hhn LdiiS 

u^n h^ '"^^' ^^^ °^^^" ^ ^^^* iSipression 

J'^'J!'^ r^t!^ ^^'^^ hecavise of Zeislig. it would be 
U^S^i^lciiLT''^"*^"^ Perhaps I oifght to hav^e^ 
<,hJj^^^ ^° ^? downstairs and have a smoke, but I 
Dif vn^y r Ti'^^' ^'^ ^"PP°^ y°" i^ th^^e is a fiasco. 
S^LT? ^y/^°"^^ °^ J"ii"s C^sar. Beethoven or 
:>vengah ? Tell me some more about your find " 

the ca^Srftt ^'' "^^^^ ^* ^''^' ^"* ^^""^ ^thin himself 
tn w? ^ ^'''' ^^"""'y • *^^S her to come away, not 
to bother any more about the concert. ^ 

He has one of the most beautiful faces I have ever 
seen. 

^He^uld not get her away from the subject, or from 

see m^ h'i ^^ ' ^5 ^f^^-"^^ *° ^*^^ ^^ere he could 
see me, he said he would play it to me " 

If U*^rf^ T^"" ^'^^ °' ^^^^ ^°^' Waldo stayed, 
iiffi i! X "°* ^ ^*^® ^^ reasonless jealousy it was 
d^^ult to say why he resented her Lterest^ S the 

Prince Basil Francis had eaten to repletion and was 
leaymg, as Lady Wagner had feared. ^^ 

zeis^?'hf:Sd' ''"' '' p^^^ ^^^^ ^ --* ^- 

sn^L.i'^'^^ u^^^"" ^°"^^ "°* congratulate herself 

TT^ Pnnce said there was no one Uke him ; he often heard 
him m Darmstadt. Lady Wagner, holding on to her 
decorum with both hands, bemused at the sL^s of her 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



83 



party, and in the prim intoxication with her position, 
could not remember what instrument Zeislig played, or if 
he perhaps danced, or sang in a "new ditty" every 
evening. That was a most improper suggestion that some 
one had made about an artiste, a " nudity " every 
evening ! In her nervousness she had almost repeated 
the jest to the Prince, but recollected herself in time. 
Her satin programme told her Zeislig was the name of the 
violinist. Of course, they would never have engaged 
two dancers for an evening. 

Lady Wagner, back in her upholstered chair by the 
side of the insignificant Prince, waited to see what was 
going to happen on the stage. She heard there had been 
a disappointment about the Trio, and hoped that in 
its place someone would sing an EngUsh song, such as 
" She wore a Wreath of Roses," or " The Better Land." 
Her extra glass of champagne, or the society of the Prince, 
had mounted to her head. Her nose was a little pink under 
the diamond tiara, and she felt sentimental. 

Prince Basil Francis thought she was a bore. He said 
if she wished to be vdth her other guests, perhaps Miss 
Wagner would take her place ; she was not to feel tied. 
He had an eye for a pretty girl, and sometimes wished 
modem German ideas admitted the provision of a harem 
for the younger sons of the royal house. Nevertheless, 
he had done very well without such provision. He was a 
httle sleepy from his good supper, following so closely on 
his good dmner. But 2^islig was always «.orth hearing. 

" Let them begin. Why do they not begin ? " he asked, 
and added, hardly concealing a yawn, that it was 
getting late. 

Everybody knew Zeislig and Vesci. Steinhault, apart 
from his reputation, was personally a stranger to England. 
No one suspected there was a substitute at the piano, 
although many thought he looked young, so much youngec 
than seemed possible. Manuella, when the tuning and the 
adjustment of the piano-stool came to an end, found 
herself near to the platform. She stood, as she had 
promised, where the young pianist couid see her. She was 

6* 



i^ 



m 



84 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



111 



extraordinarily eager that he should succeed. Waldo 
was struck by her expression. 

He thought he had never seen her look so he 
could not find the exact word, but " exalteP wS the 
hlT-L^^ could supply. Her eyes were as lamps that 

he kis^H w u^^t" '"""^ '^f^*^y ^"*° ^^' ^^eeks when 
he kissed her. Her hps were a little parted. Expectancy I 

thf ^^^"tJPP^^"^*^ ^''* °" *^® platform to arrange 
itTvJ^ for%t A' 'u'"*r ^"^ ^^" *° *^"^ «ver the 
f^^j L^^^*"^"^!.' ""^ ^°"'^^' ^« would not do that 
for this boy, this Migotti. whoever he might be about 

ct^n^H"^^'."^*'"^' '' "°* contemptSus. ZetSg 
^Ic^ Stradivanus, came in after the 'ceUo had 
t^v S : ^Ti' ^"S'g^ficant. apeUke in his ugliness 

wlv?' r*^ "° ^'^^^^ °^ nervousness, followed the others 
foijot to bow to the company, took his seat at the iJano 

whlir'w'l'^ love were inseparable in that wild heart 
^^nZ'^^^'^^r f ^ ™ ^ m-egulated ; she st<^ 

St h!^ r. """^ '•* "^^ ^^°^"^ t° ^«^- All that evening 
Wf H f <=o;?scious of a strange excitement ; Waldo's 

?^A /" -^^^ ^1^"^^ ^^^^ ^^^ the same thriU as s^t 
trees, dancmg elves and fairies in dreamland. And ^ 
m a moment, as they began to play, her heart vSs more 
tumultuous ; the sough of the wind'^in the tr^ c^Tto 

td4 thrj""'^^^.* ^^ '^^^°" S^°"^"g the^Ird! 

ci,^ ^®y^ ^^ if^««"s were melody. 

bhe drew nearer to the platform, leaning against the 
great pahn at the end of the bank of flowed ItWi not 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



8. 



of Harston Migotti she was thinking, the boy at the 
piano, who, when the first movement was finished, forgot 
to acknowledge the plaudits. Lord Lyssons misread her 
expression ; she was listening, it was true, but she 
was unconscious of the performers, not unconscious 
of Waldo's eyes, although she avoided them. She had 
promised to talk with him after supper ; this music 
was the prelude to their talk. 

Zeislig and Vesci bowed in acknowledgment of the 
applause, but the boy kept his place unmoved. He 
had only looked up with that transfiguring light upon 
his face, and smiled into her eyes. Lord Lyssons saw it, 
to Manuella it was quite impersonal. There was no 
question in Migotti's eyes, only assurance, and a smile was 
about his lips. It is true they were like Beethoven's— 
well-cut, a little thick, firm in his hairless yoimg face. 
Zeisl' looked at him and nodded his head, sa3dng a word 
imde. his breath. 

Now the second movement began, the rich variations 
of the second movement. In the first the violin had sung 
and danced, and the 'cello had been the wind in the trees ; 
the piano was only then an undercurrent, as moving 
waters lapping, water falling, moving waters that might 
swell to flood. But in the second part, in those wonderful 
variations, the piano led the 'cello, and the violin was 
only a beam that danced upon the waters . . . the "^r 
changed and changed, but always it was the deep notes 
of the piano that swelled triumphantly, and dominated 
each movement. Now their eyes met, not hers and 
Waldo's, but the eyes of the boy who played, and the girl 
who listened. And after that it was upon her heart he 
played. She did not know what had happened, nor what 
barriers were being thrown down. Only that all the 
barriers were down, and there was nothing between her 
and music. There were mysteries, and he at the piano 
knew them. They were falling like water from his 
fingers, and the melody he was pouring into her heart 
was greater than she could bear, and yet she knew she 
could never again bear to be without it. It was ecstasy. 



86 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



J Si' 



If: 



It ' ^ passion torn to tatters, it was beyond her strength 
It y :s beyond human endurance. And then, when she 
had gone so pale that Waldo, watchii g. thought she would 
tamt. the movement changed again, into melancholy; 
melancholy mto majesty. The end. the end of evenr- 
thmg was commg; the end of everything had come- 
his fingers crashed upon the keys. 

There was a moment's hush before the applause fol- 
ZH iu ^ tf^** picture-gallery was half empty now ; 
only those who reaUy cared for music had stayed to hear 
tne ino. Pnnce Basil Francis, notwithstanding Loetitia's 
deference to hrni. was a very minor royalty, and not one 
for whom It was necessary to wait. They had gone out 
one by one. m pairs and ^oups. without taking leave of 
their hostess. Those who remained had been speU- 
bound. not as Manuella was perhaps, but as connoisseurs, 
critics. 

Prince Basil Francis forgot both his rank and his 
supper ; he applauded with hands and feet and stentorian 

Jr*; J?'*'*'- ^r^^ ^^^ ^« ^^^^ the Tho played Hke 
Jiat before. Never would it be played to him again as 
It was played that night. ^ 

''Kolossal I kdossal ! " he said. " Bravi I Bravi ! " 
He rose from his gilded chair ; he called to Zeislig above 
the mtervenmg bank of flowers and spoke to him in 

S^^. ^'^% ^^^ ^^ ^^ ^^* *°g«**^e^' gave that 
stiff httle bow of his. and answered in the same language. 
Then, great man groat genius that he was. he went b^k 

Hie K 15"' *° *^.® ^7 ^* *^^ P^a°°' Pitting a hand upon 
his shoulder, urging him. He was unwiUing. but ZeiS^g 
insisted upon leading him forward. ^ 

'L y?"^ Highness, it is he. it is he who played the Trio " 
Zeishg said it. and Migotti shook his head. The Prince 
fK^^V"" ^^^??an; Zeislig again patted Migotti's shoulder, 
then ki.,sed hmi— kissed him before them all ! But the 
^«r^ .^S"'"* f^^ indifferent to their praise, smiling 
only at Manuella. a httle triumphantly. Lord Lyssons 

^ i' .. ^\l^I^ '^ ^^ ^°"^^ ^av« ^^ ' " It was for you I 
played. Waldo surmised the words upon his lips. 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



87 



"They won't stay for anything else," Waldo said to 
her. " The Prince is on the move already. Come 
upstairs." He put his hand on her arm. " I have not 
had that word with you." 

" Not now." 

She shrank from him, because now, although she had 
no words for it, or formula, she knew that she loved 
him ; that boy had taught it her with hi. wonderful 
playing 

" You don't want to hear any more, do you ? " Lord 
Lyssons asked her. 

" No." 

Her head felt light and rather strange, her heart overfull, 
and fearful. But she was happy, amazingly happy, and 
softened — softened to saying it. Only there was no 
opportunity. Perhaps she could have made one, or i^e, 
if he had understood. There were departing guests, and 
in that large house it would surely have been possible to 
find soUtude. He should have kissed her then, taken 
her in his arms, entered into his kingdom. It was Harston 
Migotti's playing that threw it open to him, but it was his 
for all that, only his. 

" I didn't know you were such a musical enthusiast. 
Was it the music, or the young man with the flowing 
locks ? " he asked her, as they stood at the top of the 
stairs, and the people swept past them toward the cloak- 
room or their carriages. 

" I — I love it." Her voice was low, lips a little 
tremulous, heart wildly fluttering. Loetitia caught sight 
of them, and intimated that the Prince ^shed to take 
his leave of Manuella. She curtsied low to him, and then 
it seemed the room and the people were swajdng about 
her. 

" My love, the Duchess." 

" Miss Wagner is overtired, I think." Waldo saw 
she had grown very pale, was overcharged with emotion ; 
it was he who obtained her release from her social duties. 

" Run away up to bed, you won't be missed now. 
I'll see you in the morning." 



r ■ 



■I 
t 



CHAPTER VIII 

r d^t^ ^Tk *^ K .2'^^* ^" **^^ misunderstandings 
1 dated, although they came about graduaUy and 
without natural sequence. '^■^y^^y ana 

Lord L5^ns made his form; ' proposal the next day • 
It was difficult to say what urged him to do it at that 
particular moment. Perhaps he thought he could woo 
h!L f her fianc6 than as merely an aspirant to her 

hand perhaps he wanted to free himself and her from 

1^1 ^?IP'' ^*^°"^^ ^* ^"^ed incredible, he 
re^y thought she was attracted by the young mu^daS? 
and so wished to make himself secure. In a^y case he 
had an interview with Sir Hubert Wagner, was aS^'ted 
and the lawyers set to work. « actepxea. 

Jr*1f^J!^ ^'"^ ™°/®' *^^y ^^""^ ^^s. together; they 
were hardly ever alone. Trwsseau intervened and 
dressm^ers ; it was worse than before the presentation. 
Every hour seemed to be occupied. Manuella ^JTox 
^Tn. S^ n!"^, undressing, being tried or, interviewed, 
seeing fresh people, corsetxircs. women with boxes of lace 
^mlt? r, '^"^ underwear perspiring furriers in white 
smocks, tailors mth pms ii their mouths and chalk in 
their pockets. There was no talk, no leisure ; the da^ 
S. -r'^ gone, leaving on their ebb-tide rich things 

had been^sent out. and gorgeous presents arrived daily. 
Glowing descnptions of her trousseau were in aU the 

88 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



89 



I 



papers; the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror and the 
weekly press vied with each other in their accoxints of 
the famous Lyssons' -^pphires that were being reset, of 
the priceless Russian sable coat Sir Hubert was giving 
his daughter, of the parure of diamonds from Cartier that 
was her stepmother's gift. The public interest was 
supposed to be divided between the particulars of all 
this magnificence, and stories and portraits of the starving 
children of the coal miners, who were again on strike. 
Equal journalistic space was given to both. 

Outwardly, Manuella was uncertain in temper, shy 
when with her lover, or flippant. Within, she was dis- 
traught, fearful, trembling. She was living in dreamland, 
or cloudland, with rare moments of exquisite happiness 
and reactions. She could not believe in what had come 
to her ; she shrank from the dazzling splendour of love. 
Waldo, too, was living on surfaces, whimsical, witty, or 
merely frivolous. He loved her enough to wish she 
should not know how great was his love, at least, not 
yet. His own nights were sleepless, or filled with snatches 
of short, unrestful sleep. He was on fire with her, but 
he did not w'<^h that she should bum. Not yet. In six 
weeks, four weeks, three weeks, she would be his, to teach 
and assuage, to love all he would. He was sorry for her 
because he was going to teach her love, exquisitely tender 
in his thoughts, a true and passionate love' 

Manuella, livin^'r through those overfull dayb and restless 
nights, looked pale, thin, iU. They put it down to the 
hot weather, the strain of her first season, the excitement 
of the coming wedding. 

" She will be all right after the four+.enth," Lady Wagner 
told everyone reassuringly, with that maddeningly pleasing 
smile of hers. " These are very exciting times. The 
Prince has sent an inkstand. ..." 

She was full of the presents, and the company who 
would assemble at St. George's, amazingly glad of the 
prospect of getting the girl off her hands and in so 
satisfactory a manner. 

Three weeks before the wedding came the Buckingham 



90 



" CONCERT ?r 



▼ »> 



Palace garden-party. Naturally Lady Wagner would not 
miss such a function, and Manuella Tld Tf coum 

STmL^'n ^'f^y^^^ ^"^^ested at luncS^SS 
that It might prove fatiguing, but Loetitia overruled his 
objections. The frock of 5ro(^m> awais, the Wl^! 

suTab?e*fof ?H*'^ P"' °^^"^^ ^^^^»^'-' were eSn ^■ 
?S:^:doi;tlt."'"""' ^"' ''"^"^"^ '''' ^^« ^"-^ 

Sir^H,L!l^T^' "^^ ^'f^^y *""^y^** ^^ J^^ender silk. 
Sir Hubert, for once evading the city, was coming home 
to accompany them. At four o'clock punSHe 
appeared m the great haU in all the gloi^ of Ws grev 

l^A ,i ^ t>ackground his valet held the shining hat 
and^ gold-mounted stick. The motor puffed at the^opfn 

ni^nin^^V^"^ l^^ ""T^^'^ ManucUa's French maid came 
ru^g down to say that when Miss Wagner was fully 
m^nVr^, ^^t'^^^^tes ago. in fact, she had been taken 
^famted ! She was ahready better, but it was im- 
wtv f^' ^^«^d .^^^ompany them. She had WddTn 
her say It was nothing. By the evenii. she would be 

«t^e^.'"' ''' '""^ ^'*^^-" ^^« begged thr/wluW 

ihfi" ?K *^v ^^Z*''; summoning a doctor. He suggested 

tLlS R^'°'^^^>^.^^^^ ^^°^d ^TO upstairs TsS 
h^5- He was sure she must have eaten somethim- that 

W^lnl *^^ "!f ^ ^' *° ^^^ symptoms in a way Lady 
SpH w^'^'^Z^^ somewhat gross. He strongly recom^ 

^enm^Pr^i? ' ^^f^^ed. /h^n decided to retrain her 
step-maternal anxiety until the evening. It was certain 
^e Queen would miss them if they were not atTh^gard^ 
party, and one could not disappoint Royalty. Lady 
W^er was quite genuine in her bSef that t^hey^vouTd ^ 

retn™ " Mi«s Wagner th^.ti will see her immediately we 
return. In the meantime the quieter she keeps the better. 



" CONCERT ?ITCH " 



9« 



Darken the room, do not disturb her until five. Then 
you might take her a cup of tea and the bi-carbonate of 
soda Sir Hubert suggests." 

i.cetitia was nothing if not precise. She gave her 
instructions, exhibiting sufficient solicitude. The mauve 
costume, accompanied by the frock-coat and white waist- 
coat, drove off, and Clai e repaired to the servants' -hall, 
or the housekeeper' s-room, to refresh herself after the 
fright hvx yoimg mistress had given her. 

" I thought she had died in my arms. She was white 
like a si :et, and so cold. ..." 

In the servants' -hall they gossiped about the i.arriage, 
and it was agreed that the Earl was too old for his bride, 
and not sufficiently attentive. 

Manuella's room was not darkened, and the cup of tea 
was never brought to hei. The household relaxed when 
the door closed behind master and mistress. 

As there was no one with the girl, and i .e was given 
no remedies, she recovered quickly from her faint. She 
ti "^k off her hat, letting down her hair to reUeve the weight 
upon her head, roUing it up agam presently in a simpler 
fashion. It became her better this way, but she did not 
think of that. She did not think at all, she was inci^pable 
of thought. She sat for a little while at the open window 
of her bedroom, and then went lownstairs. She was 
shaky and pale after her attack of faintness, and there 
was a singing in her ears, '"'he singing in her ears pre- 
sently resolved itself into melody, a haunting strain, 
something of which she must rid herself, to which she 
must give expression. 

There was no piano in her own sitting-room, and she 
wandered down to the music room. Of course the melody 
that was haunting her was from the second movement 
of the Trio. How wonderfully the young pianist had 
dominated it — an interesting boy. Quite idly she 
wondered whai had become of him, and where he was 
playing. If it had not been for him she would not have 
known what was the feeUng she had for Lord Lysscns. 
Music and love were one with her ; her love had had no 



Ti 



9« 



" CONCERT PITCH »' 



II 



i4 



^Sf^T' '\'^" impnsoned and stifled within her. 
S teT^MJf^l"^ 1"^**? **'***** ''^^^*^- She wanted 

♦w • fu *' ^^,<^*«<^ ^or him. It seemed impossible 
u ? * . ^'*''* '^«y ^°"^<1 be married I ThrWood 
rushed into her f«e when she remembered it. Then she 
bepn to play. She would have sung, there was song in 
ner heart, but her uneven pulses shook her voice 

It was an untrained underfootman who played R-ovi- 
dence or Improvidence, the part for which he was cast 

J^ii „ ♦ ?"*u°' ^*'" 't^^y* '^^^ P^ would never have 
f^en to him but for the laxity that feU upon the estab- 
iishment m the absence, of master and mistress. 
If you please, miss. . . ." 
The butler m?" have been at his bookmaker's, the firet 
footman pursuing Uaire in the servants'-haU. the second 
footman waiting on the major-domo. This Deus ex 
jwcAija was new to high service, a mere tyro translated 
from buttons That he had seen Miss Wagner descend 
the stairs, and therefore knew she was at home was not 
legitimate knowledge, and he ought to have concealed 
1LJ!''*"ST t^l^'^or-beU at all was encroaching on 
anothers duty. Tha when a beU rings it mjst be 
answered he ma; have learned in Kensington or Bavs- 
??hI^*w ^"^"^ ^"""^^'"^ **• ^^ °"S^t *o l»ave knoJwi 
W^L^^"^' ""^.^""i' ^^ ^^ W^e^^^ "«t receiving. 
? l^l^u"^ °''* °^ ^^ ^*^ t^« household to which 
ne had the honour of being affiliated. 

" If you please, miss, it's one of the gentlemen who 
^ ?^'^i ^ othernight. He asked if you was at home, 
and I said you had just gone into the music-room " 

wiJ^'ht"?^'^* "^^u**"^^ ^"^ ^" ^^ ^'""gJ^d in some 
way he fled before the consciousness of mistake, washing 

Trfi ^ . u *¥,^"cident. covering it up by flight, trusting 
only that It might not come to Mr. Jenkins' knowledge-! 
Mr. Jenkins being the butler, and not above boxing his 

^^' u ! ,"^®^* "° ^^™ ' ^^ si^ed in ignorance. 

He had led the way, and Harston Migotti foUowed him, 
naturally. ' 



" CONCERT PITCH 



f> 



93 



" But I i-^tcmipt you . . . you are playing." he halted 
at the door. 

Of course she stopped playirig and rose. She was 
surprised to see liim, but she remembered him quite well ; 
she had even be n thinking of him, and of his wonderful 
playing, and told him so in that reprehensively impulsive 
way of hers. 

She was Jeiicient in the social sense : * ; stepmother 
was quite right. When he said that he 1 1< not kno'xm 
if he ought to call, but he wanted so much .. see her again, 
to thank her, she neither rebuked him for his pre- 

..nptuousness, nor dismissed him quickly with an easily 
invented excuse. She began at once to talk music to 
him, since she knew he was a true musician. She spoke 
enthusiastically of Zeislig and Madame liebius, and was 
interested to hear that the great contralto was related to 
him. He was easy to talk to, simple and candid. She 
was glad to be free from her 'iihoughts and emotions for a 
while. " I am not a pianist," he said, when she questioned 
him, " although I was with Steinhault. I am a composer." 

She had never met a mposer, and wanted to know 
how his music came to ' tm. It did not seem vanity 
when he answered that it came the same way as to all the 
great masters. He spoke of a symphony that he had 
written when he was fourteen, and compared himself 
with Mozart. 

" But in many vfays, in most ways, I am like your 
namesake, like the great Richard Wagner. I am writing 
' now an opera, and the libretto also." 

With very Uttle persuasion he played her a move- 
ment from the Introduction, then he repeated the leii 
motif. It was really beautiful and striking, original and 
even haunting, and, of course, she told him so. 

" I want to hear more of it. When can I hear more 
of it ? " 

He was flattered, pleased. Already, on the night of 
the concert, he had thought her the most beautiful girl 
he had ever seen. This afternoon with the languor from 
her faint, her hair loose, hste .ig io his music, she was 



94 



« 



CONCERT PITCH '* 




no less so. He caUed himself an Englishman, but he had 
had an Italian mother, who. as he told Manuella later on 
had lost everything for love." 

He permitted himself to fall in love no\'.', although he 
knew Miss Wagner was fianc6e. and not for him in any 
case. He played her the great song from the second act 
of lus opera—a passionate invocation. 

"I wish I could sing it." she exclaimed, and told him 
that once she had wished to be an opera singer. 

But why not ? I am sure you can sing my music." 
He encouraged her. struck the notes singly, and then left 
Off to tell her how it had come to him, and that it was a 
g-eat English opera he was writing; the subject was 
Boadicea and the Roman conquest of Britain. No it 
was not Uke Norma, nor that other opera called Boadicea 
It was an expression of rare and national character in wild 
forest land unreclaimed. It was eas> to see that his 
behef in his creation was supreme. 

She found his conversation fascinating ; it led her into 
another world, one more congenial to her than this prosaic 

T^'ju J^^. ^^ ^°^^^ ^" ^^^^ she had dwelt in her 
childhood s dreams. 

Harston Migotti had been a "wonder child" like 
Mozart -an infant prodigy. His years with Steinhault 
had perhaps subdued him a little ; but. now in England 
and wnting his first opera, his genius and egotism were 
magnetic. He carried the girl right out of herself. He 
^?f ? ^\ °" *^^ threshold of a wonderful Ufe. He him- 
self told her of the wonders, dwelling on them, holding 
her imagination captive. 

For the moment she almost forgot what it was that 
would make her own Ufe equaUy wonderful. It had never 
been spoken. She thought whilst he was speaking that 
m contrast to his. her hfe would be dull, fiat, siSnt at 
dinners and garden-parties, in fine clothes, artificially 
smihng. perhaps, like her stepmother. Not in writing 
great music, or playing and singing it. What a life this 
inspired boy had before him I She held her breath whilst 
he talked. 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



95 



Manuella, in her muslin embroidered frock that had 
been donned for the royal garden-party, her pallor, her 
dark eyes with their long, thick lashes, her mouth 
like a bow, her deft chin, hstening, hstening to him as 
he painted that great future of his, impelled him to greater 
effort. It was quite involuntarily, and really because 
he had that great behef in himself that set him apart from 
other men or boys, that he exclaimed : 

" But what a pity you will marry ! " 

When her pallor warmed she was even loveUer. He 
meant what a pity it was that she should marry Lord 
Lyssons. She was fit to be his own bride ; every moment 
his feeUng for her intensified ; he knew akeady that he 
was falling deeply in love with her. But she understood 
him to mean that it was a pity she should marry instead 
of becoming a singer, and she answered soberly. 

" I don't suppose my voice is really any good. I have 
hardly sung since I left school." 

She rang for tea presently. Why not, since it was tea 
time, and he was here ? 

The butler must have been still at his bookmaker's, 
but the first footman was equal to his responsibihties. 
He supposed, if he supposed anything at all, that the 
music for her wedding was being arranged. He played 
the accordion himself in his leisure hours, and therefore 
knew the importance of music, l^e was able to report 
to Claire that her young lady looked better, she had quite 
a colour in her cheeks ; " rare and handsome she looked : 
like mistress like maid." He was quite an eloquent first 
footman. 

Harston Migotti drank his tea like an ordinary young 
man, talking all the time, eating as much cake as there 
was in the basket, and finishing all the bread and 
butter. 

There was really little to excite Loetitia's horrified 
exclamation when she came in from the garden-party, 
and heard that her stepdaughter had recovered from her 
faint, and was in the music-room " having tea with one of 
the gentlemen who played at the concert." Many things 



96 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



t 



'I' I 



had combined to irritate her that afternoon, and this was 
the culminating one. Her future son-in-law had sug- 
gested that she had not taken sufficient care of Manuella, 
allowing her to be ill without medical care. 

Here in the music-room she found her, she who 
was supposed to be ill, unable to obey the Royal com- 
niand, sitting with a musician—a professional musician, 
with long hair, in familiar intercourse, drinking tea! 
It was with difficulty Loetitia kept ht_ self-command. 
She always prided herself that her temper was not Uke 
Manuella's, that she was calm and dignified under any 
circumstances, even such as these. 

"I have not the pleasure of knowing this gentle- 
man, have I?" she began idly, after expressing her 
astonishment at finding Manuella recovered, net in her 
bedroom. 

She stared at Harston, put up her glasses and surveyed 
him. 

" I don't think I know this gentleman." 

Manuella was in arms before she was attacked, it was 
always the way with her. 

" He played in the Trio." 

Lady Wagner continued to stare. 

" Indeed, that is very interesting. And has anything 
happened? Is there any reason for this intrusion? 
I really do not understand, " Perhaps you can explain 
why, when we thought you were in your room ; Lord 
Lyssons was most distressed about your condition, he is 
sending his own physician to see you, for he was not to 
be satisfied with Sir William BeHairs— I find you here, 
with this person. ..." 

She paused as if words failed her. Migotti had risen 
and was now waiting for the introduction. He, of 
course, had no idea she meant to insult him. He said 
again, as he had said the other night, simply, and as if 
it were sufficient : 
" I am Harston Migotti." 

" Migotti ! " She repeated the name as if it were 
something unclean, with a bad odour, to be held at a 



** CONCERT PITCH " 



97 



distance. " Migotti I Is it anything to do with the 
account ? Sir Hubert would prefer, I am sure, to settle 
through Messrs. Flockmann." 

" Mr. Migotti wanted to see me again, that's why he 
came. It has nothing to do with the account." Manuella's 
face flamed, her quick temper rising. Lady Wagner put 
up her lorgnette, looked at her, at him, then let it fall 
again. She " did not know what things were coming to," 
she said. 

" He only played to oblige us, he is not a pianist ; he is 
a composer, a musician." 

" An itinerant musician ! " 

Why 'itinerant' she could not explain, but the juxta- 
position of the words pleased her, and she repeated them. 

" An itinerant musician I I am surprised, reaUy 
surprised. I don't know what Lord Lyssons would say." 

" Why should he say an3rthing ? " 

What Lady Wagner implied was that in receiving 
Harston Migotti, talking to him, giving him tea, she had 
been guilty of something surreptitious, unlady-like, repre- 
hensible. Manuella resented it, flamed out in his defence, 
although, as Lady Wagner said afterwards, he had never 
been attacked. 

Manuella said vehemently that he was a great artist ; 
that she was proud he wanted to see her again, proud of 
having tea with him. Loetitia replied in the gentlest 
way possible— we have her word for this— that she 
"thought the servants'-haU would have been more 
suitable," and without giving the suggestion the slightest 
consideration, in the most ^ uncalled-for way, ManueDa 
exclaimed v/ith reddening face that she would not allow 
him to be insulted ! She seemed so agitated, so much 
more so than the occasion warranted, that Lcetitia 
admitted she became suspicious. 

Migotti hardly understood what was being said; he 
was not quick to apprehend anything but praise or 
appreciation. Although he averred he was an English- 
man, the language had difficulties for him. He mis- 
apprehended the position. It was as a guest and an 



9« 



« CONCERT PITCH »' 



equal that Loetitia objected to his presence. He thought 
tUs hoch geborene Dame aheady understood that he had 
fallen in love with her daughter, that she was quicker 
than he in realizing that the feeling might be mutual. 

" I will go. You must not be angry with her, madam, 
she did not know ; I have not spoken of it. I will go." 

He bowed over the girl's hand ; he even kissed it. 

" I will come again soon." 

He was gone before Loetitia had recovered from the 
shock of hearing him say it. Manuella was not even 
conscious of the salute, she was so full of indignation 
against her stepmother. 



I I 



:hapter IX 



LADY WAGNER had. of course, legitimate grounds 
for being annoyed. She and Sir Hubert had 
walked in the grounds of Marlborough House almost 
unnoticed, unnoticed, that is, by the Royalties whom 
they had feared to disappoint. It was also most vexatious 
to find so many of their old acquaintances in the grounds 
and m the tents, people whom they would not welcome 
in Stone House. Lady Wagner thought the Royal 
Family wanting in discrimination, but consoled herself 
with the reflection that they were influenced by a Liberal 
Government, and that it was the Lord Chamberlain who 
was responsible for sending out the invitations. Lord 
Ly^ns. who was on the watch for them, sympathized 
with her vexation, and confirmed her explanation. He 
said gravely that there was no doubt tl ndiscriminate 
hospitahty that was being dispensed y, directly due 
to Lloyd George's dictatorship. 

But having fooled Loetitia to the top of her bent, and 
waited to hear why ManueUa was not there, he showed 
himself more anxious than the occasion warranted. At 
least so Loetitia told him with ponderous playfulness. 
He declined altogether to accept Sir Hubeil's diagnosis 
of indigestion. Hitherto he had hardly been a person, 
only aji alhance, and Lady Wagner had only disliked Iiim 
-vaguely ; but this afternoon she thought him wantmg 
not only m taste but in tact. 



99 



7* 



100 



*« CONCERT PITCH " 



" She has been looking seedy for a long time. She 
ought to have seen a doctor. We mustn't wait any 
longer." 

" My dear Waldo," Loetitia spoke quite gently, although 
she was annoyed. " Don't you think that / am the best 
judge of whether or not Manuella requires medical atten- 
tion ? We mothers are very observant ..." It was the 
bland and soothing answer that should have t'irned away 
wrath. 

" Quite true. But Manuella's mother has been dead 
for so many years that one cannot biame her for inatten- 
tion. You, now, you liave so many engagements ; you 
are so occupied, worthily occupied, it is impossible you 
should have noticed that Manuella has grown very thin, 
that her colour comes and goes easily. . . ." With an 
efEort he made his voice indifferent. " Think of her as 
she was when she first came home." Then he took it 
more lightly. " I am only marrying half the girl to 
whom I proposed. I am being palpably defrauded." 

" I should not have been at all pleased to see Manuella 
grow stout. Her father wovdd not have approved ; it is 
a tendency with Spanish women. You know Manuella's 
mother was a Spaniard. Slenderness is so much more 
refined, and it is the vogue." 

" I don't fancy standing up at the altar with a 
skeleton." 

The sense of humour had been left out of Loetitia's 
f^ishioning. 

" My dear boy, you exaggerate things," she expostulated. 
" Of course, your anxiety does you credit." She became 
arch and gave a Uttle pat to his arm. " It is always 
an agitating period in a girl's life ; you must make allow- 
ances for Manuella. She is very young. We must not 
encourage her to think herself delicate. After the 
fourteenth. . . ." 

"As she did not wait till after the fourteenth to 
have a fainting fit, perhaps it is a pity to wait until then 
for her to see a doctor." 

Lady Wagner wanted to walk on ; she saw a Duchess, 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



zoi 



and she disliked argument. But Sir Hubert lingered, 
and said irresolutely : 

" I think, my dear, perhaps Waldo is right. Sir William, 
now. . . ." 

" No I No I Not that old windbag I I beg pardon, sir, 
I forgot you believed in him, that he attended you. 
But for Manuella, someone younger, less, shall we say 
less eminent, would be better." 

Lady Wagner went as far as she thought advisable in 
opposition, even further. She had, of course, noticed that 
Manuella looked ill since her engagement with the Duke 
had been broken of!. But, of course, that had been en- 
tirely her own fault. Lady Wagner was tired of the girl, 
of the consequence her affairs were assuming. She wanted 
to get the wedding over and Manuella out of the way as 
quickly as possible. She would find it so much more 
agreeable to speak of "our daughter, the Countess of 
Lyssons," than of her as an inmate of Stone House, 
monopolizing attention. It was "just Uke the girl to 
faint so inconveniently, to like a fuss being made about 
her." 

Lcetitia was angry, but neither her anger nor her 
obstinacy was proof against Waldo's insistence. When 
he saw them to the motor the last thin/? he said was : 
'' Then I'll go now and arrange for lorter to see her." 
" I suppose you must have your ow; v<"iy. . ." 
This smile was not " pleasing " ; Lcetitia showed all 
her teeth, it was more like a snarl. 



This was a bad prelude to the return home, finding the 
girl "closeted with a strange musician." Lcetitia had 
fully intended drawing Manuella's attention to Lord 
Lyssons' evident dissatisfaction with her appearance and 
manner. She thought it possible that she could put the 
matter before her in such a way that Manuella would 
herself refuse to see a doctor, and assert that she was 
qmte well. Lady Wagner was averse to the idea of 



H 



102 



" CONCERT PITCH *' 






\ 



medical interference, also of being coerced oi contra- 
dicted. She foresaw that even more attention would be 
devoted to the girl ; it was possible a suggestion might 
be made of postponing the marriage. There is little 
doubt she would have succeeded in her scheme, but 
unfortunately, to use again Lcetitia's words : 

" Because I w^.s astonished at finding her entertaining 
this young man, on intimate terms with him— he was 
even kissing her hands— she put herself in an ungovern- 
able temper. . . ." 

The result was another fainting fit, in the midst of 
which Waldo walked in, unannounced, and received the 
foregoing explanation. \ 

He hardly listened to it at the time ; if he was conscious 
of a dull ache he put it down to Manuella's white rigidity, 
and his uneasiness about her health. He gathered there 
had been a scene, because Manuella had not stopped at 
home alone, but had received a young man. He kn*»w 
well enough what young man it was she had received, 
although he put away the thought of it for another time. 
Now he was only anxious to get assistance for her. 

She recovered consciousness within a few minutes, and 
was understood to say she was all right again, was able 
to go upstairs alone, and wanted no help. Lord Lyssons 
put a stead3nng arm about her, and Loetitia improved 
the occasion as the lift mounted. 

" If you had only been guided by me and remained in 
your own room. But, of course, if you had an appoint- 
ment with Mr. Migotti " Manuella did not contradict 

this, and Waido noticed the omission. 

When she got to her own room she begged them to 
leave her alone. " I am really all right." she said. 

" I'll get Shorter to come at once,' Waldo told Loetitia. 
" I am sure that is the best thing to do." 

" You must not be alarmed. She works herself up 
into this condition, her temper is so unfortunate. . . ." 
He was out of the house before she finished her sentence. 

Loetitia saw there was no use in opposing him. It 
would be easy to explain to the doctor when he came that 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



103 



Manuella had always been hysterical and difficult to 
manage, that no fuss should be made about her — no 
unnecessary fuss. 

Her task might have been easy with any other physi- 
cian than Tom Shorter. She would have persuaded him 
to diagnose the " excitement of the coming wedding," 
prescribe bromide, and tide them over the next three 
weeks. Then Manuella would be Lord Lyssons' responsi- 
bility, and no longer hers. 

Lady Wagner went into the smaller drawing-room when 
she heard the doctor had arrived, in all the panoply of her 
motherhood, still in her mauve garden-par-/ costimie, 
prepared to command the situation. 

Dr. Shorter was a litile man, but he was a little man with 
a big head, and an even bigger personality. Lady Wagner 
bowed to him condescendingly as Waldo named them to 
each other, and began at once : 

" I hope you will say you have been sent for under 
false pretences. Dr. Shorter." Her smile was artificial, 
and her voice, to a trained observer, showed resentment. 
" But our bridegroom here " — ^now she was recovering 
herself and displaying pleasantry — " could not accept 
my assurances, would not believe in a mother's instinct." 

" Where is the patient ? I'm afraid I've not much 
time to spare." Dr. Shorter was not in the least impressed 
by the house or Lady Wagner, and he was too impatient 
to listen to her periods. 

Lady Wagner was not used to being interrupted when 
she spoke. 

" I think before you see her I must tell you somethinig 
of the circumstances. ..." 

" Is the girl here ? " 

" She is upstairs, lying down, fully conscious, quite 
recovered from a slight faintness. I am sure it was 
unnecessary to trouble you, but Lord Lyssons was so 
urgent. If I tell you the symptoms, and you write a 
prescription for, shall we say, a little bromide? I am 
sure, doctor, you agree with me that bromide is the drug 
for these hysterical cases. . , ." 



104 



*« CONCERT PITCH " 




He had already summed her up. Not knowing the 
relationship, he hoped for Waldo's sake that mother and 
daughter were of different calibre. He and Waldo were 
old friends. He hated having been called here from his 
work, and wished the woman would leave off talking 
and let him see the girl, since it was for that he had come. 
For himself, he wanted to get through with his visit, and 
go on to one much more interesting ; an out-patient of his 
hospital, to whom he had given an appointment at his 
own house, a man with an obscure and refJly interesting 
complaint, whor* case he had been imvestigating for 
days. 

But Lady Wagner was not to be hurried. 

" It is, as I have already told his lordship, a little 
hysteria, or nervous debility, from which she is suffering. 
I am sure you will agree it is not at all strange under the 
circumstances. In my younger days we should have 
given valerian, but now I think bromide is the more 
fashionable ? " She turned archly to Lord Lyssons : 

" You see, I am not wholly ignorant of medicine." 

"His lordship! Oh, Waldo! Well! Can I go up 
to her ? " Of 

" I see you are quite impatient." 

She gave one of her pleasing smiles, and Dr. Shorter 
wondered quite suddenly, and inconsequently, how she 
would look without her flesh. If her teeth were her own 
hers might be quite a presentable skull. He lo^t the next 
sentence or two, but heard : 

" She must be quite well, you know, for the fourteenth." 
Loetitia was quite playful about that, and he thought her 
even a greater fool than she was. " I am sure you can 
do it if you try. You look so clever." 

He seemed an extraordinary person, with no sense of 
soaal values. Yet he had spoken of Lord Lyssons as 
" Waldo." There was no end to the inconsistencies of 
the Upper Ten. It was the only one of their traits she 
had not been able to imitate. She herself was thoroughly 
consistent. "^ 

" You don't mind if I don't come up with you ? " 



" CX)NCERT PITCH " 



105 



" Oh, no, thank you ; I would much rather see her 
alone." 

A maid showed him upstairs to his patient. 

Dr. Shorter, although he was insignificant from Lady 
Wagner's point of view, was resJly a remarkable person. 
He w. a scientist, but also a humanitarian, a strange 
combination of gifts, and one responsible for the unique 
position he held. He had considerably more work than 
he could do at a time when most men of his age — he 
was not yet forty — are still engaged in wondering how 
and when, advertisement being forbidden them, they are 
to get patients to their consulting-rooms. But every 
patient that came to Dr. Shorter became an advertisement 
for him 

He was one of those men of whom there are rarely more 
than one in each generation, to whom his profession is 
at once a passion and a privilege. He lived to heal ihf. 
sick. 

When he entered her bedroom he saw that the girl, 
almost a child, who made a startled effort to rise, was sick. 
Of this he had no doubt. He forgot the man with the 
interesting kidney who was waiting for Iiim, and all his 
appointments. So this was Waldo's fiancee — the daughter 
of that dreadful woman downstairs ! 

With her thick hair in two plaits, the open nightgown 
showing her immaturity, she looked even less than her 
age. She needed help and he had no doubt he could 
give it to her. That he misapprehended the circumstances 
was not wonderful. He knew about the Inland Revenue 
and Waldo's financial embarrassments. 

Manuella had not heard she was to see a doctor ; she 
sprang up in bed and would have remonstrated. She 
had a fearful headache, and only wished to be left 
alone. Dr. Shorter soon reassured her, bidding her Ue 
still. Then he sat down by her side. 

She said quickly she didn't want to lie down ; she 
wasn't ill. 

" Of coi V /U are not. Who said you were ? You 
are quite Wv. , and you are quite happy too ? " 



io6 




** CX)NCERT PITCH " 






She made no answer. 
He had his hand on her pulse. 
thtS! """{?: you a« ; so you ought to be. All young 

TOlst he was talking he felt her pulse, sounded her 
lungs, listened to her heart, made her lie back aga^n 
asking her one or two more questions. ' 

.JL^T*'u "^^^^ ^-"^^^ *^* ^^'^' "ndcr his skilful and 
sympathetic questionmg, she was telling him of her 
constant sense of strangeness and unreaUty. the feeling 

S^'ld'^dly^S :JS.'P^'^^' *'^ '^^ ^^^" '^^'^'^ 

not Dr Shorter's way to take these easy paths. Physi- 

STliH. '*!fi^^"'' r*^^^ ^'^"^^ h^^^ taken a d.?p^of 
SLf^ 1 ''^'^' "J**^^ * ^"^t"'"^' and returned with a 
2Xlo!^**^^u.°^ ^^"^*' ^"^ they would have been 
^^^ "^^*- ^"i ^^°»*«'' acknowledging the 
h^i«^^fP^'''*°f ' ^^ admitting the anamil looked 
beyond both for the cause of either. He talked to her 

hn,i"^^r.K° '^]f *? ^"^' ^*^>^ "^'^ ^^' for nearly aL' 
hour. At the end of that time he knew more about her 
physical condition than any number of analyses would 
have given him. He wrote no prescription, gave her 
nei her instructions nor advice. She was to be mamed 

hJ^u -^ t^^^ '^^^'' ^^^ ' The woman downstairs 
had burned her into it. She was altogether too young 

l^^UpulS^ """' ^"^ °^^""^'y ^*"^^' ^^^ - 
;; You are not eighteen yet ? " he asked her. 
No, not until O' tober." 

co^d^ot'ifaif?""" ""'^ '" '""' **"" '^'^° "»« y" 
It was trae the colour came and went fitfuUv. mieveDlv. 



- CONCERT PITCH " 



107 



" Did L? say to ? " she asked, then turned her head 
away and bid it in the pillow. 

She was too young, little more than a child. This 
was her principal ailment, and there was only one way 
to cure it. 

He saw quickly, with that wide, clear vision of his. 
that this was not a commonplace jwer of a girl, who could 
be uprooted with impunity at such a critical moment in 
her growth. There was something rare and exotic in the 
fragrance of her youth. But it would wither, there could 
be no blossom from it under the treatment she was re- 
ceiving. He did not divine into how rich and congenial 
a soil the transplantation would have been. He knew 
Waldo only as a hunter of big game, a humorist, not as a 
tender and considerate lover. 

Dr. Shorter did aot see Lady Wagner again. She had 
dressed and gone out to dinner. He left a note for her — 
an absurd and inconsiderate note, as Lady Wagner 
exclaimed when she read it : 

" Madam, 

" I find your laughter anaemic and in bad 
condition generally. Tne marriage should be postponed 
at least three, perhaps six months, possibly a year. 
She must keep early hours, eat plain food, be in the open 
air six to eight hours a day, sleep in it if possible. She 
does not require any drugs. As soon as her strength 
permits she should have regular and ordered exercise. 
I am reporting also to Lord Lyssons. 

•' Sincerely, 

" Tom Shorter." 



Lady Wagner was justly indignant with this letter ; 
it was a bomb-shell cast into all her preparations, her 
summer arrangements. She only received it when she 
came home late that night, and it made her so angry 
that she had to take bromide herself to induce sleep. 

At first, when she woke the next morning, she thought 
she would take no notice of the letter at all, but go straight 



io8 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



. 'if- 




on as if nothing had happened. After she had drunk her 
chocolate, however, she remembered the report had gone 
to Lord Lyssons. She sent a note round to Lady Sallust 
before she got up : 

" I am in dreadful trouble. Do, dear Lady Sallust 
come round and talk things over with me. Or I would 
come to you. . . ." 

The lawyers had been hard at work all these weeks- 
everything was in train, if not actuaUy complete. 

Lady SaUust. who was at Stone House within the hour 
was ahnost as annoyed as Loetitia, when she heard what 
had occurred, and backed her up in her decision to ignore 
the letter and the recommendation it contained. " Miss 
Wagner was quite well this morning," her maid reported • 
Je was " ah-eady up." It would be quite easy to get a 
^erent opmion from Sir Hubert's doctor. Sir WiUiam 
Bellairs, who made his enormous income, and had obtdned 
lus fctnghthood, for prescribing to fashionable patients 
tte change of air, or scene, or companion they desired. 
The two ladies decided this would be the best course to 
take. To send at once for Sir William, and have his 
authonty for saying that there was no reason to postpone 
the ceremony, no reason at all. 

Before Lady Sallust left the house an urgent messenger 
was dispatched. Sir WiUiam broke through his rule of 
never gomg out in the morning and came back in the 
motor they sent for him. 

Sir William Bellaks, who was mild and spectacled and 
elderly, said, when Manuella came down to him, to Ladv 
Wagner's boudoh- : "^ 

" So this is the bride-elect ? And she is not very well 
you say ? We must see what is to be done. Dear, dear' 
she IS very thin ! Undo your bodice, my dear child ' " ' 
He, too, sounded her lungs. That is to say, he rested 
his Stethoscope on her back, whilst he exchanged amenities 
with Loetitia. Afterwards he put a question or two to 
her, and said : 

'' Just so ! As I thought, as I anticipated." 
Loetitia said sweetly : 



** CONCERT PITCH " 



109 



" Then you agree with me, Sir William ? " 

And Sir William answered : 

" Quite so ; quite so ; exactly. Now I think we will 
send this young lady upstairs again and have our little 
talk." 

Manuella went upstairs again ; her head still ached, 
and over and over again she wondered if Lord Lyssons 
knew she thought of him day and night, wondered about 
him . . . and marriage, counted the weeks and days. 
But she had not wanted the marriage hastened. She was 
one burning blush when she thought he had attributed 
all this hurry to her. Of course, he did not care for her. 
In that angry scene downstairs, and once before, Loetitia 
had let fall an unguarded word. It was because her 
father was giving her a fortune that he wished to marry 
her. It was terrible, dreadful, unbearable. She did 
not want to marry him if he did not care for her. She 
cried all that morning, and by the afternoon her head- 
ache was worse. 

Meanwhile Lady Wagner " hastened to write " a 
charming little letter to Lord Lyssons : 

" I am so glad to be able to tell you that Sir William 
Bellairs has been here this morning and finds very little 
indeed wrong with Manuella. We are going to absolve 
her from all her social duties between now and the four- 
teenth — which, I am sure, you will be deUghted to hear 
remains the great day. But I think, perhaps, you will 
have to exert your authority She must really keep quiet, 
there must be no more scenes, nor exciting interviews with 
musicians. The dear child is so impulsive, emotional. 
The man must have imposed upon her good nature. . . ." 

She wound up in good maternal style, with a moral 
aphorism and a personal application, a slight expostulation, 
and an affectionate finale. She had always prided herself 
on her letters, and this one was a masterpiece. It left 
no room for argument. The wedding would be on the 
fourteenth. 




CHAPTER X 

r i^4'^u':^^'t^^^^ rr Manuella's 

let Lord Lyssons W it 11 ?! "f ?°" ^'^''^'' ^^ to 
casteth out fear orTf t' }J\ "°* *™^ *^^* -a* love 
UnfulfiUed love Sreeds f^ *™!',/* l^ «^y ^^^ ^ truth, 
been fearful tiat he wL oo old^^ 'u' 'T ^^^° ^^^ 
care for him and waT^ln^ old for her, that she did not 
been nisheTinto he^e^^! ™^^^.?to it, as she had 

by what Lcetitia hint^A JTZ- ' "e was affected 

Shorter re^rt^ to S "t T,T^ ^^ *>"' ^om 

who was k^ping toL?Zmfhe w«1„"^, T, *'""'*"l- 
about writinu to h«r m„.. -iu «?"*"* °°"" """ds 

letter from Lady wLef hT r^^lt"*^"! "'^' ''»^"™S 
was best to be'^d^^Jor'M^;^^ *1"°' ■""* *•?* 
about himself at all '"^^eUi. He never thought 

•"^ouTant^LSy^te' c^S 'i^^^^ '^' ^^ *^ ^^ ' 
unnerved at the mJsp^t a^H 1 ^^^ ''^^^'' ^« ^^ 
sooner you let her know vAn^"* "" '^°"'*^' ' ^^^ the 
better for you ^th t dnn'^ t^""^ "^.'"''^ ^"*^"*^°" *^« 
you. You m;S be ne^?v f ^"""T '^^'*^"' ^^^ ^^^^^ ^or 
I had a long t^^th^t rnH ^'^T.*° ^^" ^*h. 
only know thatshrhl il' ^"^^.^till I don't know. I 

beyLdherXc"nSi:^f ^^-^ h- --ns. 
been used up by her growth, tTrhas^e:.^:rSe':^^^ 

no 



** CONCERT PITCH » 



to^ be, nuuung about in a pinaC w^h a 'tp""*?^ 

as quickly as po^ble He mrt^S /? ^"'"y '™'n h»i 
his fianc4 forVfew da« tw i "^ '"' **= "°t to see 
He wanted to AM^wTfu,! tin,?'/°"^^'""'*^ '" l^d- 
conversation om^f hrLnth Thit ^ **■! '^'' °' *"' 
anotlier old friend, a dere™aJ iT*' *''5' •■« ™"t «» 
physiology but leined S^ra^^» TairT"* °' 
br^s ..gbt suit his n,o„d. ^was^'^'or atl^^ 

rJt^t'^ ^^rt'ain^i'f * °« ^'»8 Ton, Shorter, 
marrying him. hTS forSt " ^^^^ '"' 8^' "'o 
tune, and its convenience to him ^ '**y*''^' ^ '<"■- 
of the difierence m thTaL^nith,r^°"'^ '^^"^ 

in the •■ Albany," but loDMd^. . .f"* •" '^ '«»» 
Place, where an AmlS^^Zv ^ ^T^J" St. James's 
himself so clcNerty i^to LonTft."^ '''? "^"^'^i 
appeared to beloii To it *f^ ^"^^^ ">»' "o" he 
seminated up-toXe gLf ^",''"^ '=°'^*»"^ »"<» <iis- 
o'clock. Wafdo had a/So^'^Sre? f"* ^'S''* 
people were saying about h.Vn, v * *" ""ow what 

* whether the? w.iX^k„vtto^"* t?' ^^'•^' 
St. James's Place were a r£.„!5^- ^he rooms in 
house where no ceSny n23^"'lr"^f ™"^P» 
went there. It was ^th^^ observed-everybody 
knowledge of tlT Z>XIT:! '^.f.rT^^ 

^ ^r*%ui tvBr'^^'^^"^^ 

and he hoped to .^ITZr^^'^J:'^^^-^ 



112 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



was too nervous to go home. There might be a letter 
from her to him there, contradicting or corroborating 
Loetitia. Would she marry him in three weeks? He 
did not know, nor if he should persuade her to it. 

He had a " Dry Martini " cunningly mixed and shaken, 
and certainly agreeable to the palate. He heard a great 
deal of gossip, was chaffed a Uttle about ceasing to be a 
Benedict, and warned of restrictions in store for him. 
Many of his friends were present. It is possible, because 
his mood was curious, and his plans uncertain, and his 
glass constantly replenished, that he drank more than 
he knew. 

Anyway, when Jerry Parsons, in his American accent, 
said: 

" I saw your fiancee this morning, by the way, in 
Kensington Gardens. I don't know the m...i who was 
with her— long-haired fellow, probably a poet. No, it 
was not your cousin Gilbert, this was a much better- 
looking fellow," Waldo repUed with sufficient lightness, 
and left without marked abruptness. 

The valet, who was waiting in Lord Lyssons' bedroom, 
with the dress-clothes spread on the bed, various cans of 
hot water, and a bath in readiness, was imable to keep 
his evening appointment. 

Lord Lyssons came in, walked up and down the sitting- 
room for ten minutes, and went out again without 
dressing, or saying anything. He was a most unsatis- 
factory gentleman to wait upon, and "very irregular in 
his 'abits ! " 

The motor was at the door of Stone House, the two 
acetylene lamps shining and casting deep shadows. For 
some inexplicable reason, although he had hurried to get 
there, Lord Lyssons did not at once ring the bell, but 
waited in the shadow. Now the door opened, and he 
could see inside the electrically-Ut hall. The maid helped 
Lady Wagner into her lace and ermine opera cape ; the 
man gave Sir Hubert his satin-lined coat, pulled it down 
at the back, adjus+ed it nicely. The butler was in waiting, 
flanked by two footmen. • 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



113 

nf^Vi^! ^**^' ^J^^ ™^*°^ went through, a woman 
LmLT ''Tf' "^" ^ disheveUed Peri, en^^ 

heard the patroUmg pohceman say sharply to her : 

along!"''' ^'^ y°" ^''^"^ ^^^^? You get 

th^!,Sr^ °"i °^ the shadows a/ter that and went up to 
^e still-open door. The butler, very respectful and dLi- 
fied. explained that Sir Hubert and lSv Warner £d 

£dt ihlt-^'^ '?T ^""'y "^- dining US d a'nl 
Lady iU^staire in Carlton House Terrace. . 
Is Miss Wagner better ? " 

" I beheve so. milord." 

" Is she at home ? " 

mov?nr .« .! .u ^^^y Wagner's maid, who --" -nc* 
moving off after the completion of her arduous dut.-o 

htllSSiip\t^t'4Tter"*"'' ^^ -- ^^-^e that 

di^^n."^- ^?^ ^^ Wagner's maid," she said primly 
disapp ovmgly. She was very like her mistress. ^^' 
The buUer and the two footmen, who knew his lordship 
had a lavish way with half-sovereigns, showed him i?^o 
the morning-room on the ground floor! 

gets^onvrved'^'rh"^- J^ ^ "^^^^^^ '^^' '^' «»«^e 
duly rewS: ""'^ ^""^'^ "^ ^^*^ confidenti^d 

T ^R^ Wh ""^^"Px^,??," ^'^' ^"^ ^^g ^^h mezzotints by 
ift^'JT ^f ^'"'^"^ ^^^^^' by Grozer and De J 
HuS.r?« ' °^ '^^^'^^ ^y S^^ J«^h"^ Reynolds, was S?r* 
Huberts own sanctum. There was a big writing-taUe 
elaborately set out with blotter and hu^^ inksSnd 

of work ^A Z"CK ' '.^S^'r ^^^^ - P'pe- o?:r^' 
H^icT ; • ^ Chippendale bookcase, easy-chairs ud- 

tlSnft^tSLf^vlT'"' ^"' ^ ^^^^^ ^^^^' ^<idS--e. 
iiung 10 me roo:n s impressiveness. 

i -n I bnng you anything, milord ? " 

8 



"4 



" CONCERT PITCH " 










" Yes." The cocktails had made him thirsty. " Bring 
me a whisky and soda." 

Manuella had spent a day in bed, then a day or two 
in her room, wondering if Waldo would call or write, 
show some interest in her health. She did not 'know 
that Dr. Shorter had advised her wedding should be 
postponed, although she knew that whatever he had said 
Sir William had contradicted. When Waldo neither 
came nor wrote she was something more than disappointed, 
her worst fears seemed confirmed. 

On the third day of her seclusion she had the strangest 
possible letter from Harston Migotti, asking her to meet 
him sa5ang he had hung about the door hoping to see 
her, that he had somethir^ he must say to her. She did 
not answer the letter, because, before she had time to do 
so, she met him accidentally. It was the morning when 
Lord Lyssons came back to London. Her headache 
better, but not gone, tired of her room, wearied of her 
thoughts, not exactly unhappy, but restless, taking her 
maid with her, she went for a walk in the Park. She 
would have ridden, but walking was less trouble. It was 
warm and sunny, and her spirits revived directly she was 
outside the house. She had not an idea of meeting any- 
one, although it was true that Lord Lyssons was an 
early riser. She met the young musician before she had 
been walking ten minutes, and was glad. It saved her 
from answering his letter, and over and over again she 
had wanted to tell him how sorry and ashamed she had 
been of her stepmother's behaviour, and to assure him of 
her continued interest in his opera. She showed her 
pleasure in the encounter, perhaps too plainly, or perhaps 
he was misled by his own feeUngs and took hers for 
granted. " May I walk a little with you ? " he asked, 
after the preUminaries had been got through. 

" Of course. I am going into Kensington Gardens. 
Isn't it a lovely morning? You'll tell me about the 
opera, won't you ? I meant to write to you, but I've 
been ill.'' 

He talked of the opera ; the libretto was finished,]^also 



"CONCERT PITCH" ,,5 

the overture, and many of the numbers. The maid 
behaved as discreetly as French maids are in the habit of 
domg. They were alone under the trees when he began 
by saymg he hoped she had not been reproached upon 
his account the other day. and to tell her that the hour 
he spent with her had been the happiest in his life. 

It IS the inspiration for which I have been waiting. 
I^knew It then, or even before that. I know it better 

K ^"".u^! intense surprise he burst out that he loved 

unde^'t^od him^^ *'^^ ""^ ^" ^^-P^^^^' *^^* ^^« 

•' You will listen to my music, and I shall dedicate 

in^ .^'!?: ^?" "^ '^"^ "^y '°"^" She wa3 shocked 
and tried to stop him, agitated, and tried to reason with 
lum. wanted to get up and run away. He poured out 
impassioned phrases. 

i« l^ '^ because it is new to you. you did not know I 
loved you ; I did not know it myself. ' They never loved 

it wirthat"^* ^* ^''^^ ^'^^*'' ^ ^''"' P^* ^ ^- ^ «>««« 

All she wanted was to get away, she did not know how 
to answer him. Although agitated and half frightened 
she was vety sorry for him. and anxious not to hurt his 
teelings She was never so glad in her Ufe as when the 
discreet French maid came forward and said it was time 
they went home, for it was nearing the lunch hour. She 
said incoherently that she was dreadfully sorry, and she 
was sure he could not mean it. 

" I am afraid it is awfully late ; we shall have to drive 
nome even now. I can't stay. . ." 

" But I must see you again." 

He undw-stood her to say she was sure they would meet 
agam. When they parted he had not an idea he had 
been rejected. It was natural she should be agitated. 
"^w*i himself agitated, excited, exhilarated ; this was 
quite different from the ordinary emotions. He had of 

^uTf!' J^" 'V''''^ ^^^^^' ^"t "ever like this, never in 
tne least like this. 



ii6 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



f'i 

I i 



1.1 



u 






I 1^ 



* Manuella escaped from him with her maid. She was 
very sorry for lum, and astonished he should be in love 
with her after having seen her only three times. When 
she had got over the amazement of it, and was once 
more in her own room, she was perhaps a little flattered. 
Supposing it had been Lord Lyssons who had said such 
things to her, such wonderful things ! The supposition 
grew into daydreams that were like fairy tales, and lasted 
through lunch time and the afternoon. 

" You are the light of my life, my inspiration ; I do 
not love, I adore, you." These were the things the 
strange young man had said to her under the trees. 

Supposing Lord Lyssons had uttered them I Lord 
Lyssons being an Englishman, without that admixture 
of ItaUan blood and sentimental German training to which 
Harston Migotti owed his eloquence, was very unlikely 
ever to indulge in such rhapsodies. But, ignorant of 
ethnology, she had her happy dreaming. 

And, because she was always highly imaginative and a 
creature of moods, it seemed like the continuation of her 
afternoon dreaming when Claire came up to her in the 
evening, just when she was preparing to go to bed and 
dream there, to say Lord Lyssons was below, and wished 
to speak with her. She had not seen him for three days, 
and now she heard he was here. 

She ran down impulsively, never stopping to change her 
dress, or adjust her hair, just as if she had been sixteen 
instead of eighteen and without any of the advantages 
of Loetitia's training. She was never quite such a child 
again after this evening ; her fine impulsiveness and high 
courage were ingrained in her, but something of her igno- 
rance fell away, of her fearless innocence. 

She ran down when she heard Lord Lyssons was 
waiting in the library to see her, her luxuriant hair in a 
loose knot low on her neck. She actually wore that old 
school blouse, the red one, m which he had first seen 
h«r. She had outgrown it a. it was open at the throat, 
the slender girlish throat, on which the lovely head was 
set so superbly. Never had he seen her look more charm- 



" CONCERT PITCH " 1 17 

mg. more attractive. And his eyes were a Uttle hot. 
He tned to collect himself : 

'' Hallo ! that you ? " 

" Who did you think it was ? " 

" So you're better ? " 

" I'm quite all right." 

!! And the wedding need not be put off." 
Was it going to be ? " 

orH.S"f'^°«^ "ST. *° ^y y°" ^»^"'* know Shorter 
ordered it off. BeUairs says there is nothing at all the 

matter with you. Are you glad or sorr). there is to be 
no postponement ? ' 

t;.ik!.n2'^.'^^''!l^ "^^^^l ^^^ ^^^ °" *^« top o* the cock- 
tails and it had loosened his tongue. She went pale, but 

thLTt flTd''^^ """"^ ^'^^'^^^ ^^ overwhehningly 

II That depends on what you are." 

"Oh! does it? Am I glad or sorry ? Let me think. I 
suppose I ought to have no doubt about it 

Never never in any crisis of his life, couid Waldo 
Lyssons find the appropriate word. 

Manuella. standing when he first began to question 
her. now took the comer of the sofa. The red blouse, 
her dark hair, and pale face, against the green leather, 
made a picture Nicholson would have Hked to paint 

He told her so, going over to where she sat. flinging 
hunself into the opposite comer. 

.>,^^i!^''?^^\^? ^^"^ ^^^^' ^^^^ o^ ^n». in her eyes, and 
that she shrank further into her comer 

"Of course you hate the idea of being married, you 
don't care a bit about me ? " ^ 

He may have been mistaken in thinking she shrank 
from him ; she was sitting quite still now. His long arm 
went out. and he drew her towards him. She may have 
been reluctant, or too surprised for resistance, but he drew 
her face to his own, and found her lips, her generous respon- 
sive lips He sought her lips and found them. Nowhe 
forgot she was a child and remembered only that she was 
soon to be his wife. He held her tighUy. kissing her long 



n 



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|! ■ 



i| 






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'I 



and her heart went out to him as if it were water flowing* 
It seemed like that because she had no resentment of 
that long kiss ; she yielded to it, and felt the warmth 
stealing through her. She wantei** to hide her eyes, not 
her lips, from him. When at length he released her, she 
hid both lips and eyes on his shoulder, she was warmed all 
through and tingling. They sat like that a long time. 

" We know now, don't we ? " he whispered. 

When he began to speak, his tongue halted, his words 
were lame ; they were elliptical words and few, not in the 
least like Harston Migotti's fiery eloquence. But she 
would have understood, she would surely have under- 
stood, because she as surely responded. She never knew 
what he said, but that she answered, I love yon, I love 
you," feverishly in answer 'to something, she was sure; 
cruelly sure, as the event proved. 

She had her head on his shoulder and her eyes hidden, 
and her words, although whispered, were loud in her 
ears: 

•' / hve you." 

What was happening? He put her away from him 
quickly, abruptly. He had risen and was no longer 
beside her on the sofa, her eyes were no longer hidden, 
and the vibration of her words was loud in the room. 
Discordant and harsh against it she heard her stepmother's 
voice, her stepmother's astonished voice : 

" Manuella ! Waldo ! At this hour ! on the sofa ..." 

Manuella gave a short, confused laugh : 

" Well I this time, at least, it is not an itinerant 
musician." 

" A vagrant peer," put in Lord Lyssons quickly. 

" I must confess, I am surprised." 

" Always been Uke that, from my cradle upward— before, 
I believe. Can't see a pretty girl without kissing her. . ."' 

A greater libel upon himself could not have been 
uttered, nor any sentence more incongruous with his 
mood. He wanted to cover his mood and hers, to 
protect her from Lcetitia's tongue. That secret he had 
surprised was for themselves alone, the secret so exquisite 



(( 



CONCERT PITCH " 



119 



ajd new She would give herself to him ! He could not 
think coherently, far less speak. He stiU felt her head on 
his shoulder, the warm young generous lips against his 
own. ^ 

" Rotten of me, isn't it ? I am always doing things 
like that. I suppose I ought not to have come at 
au. 

" }} I* a surprise to me. a most unpleasant surprise, 
bir Hubert became suddenly unwell, we w« e compelled 
to return. Then, to find you here. Manuella alone with 
you . . in dishabUUt" 

" I agree, I thoroughly agree, the whole affair is most 
reprehensible." 

iir',,^^® ^** ordered complete rest, early hours. Sir 
WiUiam was most particular that she should keep her 
room." *^ 

He must stand between her and this woman's tongue 
say anything to silence her : 

" There is not the shadow of an excuse for me I 
quite agree with you. But I heard she was out this 
morning. ..." 

"Out?" 

"J" Kensington Gardens, with that itinerant musician 
of hers." He had no longer the slightest fear of the 
young man, the slightest jealousy ; her lips had told him 
aU that he wished to know. " So I thought I had better 
come and see that he had not cut me out." The lightness 
of his speech was inconceivable. 

"In Kensington Gardens, with—with that person I 
Manuella. surely this disgraceful story is not true ? I 
understood you were keeping your room — " 

" Disgraceful I Come now, come now. Lady Wagner 
Why shouldn't she walk in the Park with him ? H he 
were not itinerant, he wouldn't walk. You agree with 
me there, surely. Sit down; let us talk about the 
wedding. You wrote me it was not to be put off. 
Manudla here says she is glad of it. Shorter is an ass. 
I've been stopping away, thinking whether I ought not to 
take his advice, notwithstanding the great Bellaire. . . . 



mmmm 



130 



" CONCERT PITCH »' 






I ' 



If 




! I 



And now I hear she is just Uke you, would not have it 
put off for anything. ..." 

Manuella had hardly heard a word, until loud and clear 
as her own words in the room she heard these. She had 
been stunned to deafness by his others. 

" / can't tu a pretty girl without kissing her." 

^li^"" V i! ''^''^ >' .""!?"*• ^J* *"**"* ^ And she had 
said . I love you to him. The flood of her heart that 
had gone out to him ebbed slowly, painfully back icv 
cold, stopping her breath, submerging and stunning 

'.' ^!^ ** i**^ '»** y^' ^ouU not have it put off for any- 

She was being forced on him, and she had told him that 
she loved him I He could tell her stepmother, make light 
of it I She burned with shame, choked with shame 

She never heard what her stepmother had to say of her 
meeting with the musician, nor understood that her true 
lover was but trying to protect her, give her time to 
recover herself. She only wanted never to hear his voice 
again, never to hear him speak. Her hatred of her step- 
mother WM as nothing compare, vith her hatred of him 
as he stood thCTe. and, as she imagined, made fun of what 
had happened between them, of that kiss, the flood of love 
that had earned her to him. What had been bom in her 
with that long and tender kiss died, died in agony not 
to be revived for many a long, misguided day. 

I don't want to marry you in three weeks, or at all 
. . . I never said I wouldn't have it put off for anything '' 
Her cheeks were scarlet, her eyes burning. 

It was to Waldo she spoke, but Lcetitia could not ' 
understand about the morning walk and pursued the 
subject relentlessly. 

" You are surely not going to permit her to continue 
her acquaintance with that person ? " 

Waldo tried to divert her, and said that he did not 
suppose Manuella would be satisfied with his own com- 
pamonship; jested, and said for his part he wasn't 
musical, couldn t grow his hair long ; ManueUa's taste was 



" CONCERT PITCH " ui 

J^r ** ^'''^' ^^^ ™^* '"^«J«e her tastes, and I 

nune ; you cannot put old heads ujwn young shoulders. . ." 

to DiTvlahr""^'''*.'^ everything. He had but meant 
InHa!?.! ?, '"« conductor, to bring the storm lightly 

^rnn • ' M ^ u^ *"«^^^ °' ^^' ^^^^tion. Said the n ost 
mconceivable things : that she hated LoM Lyssons aSd 

lo^d h.r 5^"' ""^"""T '^^ "^^^' *^^ «»»« knew he 
ioved her. and was proud of it. 

ic7*'^ «fT^'. '*^" ^J*^ lightning became winter sleet and 

n ih.^^ ^"""^ci ^^"^ ^*^'^ P^'t'O"' spoke to the girl 
m the old way. She said she was " not surprised " • fhe 
was coldly disgusted and acrimonious. ^^ ' 
v..„ li " °*- ^"""^ ^^^ Lyssons' concern if he permits 
^ w^/°?""? **"' extraordinary acquaintance." 
thaYnt^/r^M- "^ .r^'" ?^^""""* ^^ ^^« ^*ed him ; 

uu Z^®, '^"^^ sh^ ^'d not niean what she said and 
^though she had obviously lost her temper. he^S;«^h1 
It was only w,th Lr^titia. and was not suiSri^ed ^^ 
He bantered her and said he was sorry he was so 

opinion. '" '"'"■"'"^ '^ ^^^ ^^ °' *^^ ^"^ 

tell '^ arL^'^^^cv^' '" *^^ "^°''"^"&- You ' never can 
rh^'n. ^'""^ f ^^^' '^y^- ^^t and see ; you may 
chai^ge your mmd again. You were quite fond of me 
an hour or two ago ; it -may return." " oi me 

^"^^^11 "^"""^^ certainly not leave them alone again it 
^« "1 *?'[^ ""^ °"^y «"^ ^^"6 to do. to get away 
He had his misgivings about leaving the eiri with her • 

l!IT>m *° ^ "^°^* '""y ^^^^d. l^U he^hou^i? tlSy 
For ^V? K^ ,^ ^"y°"^ *° ^^'^^ ' ^tween thfm now^ 
k2tl^',T.* V"^^ ^"^ ^^"*^^' '^^' ^^ had meant at 
iSf, f ^h '^ •''• ^"^ ^ *^ Manuella. The woman's talk 
about the musiaan was absurd, out of place : Manuella 
would know he took no heed of it. To-moi^ow hi Sd^ 



3 jjmgH 



mmmm 



122 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



her alone again, try to tell her something of what he felt 
for her, what her kiss had meant to him. But he thought 
she understood ; she had already flushed to womanhood 
in his arms. He knew his were arms to hold her against 
herself, against the world; she needed understanding, 
sympathy— everything she had never had. And he 
would give all this to her, full measure, brimming over. 



lii 



If 11; 



CHAPTER XI 



T ORD LYSSONS had not the least idea thac'it was 
L^ he and not her stepmother, who had hurt the 
girl— so hurt her that Loetitia, although she said all the 
wrong things, not only that evening and the next morning, 
reiteratmg them, was only partly responsible for the 
result. 

" Directly my back is turned you do something out- 
rageous. Either I find you sitting with a strange young 
man, or together on the sofa hke— like a cook and a 
pohceman. No wonder Lord Lyssons thinks hghtly of 
you. If It had not been for me. the wedding would 
have been put off. perhaps abandoned. I knew what 
was behind that letter from Dr. Shorter. He wanted 
It postponed— told the man what to say. I wonder 
how many people saw you walking in the Park with that 
person. I don't know where your sense is, your sense of 
shame. Was it not enough that you should have behaved 
so ^spcefuUy to Lord Calingford. to the Duke of 
aann i Let me tell you. we were astonished— yes. and 
very grateful, when Lord Lyssons came forward. It was 
not easy, don't imagine it was easy. Lady SaUust spoke 
to him and then to me. Your father promised he would 
do as much as he would have done for the Duke. You 
are the most ungrateful girl I think I have ever met. and 
1 have had some experience with girls. You must have been 
mad when you talked as you did last night. Of course, I can 

133 



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" CONCERT PITCH » 



li 1|> 



make allowances ; you were startled when you knew Lord 
Lyssons heard of your escapade ; I don't wonder at it. 
But he is a very honourable person, although eccentric 
and greatly in need of money. He will forgive ,ou, 
I have no doubt he will forgive you, if you take back all 
you said; you ought to go down on your knees to 
him. . . ." 

This was not all she said, not nearly all, but the rest 
was on the same note, hardening Manuella, although she 
only heard half of it. Manuella did not want Lord Lyssons 
to forgive her, she wanted to be able to hurt him. There 
were hours in the night when she could not bear that he 
should be in the world at all, when she wished he were 
dead. Because she had said " I love you " to him, and 
he had laughed ! Perhaps it would hurt him to know he 
was not going to have her money. She would not 
marry him, not if there was not another man in the 
world, whereas there was any number of them, and one, 
Mr. Harston Migotti, had written her this morning to 
say that he adored her, asking her to run away with 
him. 

When Lord Lyssons came, she could think of nothing 
but how to obhterate what she had told him. She wenc 
down to see him in the smaller drawing-room. He looked 
very tall and thin, and his expression was kind. She 
knew that, and that there was no one hke him. She 
looked away from him because she knew it ; the glass 
he was continually trying to keep in his eye, that he was 
replacing only this minute, could not disguise jt. She 
tried to see his faults, to criticize him. He was not a 
dressy man, and if his valet did his hair he ought to have 
changed his valet. He had rowed when he was young, 
and his hands were oarsman's hands. It was impossible 
she had liked him to kiss her. She contrasted him with 
Harston Migotti, who had fallen in bve with her at first 
sight, and now wished her to run away with him. She 
forced herself to remember his Beethoven brow and golden 
hair, his ardent eyes. She had such a pain in her heart 
when she turned away from Lord Lyssons and con- 



t 



M 



"CONCERT PITCH" 125 

1"^}^^ Sr ^**^ H.^ton Migotti that she could not 
speak. She was afraid to face him, she wished hrwould 
go away, and bewildered him by he; manner ^ 

fK , K. r^^* ^^^^ ^ ^°"^- «o^ have I altered? I 
thought last night at one time you were rather fond 

"Well, I wasn't ; I was only pretending 

He couldn't understand it. suspected Loetitia! wavered 

ft .""n/^f ^'^ ""^r^^- «^ ^°^d "«t have Sed 
in/v. /'*,• • • y'* ' '^' ^^^ "«^ t^^at she hated him 
and had only pretended He went over and .tood before 

" Look at me." 

•l^"^""!!* "^^"^ ^"^ ^"^^ ^* you." She covered her face 
with her hands, a childish trick. 

He took her hands down from her face ienorinp hpr 
efforts to thrust him away from her ^ ^ "^ 

" Tell me the exact truth, the entire truth. I must hear 
It. Ix>okatmef" But that she could not do. "Hav^ 
they forced me upon you in the same way they triS to 

D^n't ^ ?ri?>,. f°l^f^ *° ^^* °^ '"^^ge postponed ? 
Don t be fnghtened, tell me the tmth ; I oiSy vUt to 
know the truth. Speak I " ^ 

^nJ^'kT ^ *^r u'^^^h '^'■^"S^ oarsman's hands of his 
and the way he held those struggling ones of hers, gave 

tJt ^^*^\^",he^ breath, that^ontraction if^hlr 
heart because she feared his breath, and that he might 
tass her again, and again she might want to Wde he^Sce 

Ztl f^^"^ ^'^r '^' ^^ overwhelmed by hS 
feehng. and did not know how long she could dis^iSs^ 
it ;^ she pushed him away with all hef strength ^ 

I hate you. I hate you," she said. But " love " 
would have been the truer word 

hi^^ ^Hr^"'' f *^*»^ta"ding that she said she hated 

st felt^Un^e^^^^^ "^"^^"* ^'^ ^^ ^--*-^e that 

"Poor kid I You haven't had a chance hav*» vn,o 

Not . five minutes' start." His voice w^Str^^Si/^; 



f 



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IV 



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« CONCERT PITCH » 



11^ 



low, and his manner had altered completely. Certainly 
he was taking her seriously now, but it was difficult for 
him wO change his habit of speech. 

" Think it over again. I'm afraid there's a devil of a 
time before you if you don't. We'll take Shorter's advice 
and postpone it. I'll go to Norway — anywhere — stay 
away until the end of the season. You can't mean to 
throw me over altogether." 

She dared not look at him, and thought of nothing 
but how to tell him that what she said last night was 
not true ; she did not love him, she hated him — hated him. 

" I don't care where you go or what you do. I'm not 
going to marry you. I'd rather die. . ." 

" Why not hve ? " He let f o his hold of her when 
he said it ; he hardly knew what he was sa5dng. 

It was impossible her feeling for him could have changed 
in so short a time. She would not have kissed him if 
she had not loved him ; he knew that, and how straight 
she was, and impulsive. He almost stumbled upon the 
truth. 

" Look here ! it wasn't anything I said, was it ? Not 
because I played the fool with Lady Wagner ; trying to 
mislead her ? " 

" No ! " 

" You are sure ? " 

" I'm sure I want you to go away." 

" You won't say anything more than that, you won't 
give me a chance ? " 

" I can't say more than that I hate the sight of you." 

" But you didn't — " he persisted, " you didn't hate the 
sight of me last night." 

That he reminded her again was the worst of all. She 
became furious, and showed him that ungovernable 
temper of which Loetitia had felt it her duty to advise 
him. It did not repel him, he thought nothing at all 
of it. She might stamp her foot and flash her eyes and 
say hard things to him, but what he vranted to know 
was what was at the root of it. He was more, not less, 
in love with her at the end of the interview, and tiot 






" CONCERT PITCH " 



127 



convinced, not really convinced, that she was telling him 
the truth when she said she hated him. 

"You think you hate me. I don't believe you do a 
bit," were almost his last words, infuriating her. And 
as he turned and left the room slowly, he heard her say 
it was his conceit, h's horrid vanity, that made him 
disbelieve it. When he had gone away he thought he 
heard her sobbing, and went back. But she had shut the 
door, and held it against him ; he could not persist. 

****** 

All the hullabaloo there had been when she broke off 
her engagement with the Duke of Banff was doubled and 
redoubled when she dismissed Lord Lyssons in this 
summary fashion. Lord Lyssons did his best for her. 
As he told her, he knew Loetitia would give her a devil of 
a time. He left the house after that abortive interview 
without attempting to see Lady Wagner. And after he 
had thought matters over as well as he was able tor his 
pain, he wrote : 

" Dear Lady Wagner, 

"I have been thinking over that report of Sir 
WiUiam's. It must, of course, be a great satisfaction to 
you to have your judgment confirmed. But I have an 
idea nevertheless that Tom Shorter is the better man, that 
we had better stick to his advice. I'm sure a neat 
paragraph will occur to you. You could say, for instance, 
that I have gone to Heligoland with a camera. Your 
appreciation of the political situation will suggest an 
explanation of why the wedding is postponed until the 
end of the season. . . ." 

What he wanted to bring out was that it was " post- 
poned," not abandoned ; he wanted that reassurance for 
himself. To Lady Sallust he wrote also : 

I' Best of Aunts, 

" Have you ever heard of the ' Kinchin Lay ' ? 
I'm sure you have not ; it's East End slang, not Lime- 



128 



« CONCERT PITCH » 



=id 



I' 



house oratory. I can't play the part I undertook, I've 
torn up the copy. Somerset House must do its worst. 
Gilbert may have to leave ofl writing poetry and take 
to mathematics, but tell him not to hurry ; he can pursue 
the high-sounding hexameter until he hears again. Be 
kind to the girl if you get a chance." 

Lady Sallust did not understand the letter at all until 
she had seen Loetitia, and then she understood it less than 
before. 

The condition of Lcetitia's mind is not difl&cult to 
comprehend. Here was the girl on her hands again, 
and probably a horrible scandal connected with her. 
Everybody knew or said that the Duke of Banff had 
thrown her over ; now Lord Lyssons was leaving England 
on the eve of his marriage. It was entirely characteristic 
that Loetitia should attribute this last to the discovery of 
an intrigue between the girl and that " mountebank," 
and express it coarsely. There are few things as coarse 
as the woman who talks about her " refinement." Manuella 
had hardly given a serious thought to Harston Migotti 
until her stepmother accused her of an intrigue with him. 
Afterwards . . . but it were better that events should 
appear in their sequence. 

When Lady Wagner received Lord Lyssons' letter 
and realized the contumacy with which the girl had 
received her advice, she became Loetitia Briarley with a 
refractory pupil, the stepmother who had not hesitated 
to use a cane, soUtary confinement, bread and water, 
in early efforts to subdue " one of the worst children she 
had ever known ! " She was one of the worst children, and 
she had grown up into one of the worst girls. Lady 
Wagner told her so now, and in unmistakable language. 
She did not condescend to argue, she threatened. She 
said this " disgraceful and indecent conduct " could not 
be permitted, she was not " going to be allowed to dis- 
grace them all, she had gone too far. ..." 

Manuella did not even defy her at first, maintaining a 
contemptuous silence. When Loetitia spoke of Harston 



I 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



129 

Migotti and said inconceivable things about their tpI^, 

moLd^'r^h^'i' "'* ^"^" undei^ta^nd what wS iSn " 
implied. That her stepmother abused him c^jZa hil 
a mountebank or an adventurer, made he; ho In hS 
tt deTndtm'"'^^ ^" ^^^^^ ' ''^ ^"^^ not condi" enli^ 
f.^i-l^?*'*'^' ^"^ ^*h that "position to keen un " 

I"*«-'" the. public. Sir HuCTad te„%Xn iU 
drcutta^: '^^"'"°" "^ "^=^°"'""'= """er the 

" On account 0/ the smous illness o/ Sir Hubert Wa„^ 

f„r"'T.,*^r" M« Wagner and th eITo Z^sZ 
ts unavoidably postponed." ^yssons 

fS!^ ^?u ^ '^°''^" """^^^ and diets he had not vet 

tned-Vibro-massage. for instance, and St. Ivelmi^k ^ 
The next announcement wrs that : 

f/«'Jw ^"''^"\"'' ^f ^he continued indisposition of Sir 
Hubert Wagner he ts compelled to cancel aU engagemenls '' 

™ h7r wouTd\'^-'^S!"^ *^^ ^'^'' chastised or 
r^^^a'c '• T ^ ^^""^ ^" a* *his time entirely to 

LT frh r""*;- ^"* ^" "^" ^ a complicated world 
and such primitive action was impossible with a riri of 
nearly eighteen. To say that, before thrremofal to 
Gau-och, and durmg the journey, she nagged her con 
muaUy. m season and out. is to put the cS very Tm^^^^^^^ 
Lady Wagner lost no opportunity of pointing Lt hat 



r^ 



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" CONCERT PITCH " 





i - 



Manuella had disgraced her family, that on her account 
ttiey would be socially ostracised. Manuella' s reasoning 
powers were almost deadened by the repeat'jc blows from 
Loetitia's flail-like phraseology. That must be counted 
as an excuse for her. When she dashed off a foolish 
letter to Migotti, just before they started, she had no 
definite intention. He had seen the announcement of 
the postponed wedding, drawn his own conclusion and 
written her eloquently and passionately. She replied that 
her people were awfully angry with her and were carry- 
ing her off to Scotland. She added the address, and that 
she would like to hear how he was getting on with the 
opera. It was her protest against Loetitia's abuse of him. 
Nothing more. Although, perhaps, when she was hear- 
ing constantly how entirely evil she was, and outside the 
pale, it was a solace to read in his impassioned letter 
that she was adorable and beautiful, and that he was 
laying, not only himself, but his art at her feet. 

Arrived at Gairoch, there was a short lull in hostilities. 
Sir Hubert's nerves could not withstand the paragraphs, 
and he developed in earnest the illness that had been 
prematurely announced. The attention of the house 
became concentrated upon him, and Manuella was left 
to herself. Even those few days were sufficient to justify 
Dr. Shorter. Porridge and cream, plain food and open 
air brought back the colour to the girl's cheeks, strengthen- 
ing her for what was in front. 

Loetitia heard from Lady Sallust. Nominally she wrote 
to inquire after Sir Hubert, really to tell of a letter from 
Waldo, in Norway, in which he asked to be kept informed 
of Sir Hubert's progress. Lady Sallust had cut out the 
extract and enclosed it: 

" / hofe I am not considered a recalcitrant lover, because 
I could not resist the salmon. Have you by any charge 
seen my fiancee? Keep me posted in Wagner news. I 
expect to be back before the autumn." 

Lady Sallust added her conunent : 



fi 



** CONCERT PITCH " 



What 'rtTtlX tgtS'coranir Tld"*"- 

bv thi<; fimA ckI V°^titia gave him her own version • 

by this time she was quite persuaded it was th- true one' 

You may be able to influence her. If she con' - K- 
';hnrHnff c*«*^ r» x "**" tigdui. nis aitairs are m a. 

bauust. that I am myself writing to Lord Lvssons^d 
am conveymg her regrets, her Contrition. sTemS^t 

him "^ ' ^'^^^ °^ ^" intercourse with 

11 i ^y* y°" ^OW' this is simply tommv-rnt " xi 
liked the expression and reoeated it ^""^^^^ '^°*- He 

caUit! Wh'^3istheLX.l;^ayp'^TorcL 
;; Who said I was going to marry him ? " 

9* 



133 



« CONCERT PITCH '» 






■f 



get Lord Lyssons back, his affairs are in no end of a 
mess. . . . This other fellow, now, he isn't even a gentle- 
man. It isn't worth the row. She is in the devil's own 
rage. She says you arc mad. she will get you locked 
up, she's capable of it, you know. Sir William Bellairs 
will say anything he is toll. . . ." 

" So will you, it seems. I don't care what she says, or 
docs. I'm not a child any more. I never heard people 
talk Uke you all do about musicians. Harston Migotti 
is a genius. ..." 

" Genius be damned ! I suppose you mean he's 

got long hair ! " 

She did not want to q\iarrel with Albert, n( r he with 
her, and she did not care in the least about Harston 
Migotti, although she defended him. She received almost 
daily letters fron. him ; he had an idea now that she was 
b ing persecuted for his sake ; he wrote wonderful love- 
letters. It was really only in defiance of Loetitia that she 
encouraged and answered them. 

" You are not going to make an absolute ass of your- 
self ? You are not going to throw this bombshell, this 
organ-grinder, at us ? " 

" I'm going to do whatever I choose." 

With reluctant admiration he said she'd got any amount 

of pluck : 
" You don't mean a word of it, you know. But you 

always did like fighting her." 

" And always shall." 

He was in no hurry to go to Loetitia with the story of 
Manuella's defiance. He lounged about the grounds with 
his sister and went on talking ;• although he had nothing 
more illuminating to say than that it was " rot," or " bally 
rot." or " tommy-rot," that she would have to " climb 
down," so " why not do it at once ? " and other similar 
futiUties. All through her childhood she had known 
Albert admired her when she fought Loetitia, although 
he never followed her example. Loetitia slapped her 
often in those 'lys, hard vindictive slaps, and one day 
she had bitten Loetitia's hand. The solitary confine- 



" CONCERT PITCH " 133 

S hi!S* Jk"°'^k'^ i""^' '^'y *° ^^'•' because Latitia's 

••You've always had pluck ; I wish I had " 

bv aTon^'t^fj"ij\*-°'' '^""f '■eluctantly. and was followed 
by a long tale of his own troubles and difficulties Thev 
were utterly ^rdid but he seemed to like talking about 
them He said he had once been in love himself when he 
was sixteen, with a " boys' maid." as thevTere Tasted-! 
a servant m his house at Eton. In exaspSltTon she infeT 
rupted to say she had never been in love, she wasn't 
m love, didn't know what he meant. Then she e?L 
scarlet, and so made him exclaim : ^ 

•' What's the good of denying it ? Girls can't h*»l« 

Sjfn't"?'"" '■ "'^ ' ""^ "^'^ " '^'- Why luW ;„„'t 

,„^° ™^™dered about chorus-girls, barmaids, girls in 
tobacconists' shops. She shut her ears acaW «,. 
sordid talk he poured into them. I was onll wL Sc 
sa,d again that Lcetitia was goir^g to wn oTordllSoSs 
that she became excited. « i-yssons 

" She is not to write to him. I won't have it ; I forbid 
It. I swear I II run away with Harston Migotti if T 
^^^ ,"^ ^^^" * think I've sent for him." ^ 

Tell her so yourself, then. / shan't ; I've got to keen 
on good terms with her-got to. I tell you ! '' ^ ^ 

She did not stoi> to think, for it was not her way Thev 
would make him believe she wanted him. whether he 

fZ^!""' ^r °' "''' • *h^* '^^ ^^ "ke the giris of whom 
Albert spoke, who had no dignity 

hrnti'^^^'' ^u^^? .""" *° ^^' stepmother's room, and 
broke m upon her without ceremonyf 

" Albert says you are going to write to Lord Lvssons " 
Her face was flushed her eyes full of tears and baide 
T A „7^** ^"^ ^ indebted for the honour of this visit ? " 
r^m hS'T '"""^ "^^"^ ^^' stepdaughter came into the 

sohtude by this disgraced and disgraceful girl. ManuelU 



f 



134 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



-dS 



tn 



looked beautiful in this mood, but naturally Lady Wagner 
set no value on her beauty. She only saw the old obstinacy 
and evil temper. 

" Are you going to write to him ? " 

" Would you kindly allow me at least the privilege of 
soUtude ? Your behaviour becomes worse and worse. As 
I was telling your brother, it may become necessary to 
consult Sir William Bellairs. . . . Will you go ? " 

" Not until you've answered me." 

" I am certainly thanking Lord Lyssons for his extra- 
ordinary delicacy, his consideration." 

" Asking him to come back ? " 

" I will not be cross-questioned. I don't know what 
things are coming to." 

" Don't you ? Well, you can. They're coming to 
this : if you write to Lord Lyssons I'll nm away with 
Harston Migotti. I swear I will. I won't be thrust on 
Lord Lyssons. He doesn't care about me. . . ." She 
was beside herself, scarlet in the face. 

" Who could ? " Loetitia answered coldly. " Not that 
that has anything to do with it ; he probably found you 
exceedingly forward. Care about you ! One would think 
you were a housemaid ! " 

Of course, the words had escaped Manuella unwittingly ; 
she would have done anj^hing to recall them. Perhaps 
her stepmother would put that in her letter, that she 
complained he did not care for her ! 

"I swear I'll run away with Harston Migotti if you 
write." 

" I am not to be moved by threats. You are interrupt- 
ing my morning's work. I wish you to imderstand that 
until you recollect yourself, and your duty to me and 
your father, until you leave off talking and thinking of 
this disgusting person, I wish for no intercourse with you ; 
no intercourse to which I am not compelled. You will 
probably find he, too, will not wish to be burdened with 
you if your father cuts you off with a shilling, as he will 
do, as he will certainly do, if you don't alter your ways. 
Go away ! " 



" CONCERT PITCH »» 



»35 



Manuella did not go. She stormed and raged, and even 
begged her stepmother not to write to Lord Lyssons Her 
life seemed to hang on it. 

Loetitia remained calm. She kept her pen in her 
hand, her eyes on the paper belore her, dipping it in the 
mk now and then, holding it suspended. " How much 
longer." she seemed to say, " how raach longer are you 
gomg to stand there, saying those uulady-hke things, 
keeping me from my correspondence ? I have no more 
to say to you." 

Manuella flung herself out of the room in the end. half 
maddened by this exasperating and contemptuous calm, 
banging the door behind her. confirming Loetitia" s worst 
opinion of her manners. 

Albert met her outside. 

" Didn't get any good out of her, I suppose ? " 

She could not even speak to him. 

In the evening, ostentatiously placed upon the hall- 
table, ready for the post, in such a position that it was 
impossible to miss it, was a letter in Loetitia's precise and 
pointed hand- writing, addressed to the " Right Honourable 
the Earl of Lyssons." 

At dinner Loetitia said she hoped Manuella had recovered 
herself, 

♦♦»*♦« 
At five o'clock the next morning, after a night of 
unreasoning rage. Manuella went from Gairoch. leaving 
girlhood behind her. and so much more, rushing into the 
unknown. It was the mood in which children commit 
suicide ; one reads of such cases. She could not breathe 
under the same roof as her stepmother, 

Claire packed her box. Barker took it to the station. 
Never would she forget the journey, nor recall it without 
the same shuddering sense of unreality and terror. She 
had told them that if Lord Lyssons was written to she 
would run away with Harston Migotti, and she was going 
to keep her word. 

She drove to the station at five o'clock in the morning 
The two servants helped her, the others may have known 



136 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



H 



I . 





how to look the other way. Loetitia was not popular 
in the servants' hall, and her treatment of the girl was 
commented upon freely. 

In the crawlmg local trains, changing from one to 
another, dodgmg the pursuit that never came, she 
had alternations of feeling, hot fits, cold apprehensions. 
Her courage and her cowardice raced together in her 
heart-beats. At every change she looked for a familiar 
face, for the one who might have been sent to bring her 
back It was two days after she left Gairoch before she 
reached London. 

At home, at Gairoch, she was not missed until the 
mommg was far advanced.- Everyone in the house knew 
save Lady Wagner and Sir Hubert. Her own maid told 
Loetitia in the end— her own maid, who was not without 
gratification at being able to convey bad news, who did 
her duty with gusto. 

" Miss Wagner is not in her room, milady ; her bed 
has not been slept in. They are saying in the house as she 
has run away. I thought your ladyship ought to know." 

Loetitia, without her transformation, showing more 
skull than even Dr. Shorter had seen, changed colour, and 
the pmk m her nose deepened. For a wild moment she 
thought the girl had committed suicide. If that were 
so, an explanation of everything would be easy to find- 
Sutctde whilst of unsound mind." But the voice of her 
maid went on : 

'' She must have gone by the early morning train to 
Fitlochne. Nobody m the house knew nothing about it 
but her box has gone. Mary says ..." 

But Lady Wagner did not wish to hear what the house- 
maid had said. When she collected her thoughts she 
became haughty and imperious, commanding that she was 
to oe dressed quickly. 

"No one is to go to Sir Hubert with this news. TeU 
the household so. I shall inform him myself. . . ." 

To disbelieve the story, or even question it, was im- 
possible. It was just what the girl would have done 



" CONCERT PITCH » ,37 

toieS^hroL'hT'^, ^""^•" ^ ^^ Latitia as she 
whnl!_i, • ^^ ^^^ *°^^"^' "taking up her mind mean- 
^T^u-^ f exorable mind. " Miss Mkicey-Sv^ the 
Hutch children had caUed her in her governess davs 

less HnP A? "^' ^'P' "^^'^ ^'"^ "^^^ow and blood- 

never^a;tu1Sl T ^'- ^""^ ^"^ ^*^« ^^ ^^ ^he had 
Stv of. rf •^^ "'"'''^ "^^^^*«' "o^ achieved the 
dignity of a mamed woman. All virginity was outra^S 
Manuella had run away with her lover ! She w^^' 

ho^the^^^eT "tr ""^\"°* ^ mentt: JS Z 
consuiting Sir H^rf **"^,^°^^l"lo^ quickly, without 
confi^?! i^ V "^ °'" ^^*'"S *o hear her bad opinion 
^ 1^ sh'aTt^h """'"'V' ^'°^^ ^^^ ^^^* *h« bedroZ 
done'L'l I'lldt sTv^ h^?"' °^ her -tirely. I have 

habit of talking to her m^d bui ih^ n. ^^' "°* ^" *^^ 
tional " v«„ -11 , ' °"* *he occasion was excep- 

Ssed."'''^ """ ^^y '^^* ^ ^° "«^ ^^h the matter 

Hp^Sf^'^'?'^^^''^^*** ^™^ difficulty with Sir Hubert 
He d^d. indeed make a protest, but Loetitia was L S^^ 

eLfexdtement'f 'm ^^"""' " ^°"— ^ -^^ t^ 
enect excitement might have upon him. that he imarined 

she knew something about his health wWch he diTnn? 

T 1, ?^^" y°" *here was any tendency to apoolexv ? 
I have had anything but a good night.^ ThS sS^! 
^fore my eyes are only a sign of biliousness. lufab^rd 
to talk of washmg our hands of her. of lettinV her^o 

for'them* ^fr' '* "^t ""^^ ^ ^^^^^ is to'b^ do'ne 

in this ;tat? AlT""; ^ '^ ' ^" "P *° London myself 
m rns state. Albert must go. Did Sir William ^la 17 

anythmg about me that you%re keeping backT Do 

hese spots mean anything ? My hands are\ Htde shaky 

haken me^T ^*^T ^ 1^^^' ^ ' ' ^his n^^st^s 
snaken me. You don't recollect her mother ? Of ronrl 
you don't recoUect her mother; what am I sa^gT"^ 
think you had better telegraph for Sir WUh^^ ' 



I 



138 



" CONCERT PITCH 



J» 



■ -if 



" Sir William said you must be kept very quiet ; there 
is a tendency for the blood to rash to the head." 

Loetitia used every weapon in her arsenal, tried de- 
liberately to frighten him, took everything out of his 
hands. By the end of the day he was nearly as ill as 
he thought himself. Sir William charged two hundred 
guineas for the journey to Scotland, but what was money 
when Sir Hubert Wagner's eyes did not focus, when he 
felt a loss of power in one hand, and began to speak 
incoherently? Lady Wagner had some excuse for her 
decision that Manuella was not to be pursued. She had 
caosen to leave them ; her conduct had " flung her father 
on a bed of sickness ; " . they would " erase her name 
from the archives of the family ; Albert should be their 
only child." 

Loetitia never invented a phrase nor forgot one, and 
this was a juncture to which they all came appropriately. 

It was comparatively easy to act as she desired. Fear 
or excitement, treatment, or his sixty-fifth year, were 
responsible for a slight stroke. Even Sir William Bellairs 
was able to diagnose it. Many days afterwards, before 
that Uttle rapture in the brain was fully healed, Loetitia 
showed him an announcement of the marriage in a registry 
ofi&ce of " Manuella Wagner and Harston Migotti." 

" And she has never even written, she has made no 
inquiry, although the papers have been full of your illness. 
I have heard from everybody ; we have been inundated 
with telegrams, and most kind inquiries. But your 
daughter has ignored you entirely. ..." 

It may have been trae, Manuella may not have written. 
Loetitia can have the benefit of the doubt. Sir Hubert 
in his weakness, fell to whimpering, and said Loetitia was 
right ; she was an ungrateful daughter. 

From this time onwards, under fostering, what had 
been hypochondria became something very like mono- 
mania. Sir Hubert was really in no condition to resist 
his wife, nor defend his daughter; he could think of 
nothing but his health. 



CHAPTER XII 



MANUELLA arrived at Euston two days after she 
had left Gain ;h, her passion and herself exhausted, 
nothing but her obstinacy strong. She had telegraphed 
to Harston Migotti to meet her. He had asked her to 
come to him, and rather than Lord Lyssons should 
know she cared for him, she was here. 

She looked for him, putting her head out of the win- 
dows, straining her eyes, even before the train came to a 
standstill in the station. Then she got out and looked up 
and down the platform. He was not there. 

" Any luggage, misc ? " She was irresolute. The 
porter found her box, shouldered it, and waited foi 
direction. 

" I'd better have a cab." The telegram might have 
miscarried ; she had given it to a little paper boy only a 
few hours ago. 

"Where to? Where shall I tell him to drive? 
Thank you, miss." She tipped him, then hesitated an 
imperceptible moment. 

" Tell him to drive to the nearest hotel." 

" ' Temperance ' ? " 

There were several temperance hotels in the neighbour- 
hood, and they seemed to the man, grey-haired, and with 
a family of his own, more suitable to her youth than the 
" Euston." She was travel-stained and not well dressed 
and he gave her the best advice he knew. 

139 



140 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



y 



IMBi 



11 



a very 



Yes. No. Anywhere ! " she answered. 

I sho"ld try ' Leeson's,'" he said; "it's 
respectable house, miss," he said confidentiaUy. 

Lookin' for a situation," was his summary of the 
position, new to London." 

When the cab pulled up at the sordid house and she got 
out, her heart sank, her tired eyes filled with tears. She 
was ashamed of herself when she felt those tears in her 
eyes, and recognized the cause. " Leeson's " was so unUke 
Mone House, or Gairoch. But her whole life was going 

IL^ u"^'^^ *^^ x/^ '^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^tely ' she had kSowS 
tfiat aJl along. Nevertheless, the outside impression of 
tuis third-class temperance hotel, or boarding-house, 
made her heart smk. The cabman lumbered rheumatic- 
ally off his seat to help with her box. She rang, and a 
J^an waiter, young, not over clean, answered the 

" ^u ^f^?. ^ ^^^"^ ^ ^^v« you eot rooms ? " 
I will call Mr. Leeson." 

She did not hear the name, she was nervous, anxious 
mat no one should see it, pretending self-possession. 
bhe overpaid the cabman, following her box and the 
German waiter into the hall that smelt of mutton or 
candle-grease or many lodgers. She sat on a wooden 
cnair m the hall whilst the proprietor was being fetched. 
The desire to cry had left her ; she was entirely occupied 
m keepmg up the appearance of self-possession, as if aU 
tliat was happening was nothing new to her. She need 
not have troubled. Mr. Leeson was represented by his 
wife, a civil woman, with rheumy eyes, who was entirely 
commonplace, except for her tenses. These were 
grotesque, and misrepresented her mind. 

'' Would you be wanting a sitting-room as weU as a 
bedroom ? And what were you thinking of paying ? " 

Manuella had not the shghtest idea, but answered 
vaguely : 

'' Are they good rooms ? " 

'' Perhaps you would Uke to see them ? " 

' Yes, please." The rheumy-eyed woman turned a 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



HI 

im"*c»!'^''?'' ''°''®'^ ^y ^ ^""^^ Wouse irregularly hooked 
up showing gaps, and led the way upstairs 

w^ut°S f ' ^''°'" J"^ ^ ^'^"* '■^"^' ^*»er« there were 
wahiut-wood chairs and sideboard, saddlebag sofa and 
the same smell that dominated the hall. ^ * ^ 
1 He bedroom is behind ; there'U be a double bed in it 
w^oZ S? ^°^^ ^-^-^ ^* for? •• Mrs'^L^n 

Silitv^to?Ji?^\'"\""°^^*r- ^^"^"^ <^°ve^«d her 
mability to reply by askmg what was the price. 

ideawhefher'^f"^ *" '^/ *'™^ ' ^^^ ^^^ "«* the least 

1 1 J TV^ *^®"*'" s^® said indecisively. The woman 
W r^^ ^'f •^'^ '''' ^^* *'"^« ^*^ some'lhing ap^SLt: 
Sft STto ^n. ?'' ^'^^^^ young %,^n had 
?or in fd ?^^ the bargain which had been allowed 
itk^ lito^T' w '"^ ^"^ customary. She had nS 

'' TT^.n 1 M ^^'°°"' "°'" ^^^^ ^y questions. 
uncoM ?t ?r "* ^'^^ r"' ^^ ^'^^^^t V- Fritz will 
nrsfranpS ^° Th. ^^^ '^' ^^'^^^^ boxes were corded, 
is at on? r' T *"! ^ing-room is downstairs ; dinner 

'' Vo f; T u^ ^ ^^* y°" anything before I go ? " 

^^ ^aji t I have my dinner sent upstairs ? " 

served in^fhl ^""^ it's extra-sixpence extra for meals 

T^f. V n '°°'"'- ^ " *^" F"tz to bring you up the 
tanff ; it's all wrote down." ^ 

Slowly Mrs. Leeson woke up to the fact of there bein^ 
something unusual about her new lodger ; shri^^^t^ 
be suspicions, not that it was " an/ affair of h^rs'^ 
mS^r ^^^ definitely any affdr of he?^ except 

SmS^^ Z^ f f * T ^ ^^"^ ^^«^« there was no dril 
^w ^^^'st hopeless task. 

out ^tr'fhL''P ^^ *'°"f ** ^^^^^ °'cl°^k. If you are 
out after that me or my husband sits up. but . . '• 

Oh I shan't be out." she answered hastily, 
ffirs. Leeson withdrew. 



142 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



" I don't know what to make of her," she said to her 
husband later ; "she seems respectable. It's a big box 
she has with her ; Fritz could hardly get it up the stairs." 

" Did you ask her to pay in advance ? " 

"She is not that sort. Looks more like a runaway 
to me, as if she's run away from school. She says she 
wants us to send off a letter as soon as she has written 
it. That'll be to a young man, I'm thinking. It's not 
our affair." 

"Not so long as she pays her way," Mr. Leeson agreed, 
taking his long churchwarden out of his mouth and 
preparing to argue. Argument was his principal contri- 
bution to the work of the house. 

" Her dinner is to be sent up to her room." 
Then I'll step up with it myself. There's no knowing." 
The last sentence was cryptogrammatic, and intentionally 
controversial. But Mrs. Leeson kept her mouth aggra- 
vatingly shut, looked at the mutton roasting in the oven, 
and shut the iron door with a bang. 

Mr. Leeson's curiosity made him as good as his word 
By the time he brought up the dinner Manuella had 
removed her hat and her travel-stained clothes, washed 
in cold water with yellow soap, taken down her hair, 
brushed and put it up again, and changed into a white em- 
broidered dress that was one of the triumphs of Lucille's 
atelier, a trousseau dress. 

She looks like a young lady, that's what she looks 
hke, and a rare and 'ansome one," was Mr. Leeson's report, 
when he had finished laying the cloth, adjusting the dingy 
cutlery, putting two straw mats on the table, to prevent 
the hot dishes leaving a mark, and gone downstairs to 
fetch the " cut from the joint and the two veges ! " 

He was a long time returning, and while she was waiting 
Manuella wrote a letter. She was sure now the telegram 
had miscarried. At first she thought she would send a 
cab with the note, then that it would be better posted. 
The nearer the time came when she would see him the 
more she dreaded the meeting. It was absurd, because 
why had she come here ? Why had she run away, but 



" CONCERT PITCH » 143 

finin^l^J!"/ It was absurd, but it was true. She was 
fiUed with fears, misgivings, a suddenly reared and hvd^^ 

not wanr^'^T ^^' ^"^ *° ^^"^ ^^^^i"^' bursSelTd 
not want him to come. Inside she was cold trembling 

perspinng. but prepared to be friendly. '^^PP^^^^^d 

for vo^ ^?on'? 't' ""^^^^'^ f *^^"°°"' "^^^^' I'li drop it 
lor you. You 11 be m an 'urry for the answer." 

Having said it was important, she would not tell him 

there was no hurry. She bolted her dinner for there 

was no saying how soon Harston Migotti would b^ b^" 

She had only wntten that she was here in Londo^ He 

was a stranger to her. little more than a stranger There 

L"w"wh^fr"f,t"^ "^ ^"^ *° ^- letter. fheJt: 
icnow what to call him. or how to sign herself She knew 
nothmg intimately about him. -"^^le icnew 

He was not surprised to get her letter, not nearlv as 
surprised as she was to have written it He c^e S 

'"Malna'^S'l^ iT ^^ "r ^ ^" Bedford Squ^:. " 

Manuella had a first overwhelming moment of terror 

when he came in. What had she dof e ? Had he me^t 

m^rnenL^ „r^ ^'' • ^^* '^' ^^«"g^^^ ^^ only 
S wS^;. personality was so overwhelming that 

tnere was not room for hers. 

nof wl^^u? y*''' ^'■^' How wonderful it is ! I have 
Sid ^ ^^^' *? ^°^^' ^° P^^y' or to compose ! '' She 
rather 'S^^ m ^' '"^^^"^^' ^^""king^ from tlim 
hapiLnin/ tn k""^"^ 1!?°* understand that lu this was 
Kr.^ ^'^ ^^'"- "^ ^^t^^d ^hat he imagined to be 

friend^^n^f ^ "'*'^?* *" ^"^^^y as possible. I have a 

scarcelv ?!r ^ ^"""^ ^ ^^^^ ^^^ you are my wife I I 

rS vo^^^h"^ y°" ^i*^^ ^°°^^- And yet. ever sLce 
1 had your letter, your first dear letter, that I kissed and 



144 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



r? 
l{\> 

u 



li 



kissed again, I have felt more than happy. ... I have 
known that you loved me. ..." 

She tried to believe it was true, and that that was 
why she had come ; he was really a genius, and of course 
he loved her, he was telling her so all the time. She 
could see nothing beyond the immediate present, 
desperately refusing to look. 

An amazing few days followed. Harston was with her 
all the time, embracing her, playing to her on the dreadful 
cottage piano, out of date and out of tune, talking 
to her about himself, about his opera, about Madame 
Liebius, whom he actually brought to see her, and about 
Gerald Streatfield, who was his best friend, his good 
EngUsh friend, who woulfi arrange that they should marry 
as soon as the law — the strange English law — allowed. 

Madame Liebius, who was the kindest-hearted soul in 
the world, was kinder than possible to Manuella. 

" And you have come all the way from Scotland to 
marry our Migotti, our wonder boy. I never thought 
that he would have fallen in love like this. Oh ! but 
you are lovely, my child. And he tells me that you can 
sing, and that your father is that Sir Hubert Wagner, at 
whose great house I sang and he played the Trio ! Of 
course I remember now — you came in the artists' room. 
You have run away to marry Migotti. Wunderschdnl 
Ah ! but he will make a great name. Have you heard 
his symphony ? What am I to do for you both ? Will 
you leave this so strange house ? " She looked around 
her with obvious distaste. " Will you come back to 
my hotel with me ? Of course I shall go with you to 
the church, or to the Office, if you are not married in a 
church. I have known Harston since he was a baby ; 
since he played when he could not reach the piano, but 
sat upon my lap to touch the keys. At Kreuznach they 
called him the infant Mozart. You will be proud to have 
such a husband, will you not ? But you are brave, very 
brave to run away from your home. I love romance. I 
myself am romantic. . . ." 

All the days were incredible, impossible. Always 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



great dominating fartnrc «* ir i- r^""'"6nt are the two 

he came into business anH hi. v ?^ ^^^^^n* since 
" aU the fault of fS ^ ^^^ "^^"^ ^^eed it was 

lives was in their mfdst Th. . ^'^^^ °^ ^ t^^i^ 

good service, no one" o?got To 'ki^k ^Sfe T^l?"* 
entering, willine feet ran *„ *t ■ ,, . *"* °°°' ^O"* 

house was wa™M rn'mSied"' "" """"* ""^^ 

there, wStlSg in the Rrst,?",5'i°" '=^'1 «°^ her. and 
and Gerald StreatfieId^.n7P " were JMaja^e Lj^y 
who Imt-!j iM. ■ ^° * ■"»" behind a bie desk 

Harston MigoTu's w^fe ■ "lewL ?''° ,',* "*«*"• ^he was 
«°" -ef^y ng'^^Ts-on^herfiCr"" '""^«'' » '"^^ 

si«&aU%1^:St„^'^'' '*""«'" '■=«' t^'d enthu. 

Such "^nl^^^tLtT L'^,' " "T^'^' '- ""• 
alone, you know Sflf TL , "^u"' ""'y ""«» Mve 
all, not'^where we a" mi^ But'^ "' 7' "»"« »' 
course you understand iS, i ±'TJl"^Ti^^- °' 
nage at first ; but when I saw yT{iT^l^t """• 
she understands him ' i ^. ' ^"e Icnows, 

him, not in ?he ordS^rv ITX'' ""? ""' " '°™ *i'i 
oroinary way, Ulce » sentimental schoolgirl. 

10 



146 



" CONCERT PITCH ** 



But your eyes watch him, your beautiful sombre eyes : 
it is not your own happiness you are thinV-ng of. I can 
see that. He wants you, needs you. In some things 
he is the merest boy, he has the heart of a child and the 
mind of a superman. He tells me you have a wonderful 
voice. I hope you do not intend to sing in public. Of 
course, if he wishes it, if it is his music, but really to 
marry Harston Migotti is a profession, a vocation in itself. 
One has to watch constantly, and understand, and fall m 
with all his moods. ..." 

After the colour' jss strange words that made them man 
and wife, there was the lunch that Madame Liebius gave 
in the restaurant of the " Ritz," where everybody stared 
at Madame Liebius or at Harston, where Manuella's plate 
was heaped and heaped kgain with things she did not eat ; 
when she drank champagne and saw faces that she knew, 
surprised incredulous faces from that Stone House world, 
recognizing and not recognizing her, melting away and 
leaving only Harston Migotti, to whom she was mamed, 
who was entirely strange to her. 

She drove in Madame Liebius's brougham to Paddmg- 
ton. Mar'mie Liebius kissed her many times, perhaps 
too warmly. Madame Liebius Vad the ample proportions 
of a contralto, and had luncher onerously. 

" Oh ! but you will take c i of hun, you will not let 
him ever be sorry. You aio a dear, dear girl, and I 
love you very much. It is an experiment, for he wUl 
never be Uke other men. But everything is well— it is 
very well, of course. You will care for him, he^ takes 
no care of himself, of the times for his meals. ... She 
kissed and praised her because she would look after 
Harston Migotti's meals and clothes, and Ughten the long 
hours that he worked. , . 

At Paddington Gerald and Harston were waitmg for 
them They had gone on earUer in a motor-cab, reserved 
a carriage, and registered the luggage. Harston ™ 
beamuig ; he held his hat in his hand, his thick cnsp haw, 
yellow and longer than is customary with most English- 
men, was uncovered during the whole time he stood on 



« 



CONCERT PITCH " 



'47 



the platform. Many people turned to look at him It 
was a noble head an interesting face. His friends 
saw nun with a hulo. but even without it the massive 

X? ? .?"o . ^^^"^ ^^^ **'"» sufficiently remarkable. 
They talked of hun, as if she were of no moment, a 
subsidiary, ot little personal account, something he 
suddenly needed, and that they were glad he v. ould 
have She wondered if he. too. was thinking that. He 
smiled radiantly when he saw her. 

"Isn't she lovely?" he asked Gerald and Madame 
Liebius. He would have asked it of the bystanders if 
they would have Ustened to him. Then he kissed her 
cneek. both cheeks, before everybody ! He kissed Gerald 
too. in the same way before he got into the reserved' 
carnage ; this rather shocked her although she was so 
numbed and strange. That Madame Liebius should kiss 
nim was more natural. 

"Oh I you boy, you dear, dear boy. . . ." Madame 
Liebius was almost crying. As for Gerald, he may have 
""l?!?^ ^!?f " ^gotti kissed him, but all he said was : 
^^ Inis will make history, you know." 
" You will come and sec us on Sunday, you will both 
of yoa come down ? " Harston caUed to them out of the 
window as the train moved off. Madame Liebius was 
wipmg away her tears, Gerald waving his hat to them 
It was understood they would come. The bridal pair 
were only going to Wargrave, Wargrave-on-Thama. 
■ G^aJd had arranged their honeymoon. 

The guard blew his whistle, waved his green flag. . . . 

Now they were alone, man and wife ; httle more than 

Doy and girl but man and wife nevertheless, although 

when Manuella looked at her husband she saw a strangST 



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CHAPTER XIII 

THE George Inn at Wargrave, where the honeymoon 
was to be spent, is a long, two-storied house, 
built at the worst period of early Victorian architecture, 
and redecorated when it had deteriorated further. The 
bedrooms are low, but without compensating width. 
There are no bathrooms, nor is hot water handy, while 
the sanitary arrangements are primitive ; candles gutter 
in pewter candlesticks on a table at the top of the stairs. 
The new wall-papers are hideously yellow, or unwhole- 
somely terra-cotta, with huge unnatural flowers for 
design. There are compensations, however. The broad 
river sweeps by the bedroom windows ; every day save 
Sunday there is peace in the garden that slopes to it, 
charm in the rafts to which the boats are moored. On 
Sundays men and maidens in boating costumes sit with 
their tea or their beer, and rest awhile from pulling their 
boats up the river or down the river. These young men 
and maidens have the lust of movement. If they are at 
Wargrave they must go to Henley, or even to Sonning ; 
it is not enough for them to drift into the backwater, tie 
up their boats and be still. They want to take off their 
coats, roll up their sleeves, row, and get into a perspiration 
to show their prowess. Wargrave is a favourite haunt, 
and the " George " overcrowded for week-ends in July 
and August, even in September. 
And the inn, badly built, badly furnished though it 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



>49 



may be, is admirably administered. There are no dirty. 
German waiters, but trim clean English maids, with the 
spirit of alacrity in serving ; the -iubstantial English fare 
is of the best quality, abundant and well coolcrd. It was 
a good place in wliich to spend a iioneymoon. Harston 
Migotti and ManucUa had it aln».>st to themselves ; the 
flowing river, the quiet backwater, the warm and mellow 
autumn. In the backwater the sun shone through the 
shifting leaves of the willows, the water plashed against 
the boat, now a water-rat made a quick irregular course 
from bank to bank ; a wagtail showed its sudden black 
and white against the green ; a blackbird or a linnet 
peeped upon them. But for the most part they saw 
nothing but Harston Migotti. Both of them saw the 
same ; that was perhaps inevitable. 

Manuella knew, before she liad been married many 
hours, that she had committed a crime in marrying him, 
wronging him hardly less than herself. If she had not 
known it before, she knew it when Waldo's letter came to 
her, the answer to Loetitia's, forwarded by some friendly 
or unfriendly hand from Gairoch. Waldo wrote better 
than he spoke, he did not halt with his pen. She could 
even read between the lines, for those few days of her 
marriage had sharpened all her faculties, showing her her 
irretrievable folly. W?ido s letter told her everything 
she wanted to know, but had .lot waited to hear. He 
did love her. Whether h. Iraghed or bantered, went 
away or stayed, mattered hot rung. He made it clear 
that he loved her, had only tried to do what was best 
for her. 

" I know I can take care of you if you wiU trust yourself 
to me. I want you to be happy, to be c«gain the girl 
I met in the boat. I'll take you to Rhodesia, an3'where 
you want to go. I think I understand you now better 
than I did when I was in London. I love your passion 
and your pride. Child that you are, you must not be 
proud with me. You gave me your lips ! Oh ! my dear 
generous one I That was the moment of my life. Wait 
for me, think of me, get over your pride, or keep and let 






i;j 



150 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



me share it. Now that I am away from you, I know you 
care for me, and I'll make you glad of it even if then you 
were a little ashamed. Sweetheart, I'm a dufEer at talk- 
ing, there has never been anyone to whom I could talk, 
so I've played Tom Fool and stood outside. You know 
where you are with me, don't you ? In my heart of hearts, 
and no one has ever been there before you. I wish I were 
younger, handsomer, more hke that musician of yours; 
but, as I am, I beheve you care about me. It is very 
wonderful, and I ought perhaps not to beheve it. But 
you kissed me, you let me kiss you, and you are my 
Manuella, beautifully impulsive, natural, honest. Girhe, 
when may I come back, When will that pride melt again 
' as once in June ' ? It doesn't seem a long time ago ; 
I often see you in my dreams. ..." 

She had been married three days, and if one looked at her 
one would have thought she had been through an illness. 
But Harston Migotti, her husband, noticed nothing, for 
he was absorbed in explaining himself to her. 

Her answer to Waldo was brief : 

" I've just got your letter. I married Harston Migotti 
at a registry office nearly a week ago. You were quite 
right, it was my pride, and there isn't any of it left. I 
didn't know you loved me, only that I loved you, and 
wanted to hide it. I ran away to Harston Migotti because 
I was in a rage .with my stepmother ; that's the truth. 
I'm going to do my best, my very best, that he should 
never know it. Goodbye, don't write to me ever again ; 
I've got to live it through. My stepmother would say : 
' As I've made my bed I must he upon it.' I wish I were 
l>ing cold upon it." 

It was true she wished it after she had Waldo's letter. 
This time, at least, she was utterly candid with him. 
She told him not to write to her again ; she had to put 
him out of her mind, out of her heart. 

It has been often said that there is no phenomenon in 
nature more remarkable than the difference in perspective 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



151 



between a genius in the distance and a genius in the near- 
ness of the domestic circle. It is not necessary to go back 
to the time of Milton. Biographies, letters, innumerable 
dianes, show the greatest philosopher of his age wrangling 
with his wife over petty details of domestic economy, 
morbidly selfish, and still more morbidly introspective 
his indigestion assuming the proportions of a disaster' 
and finally of tragedy. And only yesterday the fierce 
searchhght of the Divorce Court was turned upon an 
mtenor where was seen a man who for half a century 
had held the nation entranced with the magic of his art 
living side by side, but never together, with an unhappy 
and neglected woman he could not hold from throwing up 
the impossible part of pretending any longer to be his 
loving or faithful wife ; a woman estranged by long 
silences and queer subtle inhumanities. 

What distinguished Harston Migotti from his fellows 
was his ampUaty, his ingenuousness, and. of course, his 
youth That, in the effulgence of his genius, his wife or 
comrade would be echpsed seemed to him inevitable. He 
had a gift for the world. At the best, the wife of such a 
mwi could have only a gift for him. And perhaps if she 
had loved him, however clearly she had seen his attitude 
of mmd towards her, she would have accepted it as the 
nght one. As it was. she only saw that he was under 
a misapprehension, and one that must never be out 
nght. *^ 

After Manuella had had Waldo's letter and answered it 
there seemed nothing she desired more strongly than to 
prove to him to Lord Lyssons who would never know 
and to herself who must have this solace, that it was true 
^ %T ,^°"^t" Passionate she had been, wrong- 
headed and impetuous. She had wronged Harston Mt«e 
las than herself. She had to amend that wrong, to see 
that he missed nothing, to meet his needs. Madame 
Liebiite and Gerald Streatfield had told her how this was 
u ^ »?"f ' ^*^"g^ she had not understood them at once. 
If she had a personality, it was to be effaced, subordinated. 
If her mamed hfc was to be a duet, it was one in'which 



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152 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



she must always play the bass ; if they were to be one, 
he was the one they must be. 

At eighteen the lesson of personal insignificance is a 
difficult one to learn. Harston Migotti, her young genius 
of a husband, did not know that all the time in these first 
days of his honeymoon he was teaching it to her. He 
often said how much in love with her he was, and talked 
of the emotions she gave him and the influence they 
would have upon his art. 

Although he insisted he was an Englishman, with an 
English father, and, notwithstanding his Italian mother, 
he had the German attilude of mind towards women. 
When his passions moved him he took the response for 
granted. When they walked out, he went always a little 
ahead. When he talked, he rarely waited for an answer. 

And how he talked I He could be silent equally over- 
whelmingly, but this she did not learn so soon. During 
that first week at Wargrave, she heard all the story of 
his life. He talked of it at breakfast and again at dinner, 
lay in the bottom of the boat and dilated upon its sig- 
nificance ; walked between the hedges in the EngUsh 
lanes in gloaming or even-time, and said there would 
come a day when the romance of his life could not be 
hidden. 

" It is leader of the people I should be perhaps, but 
instead, I will write their music. A man once said he 
cared not who made the people's laws if he could make 
their ballads. It is not ballads I will write, but a National 
Music ; the whole spirit of England shall be in my songs, 
already it is in all my ' Chariot Queen. . . .' " 

She knew that she had made a mistake, blundered 
irreparably. Everything that was fine in her-— and but 
for her stepmother all might have been fine— went to 
filament with which to hide the knowledge upon which 
she would fain not look ; she spun cocoon hiding-places 
for it ; some day a butterfly might emerge, very rare and 
beautiful, but now all she must do was to spin a hiding- 
place for her mistake. 

She had not been a religious girl, but in her loneliness 



** CONCERT PITCH » 



153 

she felt the necessity of prayer. She began to pray; 
It was reaUy orUy a wild call for help, but this w£ the 
S"", if *^^ ^^ God. help me to be a good wife to 

w i ,. of ^^^^ *^® ^^'■^s i" which she clothed her 
self-doubt. She prayed that his egotism should become 
her egotism, that she should not begin to criticize him. 

I want to be good," she cried, in the passion of revolt 
and revelation of those early days of her marriage. " Help 
me to do my duty to him, to give myself up completely. 
Make me a good wife, dear God I I want to be better 
than I have been, not to be always sorry and . . . and 
ashamed. I didn't know what I was doing. ... I didn't 
understand. Help me, God ! " 

Blindly she had run away, bungled into a morass- 
now she was desperate to find a plank. 

" If I do everything he wants, if I never think at all 
about mj^lf, and live only for him. it wiU get better? 

cant always have this pain at my heart. I will be 
good. . , . 

She was ah^ady a woman, but it was the child's heart 
tnat prayed. Later on she found her strength in action 
and not m prayer. It was the pain of dying childhood 
that cned and she soon rid herself of the habit. 

This was a man of genius to whom she had given herself 
a young genius, to whose first passion she was dedicate' 
conseo-ate or a mere sacrifice. Her eyes knew hot buminc 
^^u- ^^ ^^^^ prayers, but only at first. 

^^ This will enrich all my art," he whispered. 
anc„, "^T ?^w^^*ever he says." her desperate conscience 
^swered. I ran away from home to marry him; it 
IS all my own fault. 

^Jtth^^'^j! "^^^^ ^^^°**^'^ "^^' t«^d to Manuella 
at such length in these honeymoon days, can be made 
qmte short Behind the story can be seen his ideals, his 
dreams, and what inspired them. Justice must be done 
to lum. he had a strange origin. 

h;^^?'!i »^"^n^brance was of being one of a little family, 
Z^ the smallest of them all. in Darmstadt. The 
mother, whom he caUed " Mutterchen," . hut whom he 



I 



fw 



154 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



always knew was not his mother, sang in the theatre. 
She was Italian, but sang in the German manner, and 
in Wagner's operas ; he did not know how he heard that, 
but he told it to Manuella as one of his earliest recollec- 
tions. Her German husband was one of the first viohns 
in the orchestra, and from the time Harston could hear 
at all, it was always music he heard. Before he was 
five years old he could play, not only the violin, but the 
piano, and all the people that came to the httle house 
called him " The Infant Mozart." 

Once, and it was not a thing a dreamer of five years 
old could forget, he heard " Miitterchen " say in Italian, 
which was the first language he learned : " One day he 
will be a king among musicians." And her husband, 
who played the violin, and taught him, whom he loved, 
and looked up to as a child looks up to his master, 
answered laconically, his finger on a string : 

" If he had his rights, it would not be among musicians 
only tiiat he would be a king." 

A belief in some grand and m5^terious origin grew with 
his growth. He was many years older before he knew 
that he had no rights, no rights at all, not to the name he 
bore, nor to any name. But by this time the knowledge 
could not hurt him, for he had his own kingdom, pla5dng 
by his adopted father's side. In the early years he loved 
the piano more than the violin. But what he loved most 
of all was playing his own dreams, the harmonies that 
came to him. Wide and luminous was that kingdom of 
his, full of glory. He was conscious of high destiny. 
What is bastardy to the gods ? 

The blood of an English prince ran in his own veins, 
and soon he knew it was to England he would take his 
gift. He learned the language and history of this 
country ; was it not his own ? At eighteen he spoke 
Enghsh almost fluently. The acquisition of languages 
came naturally to him. He had no hesitation in telling 
his new wife how easily he learned, and that all Darmstadt 
was proud of him. 

" When I walked in the streets everyone knew me 



" CONCEkr PITCH " 



155 

as an angel. My hair hung m curls, like pale gold with 
the sun on it. I was dressed always in velvet " 

rhJ^^rf ^i^f "^ *^' "^^'^^^ ^^ ^«"j"red up-lthe Wonder 
l^k t Mozart with the width 'between his blue ey^ 

too the little fingers on the keys, the rant exDre^^m, 
Hais on told her of that quite simply ^ ^^P'^^on. 

When I played I was absorbed in the music Some- 
times they said I was like John the BaDtist buf^^rt 
often that I was like Mozart. " ^ ' * """"'^ 

It seemed there had always been money for his educa- 
ISSe er/y^r ^""^ ^^"^ ^^^ ^^- ^^-tched out t:^ 

"I cannot remember when I first he-rd that mv mother 
died when I was born. She was MmrchmS yo\Zr sfe,„ 
Before she ngdc her first appearance in (Lra sL met 

Ahl but theirs was a short love dream I " *^ 

There was a tradition in the Darmstadt family of a 

«HT4f T!f r^*- """""y "--expected S«e i? 
was understood that it was always to be a secrot «,k„ 
>««the father of the child they had adopted "^ 

Wien he rame, all the papers were Ul of the great 
^4ng preparations being made for „im in SL^ 
country Afterwards they heard there had been a short 
ST^*chT"T^ "^^*''« bridegroomTd't^ 

toom journey to see his son, to bid good-b^to the^S 

iMkedv^'" "''^°". *"' '^'^- '^^cL said he 
looked vny young, slender, fair, not at aU happy 

claimed™*", mv "h " '° "'"""'«' ""»• I ^""^ "e ex- 
mTwasher^'mv\'' ''""'%* "**'' Englishman!' 
he^d^ '^^ ■""■ J!'^ "^ '»^- "T^ey a" remember 
dtiXm pne'S'onir."; """"""^ ^^ '"' "^"^ "' ^i^ 



156 



" CONCERT PITCH " 






Harston had an income ; he spoke of it carelessly ; 
it had always been enough for his needs. He told her 
that money would come quickly enough when the opera 
was finished. In the meantime, three hundred a year 
was almost a fortune. He had really been well educated, 
although music had stood in the way of his studies. He 
spoke regretfully of a young Enghsh tutor who had 
tried to teach him Latin and Greek. No expense had 
been spared. Then Steinhault came to Darmstadt, and 
diverted all his Ufe, creating new ambitions. He wanted 
to be Steinhault's pupil, but the master no longer 
took pupils. Harston told his young wife how he had 
first played to Steinhaul^. 

" He was smoking, steadily puffing away at his pipe, 
indifferent. I played and he puffed. I began to im- 
provise, he left of? puffing. I forgot to think about him, 
and put my Ufe and my soul into my playing. ' But you 
are a young fool,' was all he said, ' you cannot play at all. 
Find me matches. My pipe has gone out' After that 
he thrust me from the piano-stool and played himself ; 
he played to me — to me alone I There is no one hke 
Steinhault ; some day you shall know him." 

" I meant him to take me as his pupil," he told 
Manuella simply. " I always get what I want," he added, 
just as simply. And up to now it had been true. He won 
Steinhault, and much, later, when he had learnt all Stein- 
hault could teach him, he won what was far more difficult, 
the freedom to leave him. 

" And n'^w I have you," he finished triumphantly. His 
hand caressed her hair. The soft warmth of her brought 
keen, sweet, new pleasures tp him ; already he heard 
them in the violins. Love was for strings, he knew that 
already. He had known it before, through Wagner ; but 
he understood it better now. 

He had travelled far with Steinhault, serving and 
learning. Three times to America, on long concert 
tours throughout the States, in Russia twice, and at last, 
only two years ago, he came to England by himself. 
And here he had stayed. Not Steinhault's insistent letters, 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



'57 



nor all his rage, remonstrance and appeal, could move him 
from his choice. ,- 

"It is my country." I wrote him. " my own country. 
It IS here I will stay, and grow more at home in the 
language, and study, and it is here I wiU make my name. 
In their fdk songs I hear their National music, the dumb 
sleepmg music of their nation. I wiU do for this, my 
father's country, what Beethoven. Wagner and Schubert 
have done for Germany. Grieg for Scandinavia. Tschai- 
kowsky for Russia, Debussy for France. I wiU do all 
this and more. People shall come from far off to hear 
my Enghsh music, even as they go now to Bayreuth to 
hear Wagner's." 

Steinhault stiU protested ; the pianist, who had neither 
kith nor km, commanded, coaxed, stormed at the boy's 
resolution. ^ 

" You shall be my son," he wrote. Harston told this 
part lightly, but Manuella understood that the harsh man 
who growled and stormed but never praised, had grown 
attached to the "Wonder Boy" who had foUowed him 
round the world. 

"He could teach me no more. I knew I should never 
play as he played, no one else can play with just that 
technique. I have more expression ; I interpret in my 
own way, and when I am in a mood. The other night 
now. It was to you I was playing ; no one could have 
played the Tno as I played it that night, not Stein- 
hault hunself. He would have played it better, perhaps 
but not so wonderfully, you understand. It is I who sway 
the emotions, Steinhault who moves the intellect " 

That was almost all the story. He had abandoned 
Stemhault almost as easily as he had abandoned the 
mrmstadters, who had so proudly nurtured his youth. 
1 he path of a genius is wide and lonely, and what he sees 
IS always far off. in the dim distance. Always in the 
stretch of firmament above him the sun is behind clouds. 
It IS to flmg a radiant glory on his journey's end. the 
journey that never ends. ^ J > ^ 

I could have had engagements. Madame Liebius 



m 



158 



«* CONCERT PITCH »' 



IS also a sister of ' Mtitterchen; a still younger sister. I 
could Always have played her accompaniments. But 
that night, that night at your father's house, was the 
only time I have played for her in public. All the other 
time, all these two years, I have been studying your 
language, your folk-songs, the songs of your country- 
side. -^ 

"To leave Steinhault, to stay in England was an 
impulse ; but now I know it was Providence that guided 
me, that always guides men like me. All of a sudden that 
night, when no one knew me in the room, and no soul 
in your great hall, it came to me that I must play to them, 
must let them hear me. I knew how it would be. But in 
^e end it was to you I played. Now I continue to write. 
Your England will have its National music, its great 
opera that will be greater than the Niebelungen Ring. We 
will go home soon now, my little wife, it is singing in my 
ears all the time, the song motif of my opera. It is 
the ' Wedding March ' that interrupted it. But now the 
'Wedding March' is written; I have finished with it. 
Let us go home." 

That evening, the evening he said the " Wedding 
March " was no longet in his head, distracting him, they 
stood together on the verandah. The words he had used 
unwittingly struck cold on her hot heart. He stood 
silent by her side. She saw the moon's reflection on the 
water, and the shadows stretch from the backwater. 
The trees were bL.ck, the rising mist was grey and sad, 
and the greyness and sadness were the life to which 
she would return with him. Aire 'y she had learnt, 
and knew that when he was silent i must not speak.' 
It was in silence he heard his music, .ill the rare sounds 
by day, reeds and rushes purling, leaves swaying, water 
plashing ; all the mysterious murmur of night, peewits 
twittering, wind in the tree tops, the rumble of a distant 
train, resolved themselves for him into harmonies and 
discords, into his English music. 

" I hear rain," he said. " Hush ! I hear rain." 

And in five minutes it was upon them, plashing in 



" CONCERT PITCH »' 



'59 

p-eat drops on the broad surface of the river. At first 

sounds in the water, strange shapes too/ circles and 

t"^ Zfr^'w '• ^::^'" "''!^'' '^"^ P^^^"*^y «he began 

i^d ann • %'*°^u^^*'^S * ^°"g ti™ after she 
Had gone in. Later he was no longer silent. 

Uhr.7.f f ^ K^^ °"^ ^"* ^^^^ ^^^ ^tten his own 

hbre o • th^'' T ™" u"- ^"* ^ ^"^ ^ti"g "»y o>^ 
hnL n T ,^ "^""'"^^ ^'^ ^"'^ *° "^e »n the music. Oh ! 
how well I know your Boadicea and your England : 

' Th^o'lhi' '^!! °* '''^'^'r^ woodland, isle of silvery parapets. 

narrow ?heT° "'"' ''''''°" *^"'' '**°' t»^«8-therLg enemy 
^Te ye^/l-'^*''' *°^ ''" »hall dwindle, thou shalt be the mighty 

I Will write it better than that, but that is my theme. 
^u^V"^^^' u^ H"^^ ^^'^""e of a wife, how proud you 

whin M T "^^T ^ ^""^ ™*^^ "»y Sre^^ Eng«sJ» Op^ni. . 
wben at last you have a National Music. " 

They went home the next day. The rain was stiU falUniL 
the nver grey white, streaked and dirty, empty botS 

swenf tf ^^^ ^It ^'^^ ^ «°^*^ °" its^vldnd-L^pS 
swept bosom. She saw it when she leaned from the ted- 
room window, the cab at the door, the iSga^rstrapoS^ 

good-bye-to Manuella of the child-heart Henccf^ 

wotldltr^n h' ^"^ °^y H^ton Migotti's wife °^ 
would listen to his music. But the grey years would be as 
the grey nver. and she shivered as she shut the wJIJ 

sutrl''"" *' ^^" *^ "^^^^ ^ stood'L^IS 



« 



CHAPTER XIV 



THEIR married life began in the rooms Harston 
Migotti had occupied as a bachelor, the rooms in 
Bedford Square. 

"I like them ; I feel at home here," he said. 
Manuella never questioned the arrangement ; the days 
before her marriage were too few, her mind was too 
numbed. 

The house was very old, built in the days when no 
party-wall was less than two feet thick, when partitions 
were not mere lath and plaster, nor floors made of only 
half-inch boards. Everything was strong, silent, sub- 
stantial. The rooms on the top floor had been the 
nurseries of the house in the days when it was occupied 
by the well-known Quaker family of Elias Underwood 
and Dame Ursula his wife, with their family of thirteen 
children. There were beams in the ceiling, joists in the 
wide fireplaces, the little windows with the small panes of 
glass had deep eaves and quaint gargoyles. The fact 
that there was no hot water, nor bath, nor sanitation 
and no electric light, had preserved his soUtude to Migotti. 
He missed none of them. Here he had lived during the 
two years he had passed in England before his marriage. 
In the front room was his grand piano, standing upon the 
moth-eaten carpet that must have lain undisturbed 
for at least a century. Around him were wood-panelled 
walls, the paint faded to a greyish brown. There was 

z6o 



« 



CONCERT PITCH » 



i6i 



• rough, ncketty kitchen table, and there were many 
chain, no two of which were aliks. In his bedroom were 
a huge wooden four-poster. Ha bedding, once of feathers, 
now of dust, a common deal washstand with a cracked 
Derby basm and two jugs, a bow-fronted chest of 
drawers a pair of tallboys, a dressing-table Uke a box 
with a hand-silvered obscure glass in the lid. 

The Mi^ Underwood, maiden ladies, vague distant 
rehcs of the ancient family, kept their poor tradition in 
the stately empty r(x>ms on the first floor, from which 
they had sold most of the furniture. 

Gerdd Streatfield rented a small back room on the 
lower floor. 

Such was the home to which Harston brought his 
bnde. He saw no lack in it. ** 

' I am glad to be at home again." he said to her on the 

rlTi^* u""^ "^^ ^f°°* Wargiave. " In aU London 
Gerald tells me there is nothing like these rooms, so biff 

r^'^Se " ^ *^ ^^""^ ^ ^^ "^^ ^ '^*' ^^ 

^hf^J^J^ *° him from Stone House, from Gairoch. where 
she had the comfort of her own maid, her porcelain bath, 
the elcctoc hmp by her bed. dainty food brought to her 
m deUcate china, fine glass, lace and embroidered napery 

I shln^L*" ^! J°?"»S' are they not ? Oh ! how haiiy 
I shaU be now that you are here in them with me. I 
al^ys knew it would be here I should finish my opera." 
r.« ^ ?^?u ^X" ^^ ^^ home-cominfe he sSrcely 
S?Sr*f r^ *^u* ^" ^ * ^^'^ tt^t thkigs were a^y 
^^^l i'° VM*?«y ^^ ^" ^th him a month ^o^ 
S^ f' 1^ ^",*, ^^y^^' °^*^S "otes, filling his i^d 
^^r^^^^!S^'^T' ^^ iolk-song, the material wkh 
Si w '^'''iK T^- "^ ^^ ^ ^^'' white heat of cre^ 
^M ^°"^5^°°° ^^«i' be^°^« the monSi 

.Jf^J"^ ^ ^^ *^^ ^^ liad talked of Tennyson 
Se s^^te XT'^t^'^ "^^^'^ ^' ^^ -"^ 
"Mine win be so different from theiis. it will be true 

zz 



i6i 



•* CONCERT PITCH " 



tone>poetry. My oboes tnd my flutes will voice wood- 
land England. Already I hear the war-cry of Boadicea 
ringing triumphantly on the wind." 

Sometimes in the streets one sees a barrel-organ, a 
cradle attached to it, in which, wrapped in rags, lies 
a sleeping, or whining baby, pale and puny. A swarthy 
man with a red scarf round his throat turns the handle, 
a woman with big gilt earrings and white smiling teeth, 
invites charity and collects coppers. Whenever in the 
after days Manuella saw such a group, she stopped to 
look at them, remembering that strange old house, its 
carved staircase uncarpeted, the walls broken in places, 
the plaster falling, and the fine cornices covered with 
qriders' webs. She, too, like that baby, slept and woke 
to the turning of the handle ; she was never away from 
the sound of her husband's opera. It was immortal 
musk that ran from his trained fingers, that sang gTu£9y 
and inadequatdy from his throat, that filled the rooms. 
She had called herself musical, hearing music as from an 
enchanted garden ; but the very music of the spheres 
may sound too close, drowning all else. She was like 
^e baby in the basket, sleeping and waking to sound. 

Without G«'ald Streatfield she would not have known 
how to manage her housekeeping ; she was bewildered 
at her position. 

Gerald came to her early on the first morning of their 
homecoming. He knocked at the bedroom door and 
entered quite without cttemony. Harston was already 
at the picuio, and of course he could not be disturbed. 

" I came up eaUrly on purpose. He has already started, 
t find ; I heard him as I came up. Do you know where 
everything is, 1k>w to manage ? I did it all for hun 
before you came. There is only one little maid-of-all- 

Gerald Streatfield is of no more interest to this stcny 
than an echo to a voice. He was about eight-and-twenty, 
wore hi^ hair parted m the middle, and curled his moustaflie 
at the ends ; he earned his living as an asustant ia the 
music-^ul^shing house of Messrs. Mimzay and Co^ B%t 



" CONCERT PITCH »' ,63 

iransicrred He became his savish admirer hU 
^^^^^^^^ioUowtr ; dreaming of bei^g a SdS or a 

i S^"ll^° '"> Engi-hVagner/or\fNi;t'^^^^^ 
m tne arl> days, oerald was well-read in his subiect 
At h. vvorst he could play Boswell or Pennell gaffi 
up he fra.,ments of vvisdom or discarded note! let^ 
by the inas.cr. I/arstou Migotti was young, but thS 
he would b a master there was no doubt 

You won I put me out of your hfe vou will \M m« 
^e both your hves ? You L. I i^d^s^a^him^' 

G^«M I "^'^ *^'i y^^^ ^ »^^e studied his moods^ 
G«:ald pleaded to Manuella. before even h. hjtd ZL 

bed and the oil stove at which the n.y^-e'^ ^a^ 
which they made tea or coffee ' '"^ "^ 



">r»< ex- 



7.kt ttp 



On the first morning the maid-ot-y' 
toeir breakfast. 

"I inspected the tray before it camt« -, 

h^ lilrec " !.<> — ;j xt "^ ."^*y**' *«■ came up, ii i-i ovv ,' hat 

nc Ukes, he said enthusiastically " Of r, ^- J 

neither eaUnoTdr^r* ?uZ ^"' "^ "'Pi^tion, he 
horn withorfi^" He^^r"T8°,"™"'y-''»" 
underlined it in SS^kiary ^^ ""' ""'"""y ' •"« ^ 

tten in*°tlS"„lS^,'SSi^^- *"««,»« »y ■"".ber of 
hotels. sZ^S^TT^L*^!^,- "ting-homes, 
*e Straod or I^f,r S. •/• .'"'° '^"t Street, 

^ *w;;^^^^„;-;;^,'^.*^dshowhe 

where are we ffoin? fn-^^^r > > i , ^° ™*- And 

HJe.hunterf;:;^?^ n^ ^ul'Z Z'^^S^ 
i*ver .knows with him." *PP«we at aU ! Que 



n* 






164 



« CONCERT PITCH " 






m 1 



It did not seem in the least strange to Gerald that this 
young and beautiful girl should be content to share their 
Bohemian meals, and put up with the same inconveniences. 
Was it not natural that she should be glad and willing 
to share any Ufe with Harston Migotti ? Because he was a 
hero-worshipper, and Harston the hero, it seemed to him 
impossible it could be otherwise with her. 

She fell in with his views. If she had blundered no one 
must ever know it. Perhaps her prayers helped her, 
perhaps it was only her fineness becoming clear after her 
yeasty and impetuous youth, but, in any case, she settled 
to her circumstances, and took up the burden of her days 
as if love lightened them. Neither Harston nor Gerald, 
nor any of the few friends who came to the rooms in 
Bedford Square, doubted that she loved her gifted 
husband. 

After the brief passion of his honeymoon Harston 
swung back with fr^sh impetus to his opera. Very soon 
Manuella knew his .^:.ys almost as well as Gerald. He 
would write or compose for hours, hours during which 
no one must disturb him. He had no fixed times for 
meals ; he fed on his inspiration. She must be on hand 
when he emerged, ready to minister to him. Many of 
these meals were completely silent, his mind was still 
absent ; he was still listening, phrasing, composing. 
Sometimes, in the midst of them, he woiild go back 
hurriedly to his desk or his piano. 

The music came to him more easily than the libretto. 
This she gathered from him or from Gerald, She under- 
stood quickly that ht did not like to be questioned about 
his work. If he was in the hiunour to talk of it all was 
well, but even then he resented questioning. His temper 
was extraordinarily uneven, his hours of sociability as rare 
as pockets in an alluvial mine. He was passionately in 
love with his young wife, or so he believed. But in reality 
he loved and worshipped only his gift and she was but a 
hand-maiden in the outer temple. She learnt to serve ; 
that was the hard lesson of those early months of her 
married life — to wait and serve. 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



165 



When his work flagged and his inspiration faUed. he 
would go for long, soUtary walks. Gerald told her that 
exercise was necessary to him. and loneliness inevitable 

He hears when he is alone." he explained, with some- 
thing of awe upon him. " You can understand that 
can t you ? We interrupt him when we speak, or when 
he IS conscious of our presence ; he is listening to some- 
thing we cannot hear." ^ 

He was sometimes out for eight and twelve hours • 
tramping the Embankment, or further afield, on the 
Heath at Hampstead or in the lanes of Hendon. hearing 
new melodies, harmonies beyond the telling, song and 

Z?""^' v^"* ^^ "^''^'" ^^^^ t^« beat of that lordly or 
rebelhous heart that lay at night beside his own. He 
thought he was all a husband should be to her. often 
passionately fond. 

She had to find occupation to justify and fill her days. 
Ultimately she worked at her strange housekeeping with 
all the energy of her incoherent despair. It^ved 
incredibly helpful ; what, in the beginning, was £n un- 
congenial necessity, became, in the end, and comparativdv 
^Ltf^**^^l alternative to idleness, and an hicentive 
to exert her mteUigence. She found s^-e. too, had gifts 

^tt^ffK*° ^''"'"''^ *^''"- S^« ^^« less unhlppy 
ultl 1 u' t^"" ^^^^^^'^ce applauding her. She could at 
least make home for him. »*w «i 

v.h^^ ^f ^^ ^^ airy rooms were ahnost incredibly dirty 
J^ "*. 'i^'^^^ *° ***«"™- She found it out. and Gerald 
admitted it ruefully. There was only one m^ serJS^t 
and there were many stairs. 
''He hates to have anything disturbed 
Because Harston hated to have anyt'hing disturbed 
ManueUa's task was more difficult, and^lps on «mt 

SerTd ^H '; m^ '°^"^- Cleailiness'^^^'ILnti^o 
her. and it had to be accomplished when he was out Her 

Thu^ d/f'^' P'^"^ ^^^^^ ^^ supplemented b^ 
the humedly-summoned charwoman. There was fortu- 

riJi^omet'het"^"^^- H-ton .villingly handed^ve^r 



i66 



♦* CONCERT PITCH " 




i>? 



'* I don't want to have anything but my opera in my 
mind. Do what you like with the money, only do not 
weary me about it. That is a wife's function, to make it 
go far. I am sure my beloved will know how it is done. 
Gerald says I am extravagant, but now you will be my 
purse-bearer." 

It was wonderful how quickly she grew to her responsi- 
bilities ; Gerald was always at hand to help. He knew, 
for instance, that Harston's capital was invested in some 
stock, the interest of which was paid quarterly. A 
quarter's income became due a few days after they came 
home from Wargrave, and it was then Harston pushed the 
cheque over to her, and said she was to do what she Uked 
with the money. 

No one would have believed the millionaire's daughter 
would become so quickly practical, or what a help it was 
to her to have things to do. She learnt makeshift from 
Gerald, and something from the charwoman, but much 
was her own discovery. The floors were scrubbed, made 
aromatic with soap and soda. She bought a new carpet, 
a mattress, a large double washstand, a second bath. 
Tottenham Court Road was handy ; she may be said to 
have gone to school at Shoolbred's. There were in- 
credible difficulties to be overcome, of which not the least 
was that all work had to be stopped when Harston was 
at home. Gas was akeady laid on downstairs ; it had to be 
brought upstairs, and trained to a cooking-stove. It was 
some compensation that the top floor was really roomy ; 
the wide landing sufi&cient for both kitchen and larder. 
The Brothers Adam had been liberal in cupboards ; one 
of these, when the shelves were taken out, was made to 
hold a geyser and the new bath. She foimd solace 
in making these contrivances, in shopping, marketing, 
and learning to cook. When Harston awoke from a 
day and a half of complete silence to praise the coffee it 
seemed to make everything worth while. Her omelettes 
and toast, the different ways in which she found eggs 
could be cooked, interested, and almost absorbed, her. 
It was of little consequence that she spoiled a few things ; 



** CONCERT PITCH " 



167 



she could afford to replace them. Seventy pounds for 
three Months seemed an almost inexhaustible sum when 
it went out in a shilling's worth of eggs, or sevenpence 
for half a pound of butter. 

The little maid-of-all-work downstairs was subsidized, 
and ran up and down, helping willingly, in many ways. 
Manuella found she liked her housekeeping, but what 
she liked best of all was mending Harston's and her own 
clothes— Gerald's too, presently. Her foreign education 
served her in good stead. She could dam exquisitely, 
sew on buttons that did not come off, patch and mend and 
put in gussets. 

They were not unhappy months when she was occupied 
with these things, making home for them all. Each day 
had its duties, almost every hour. There was always a 
new pudding to learn, or a fresh disposition of the house- 
hold utensils to make; her wants grew, but they were 
such simple wants; new shelves, or pots and pans, a 
whisk or a cherry-stoner ; easily supplied. Harston had 
no longer to seek his food in a restaurant when he was 
hungry. She was proud to improvize a meal for him. 
or for Gerald when he came upstairs. She kept material 
handy-jggs always, potted meat. jams. aU manner of 
tinned things. And when she acquired a small upright 
refrigerator in which she could store butter, fish, or chops, 
she seemed to have reached her housekeeping millennium. 

If only she had never been told she had a voice, never 
repeated the encomiums on it to Harston ! 

There came a stage in the progress of the opera when 
its creator wanted active sympathy, open applause, help 
and encouragement. There was Harston at the piano 
Gerald with his violin. It was when Harston said : 
A -^"^^f anuella wiU sing for us." that she began to 
doubt. She knew herself untrained, a few months with De 
Lausan could hardly be counted ; the music in her had 
been deadened and stifled by Harston's. She had not 
practised, had forgotten what Uttle she knew. 
But no pleading nor nervousness prevaUed against his 
insistence. ^ 



i68 



'* CONCERT PITCH " 



" N(msense I nonsense I I will teach you, todn you. 
Begin . . ." he struck a chord, then pkiyed dke whole 
song through. It was the song known now as " The 
Invocation." 

She certainly had a voice, naturally well placed, and 
when she got over her first nervouaiess, neither man 
could doubt it. It was unspoiled by forcing, of wide 
range, true as the voice of a bird. Hjvston's acctnn- 
paniment had a magnetic quality ; his own voice was 
that of a bull, but when he raised it, as he often dki in 
teaching, it enriched her^. Perhaps he heard them only 
in unison. Certainly he came to think her voice adequate. 
She was glad to be of this help to him ; she remembered 
what he told her, tried to express him^ strove to become 
dramatic. She worked at her mxmc vehemently in 
the intervals of her housekeeping, carrying out her vows. 
It was all for the service of Harston. Site foui»l no 
dijficulty in throwing herself into the part of B(M»licea. 
She felt the anguish of the outraged Queen, and all her 
agony, practised self-abandonment in declamation, wished 
that her hair were of gold instead of black, and began 
to Uve in the opera. All three of them Uved in it as it 
grew into a thing of rare beauty. 




CHAPTER XV 



THERE came the great day when the opera was 
actuaUy finished. To Harston himself, and to that 
eathmiastic young Boswell. Gerald Streatfield, it seemed 
ttot, with the final chords, as they crashed from the 
piano m the exultant finale, a whole new and splendid 
era of EngUsh national music dawned. There was not a 
Jubt m either of their minds that the opera had only to 
be heard to be accepted, and hailed as a masterpiece. Their 

Tte Wonder Child had justified the great omen of his 
^i^H..^^'^^' '''"^*^ ^^ ^ ^°"^^»t to become even a 
deSnv r./'r'*' ^^^"^ Steinhault; his dream of 
hf^w Z J^?' *° ^°™' * ^^^t composer. Now 
L^n^n^i f !f ^ °^ librettist, the man who 

doubt thkt TH 7^^ ^^^'^ ^^ Cf^riat Queen could 
doubt this ? The whole heart and soul of Britain were 
in his work, all the legends of the people, their Sti^^ 

^n^r^?H'°"' ^^ '^'^ songsJ^kis confide^e was 
supreme, there was nothing mundane or material about 

klro^M- 't lP'?*-"P»fti^. ennobling, comple^ 
Harston Migotti had written a Symphony when he was 

the one m Lohengrtn. was in the hands of Gerald Streat- 

169 



?(. 



170 



« CONCERT PITCH " 




field's firm, accepted and only awaiting the right season 
for publication. Difficulty, failure, non-appreciation, were 
unknown words in the dictionary of his short life. For 
two years he had been studying, writing, composing, 
now fruition was at hand. Of course it would gain im- 
mediate recognition, adequate production. There was 
much to be thought of, but he had no doubt of the 
triumph awaiting him, no possible shadow of doubt. 

it is true that no artist is ever completely satisfied with 
liis work, and to that rule Harston Migotti was no excep- 
tion ; he meant to touch and retouch, strengthen, deepen, 
poUsh. But he was on fire to hear its representation in 
full volume, with a great orchestra, to see the mise-en-scine 
as he had projected it, the Roman legionaries burning the 
groves and altars of the Druids ; Boadicea in her chariot, 
her wild hair flowing : 

Phantom sound of blows descending, moan of enemy massacred. 
Phantom wail of women and children, multitudinous agonies. 

And the lighter scenes, Boadicea's daughters with their 
fierce Roman lovers, all the court of Suetonius Paulinus, 
and the fine recitative of the outraged maidens, the 
chorus of the Druids : 

Sounds, not arms, shall win the prise, 
Harmcmy the path to fame. 

He wanted to see and hear it all, and be filled with the 
whole sequence from overture to finale. Before the great 
day of completion Gerald had arranged a selection from 
the music in the first act as a suite for the piano, with 
which his firm had expressed themselves charmed. A 
vital question was whether to ask Clara Cue to sing the 
song in the second act at her grand annual concert in 
the Albert Hall : 

Fear not, isle of blowing woodland, isle of silvery parapets. 
Though the Roman eagle shadow thee, though uiy mercenaries 

menace thee, 
Thou shalt wax and they shall dwindle, thou shalt be the mightier 

yet I 

In the end, however, they decided against this i»x)poation, 



"CONCERT PITCH" 171 

resolved that the bloom must not be taken off the first 
production. 

Gerald was enthusiastic, and Harston seemed alight 
radiant, no doubt or shadow crossing his faith in his work. 

ManueUa s attitude towards her husband had changed. 
If love had not come with service, behef had. When 
Harston wrote and played. fuU of his music as a globe 
of light, she was ready to admit she was married to a young 
god. to worship and to guard the flame before the ahar 
When the lamp burned low. and he was her husband 
more human than God-hke. she cooked and darned for 
him dutifully. She had grown at peace with herself 
through serving him. 

On the Sunday before the opera was finished, the end 
actuaUy m sight. Gerald was inspired to suggest that a 
National theatre should be built for it. that the King and 
Queen would desire to take the lead in acknowledging 
such a gift to them and to their people. Stated in cold 
pnnt tlus may well look ridiculous. In that panelled 
room in Bedford Square, where the piano stood, it appeared 
not only feasible, but ahnost inevitable. Was this not 
tfte first great EngUsh Opera, the precursor of others 

?°^\ ^ ^"^"^ ^^'^^ was Bayreuth to guide them. 
r.,J^"!k'^. c ^^y^ *^^y sot that could be made into a 
^yreuth? Sandnngham is too small. Scotland too 

Ivil : • u ^*S°^*^ ^^^ ^ stranger's knowledge of 
the country he called his own. ^ 

From Manuella came the suggestion of Windsor. 

G.r.w "?^^ u'^l '• . ^^ ^°"'"^^' i"^t the place-ideal ! " 
bSf?; W H^ i^^ '^?' ^^ ^"^^ ^ theatre would be 
bum m Windsor Forest for the production of The Chanot 

couT^ H?n* F V '''^" ^^ ^^ * sit«' see what 
could be done ? You are not working any more to- 

It was early spring, the excursion was planned auicklv • 
m moments Uke this Gerald showed his abiuSS.^ ^ ' 
«... cK n'S"''%*fi' ^ two-o'clock train from Paddington • 
we shall be m WiudM>r before three. I know thSe^s^' 



172 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



fi'^ 



■ li 



express that only stops at Slough. It will be daylight 
until after six." 

They actually caught the train. Harston was in 
holiday spirits, more German than he knew at the prospect 
of an excursion in a forest. Gerald was full of the theatre, 
imagined the building, tier upon tier, and the people 
who would throng there. 

" You know this will make an enormous difference, 
not only to Windsor, but to Datchet and Slough, and as 
far as Maidenhead. They will have to build new 
hotels. ..." Gerald saw speculators buying land and 
building capaciously, multitudinously ; he wished he had 
capital to invest. 

In the third-class carriage which they had to them- 
selves Harston bawled a few bars of the " Song of the 
Thames " ; but presently he would talk no more of the 
opera or the theatre ; he would only speak enthusiastically 
of England, looking out of the window and drawing 
Manudla's or Gerald's attention to tree or sky, or sliifting 
panorama of the landscape. They passed mean suburban 
houses of red brick, long roads where passing motors left 
trailing clouds of dust, trees backward in budding, with 
sparse stems, and he foimd it all admirable, national, 
characteristic. 

But when they got to the Forest everything was 
different. The day, it is true, waT no longer warm, and 
the trees were hardly in bud. He found the paths 
too wide and ordered, the vistas narrow and confined, 
and a suitable site for the theatre was difficult to imagine. 
But Gerald's enthusiasm carried them through, and 
Harston's sjMrits never flagged. He called Manuella his 
Uebcken and his sweetheart : his energy was enormous, 
he was untiring in walking, and he showed a real sense of 
topogra]^, d^overing in time that the Forest was no 
maze, bat that the many roads converged to a centre. 
He fouxid where the Great Park encroached on the Forest 
land, and the many points frcrni which one saw the Castle 
and the rivw. He it was who ultimately discovered the 
very ftece for the theatre, and even before Gerald 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



173 



realized its advantages, Harston began to plan what 
trees must come down and what space would have to be 
cleared. 

Manuella plodded after them like a German housewife. 
She was unused to walking, soon tired, and at the end of 
the day most desperately weary, hardly able to keep up her 
dragging steps. She was a httle embittered by her fatigue, 
slightly out of temper. She began to see that their plans 
were only so much futile talk, to know that the King and 
Queen would not cut down their forest and clear a space 
for Harston and Gerald to build a theatre. Of course, 
she believed in the opera and in Harston's genius; 
without such beUef life would have been insupportable, 
but she could not take this talk of theirs seriously. 

They had tea at the station. Her legs ached and her 
back ached, her feet were hot and bUstered ; there were 
shadows under her eyes, her cheeks were sallow, at a word 
her temper flared. She did not want to pour out the tea, 
cut bread and butter, or spread jam for them. Harston 
had learnt to expect all these things from her; he ate 
Uke a German on a holiday, with gusto, abandonment, 
quite voraciously. 

" But go, go on ! Cut more, cut thicker sUces." His 
mouth was full as he spoke. 

"Cut some yourself." She pushed the loaf over to him 
before he had half finished. " I can't cut you any nrre 
I'm tired." y -^ 

He did not understand at all. 

" Oh, no ! but that is impossible. I cannot cut bread 
and butter for myself, nor spread the jam. And I -nust 
have another cup of tea— a large cup, strong. I hav. a 
great thirst. ..." or e 

This was the first time there had been anything hke a 
scene between them. Manuella was for ever unreal 
with Harston. playing the part she had assigned herself. 
Over-fatigue was responsible for the childishness of her 
behaviour this afternoon at the round marble-topped 
table in the dingy refreshment-room of the railway 
station. She said sac wooldfi't cut any more bread, and 



«74 



" CONCERT PITCH ** 



the wouldn't pour out any more tea; she was sick of 
waiting upon him. Harston was astonished, Gerald 
grioved ; both of them made matters worse by sympathy, 
kindness. to«i much talk. ^ / r- 7 

*• But you are iU. . . ." 
" We ve overtired you 1 " 
" I'm not ill, I'm quite weU. I'm not tired." 
" But you are cross ! " 

She even cried presently, tears of rage ; they could not 
understand her at all. Their high spirits were damped 
and destroyed, the whole excursion spoilt. On the way 
home in the third-class carriage, overfull with other ex- 
cursionists, she lay back silent and repentant in the comer, 
acutely conscious that both Harston and Gerald were 
watching her imcomprehendingly, as if they saw her for 
the first time, and did not know how rightly to deal with 
•0 strange a phenomenon. She was infuriated when they 
asked her again if she were tired. They di'' not speak of 
the theatre, they were so engaged in wondenng what had 
come to her. 

When they got home she made no effort to prepare 
supper for them, she went straight to bed, her temper 
not yet restored. But she was quite disgusted with 
herself and convinced that her stepmother had been right. 
She had no excuse for herself, she felt wretched and 
ashamed, but convinced, nevertheless, that all the talk 
had been ridiculous, and the long walk in search of a site 
merely waste of energy. 

In a way, Gerald and Harston, sitting over supper, 
came to the same conclusion. They dismissed the 
strangeness of her conduct, Harston with a shrug and 
Gerald with a sigh. 

'' We walked too far for her." 

" She could surely have said so I " 

*' She will be all right in the morning." 

" I shall have to work all the morning." 

" You will be finished by Wednesday ? " 

" By Wednesday my score will be ready." 

They discussed the writing out, the copying, then they 



" CONCERT PITCH •» 175 

came back to the qoettion of the theatre. It would be 
a year, two years, before a theatre could be built To 
wait was of coune impossible. The excursion had been 
on^y a hohday The theatre of their dreams was for the 
future, the far distant future. Of course, they had reahzed 
this aU the time ; there was smaU need for ManueUa 
to point out their foUy to them. She had not spared 
them, but of orarse they knew. ThTbpera must firet be 
produced at The Grand Capitol. They spoke of the 
production at The Grand Capitol as they sat talkin£ after 
supper, talking long into the night. 

parti toW^* ^* ^^^ *° *^ ^^^^ *"^ P^*^ ^*^**"" 
" You are going to tell him that you wiU yourself take 
the rehearsak, conduct the first performance ! But 

Harston was in no humour to listen to buts. And, after 
au, Gerald was only an echo, never a voice. They were 
both vwy young, and Harston knew as Uttle about the 
production of opera in England as he did about women. 
He thought everything was going to be easy, quite plain 
•Mhng. For a masterpiece there is always opportunity^ 

Jh^^L^'^jS^^ ^^^^ supper-table, wbkh showed 
toew)r8e for Manuella's abeence. he was as definite and 

fee ^s. "^"^ ^*'^*' °' ^''^'^' ^^ ^«^<* 

«nH r^-^^ "J?" ^"""^ *° ** remodeUed. Reinhardt 
and Creig are aU very weU in their way but Ihave 
g«e beyond thm. AU the theatre m^t' U parfof 
^TZiirJ^'y'^ atmosphere is preserved. T^ 

toSS^n^J^i^*^ °^ ^ atmosphere, assisting the 
»agedy. not merely spectators. . •• »6 «« 

gw scene of the sacrifice, the Court of Paulinus 

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Rochester, New York 14609 USA 

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(716) 288- 5989 -Fox 



176 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



I 



Britain with music and deep undercurrents of spirit- 
sound. In the Overture, and in the choruses, this cradle 
of a race, this birthplace of a nation, this battle-song and 
prophecy, this wailing and rejoicing was one homogeneous 
whole. It was not natural for him to turn aside from 
such a vision to think of a scolding girl, overtired perhaps, 
certainly ill-tempered. He was not angry with her, but 
she may have dropped a httle in importance. Perhaps 
ahready she disappointed him. 



Harston Migotti had been in the train of Steinhault, 
the great artist, whom crowned heads had united to 
honour, to whom palaces* had been open, and who 
was acclaimed wherever he went. Perhaps not un- 
naturally, he compared himself with that triumphant 
Steinhault, and to his own advantage. Steinhault played 
other men's music superbly, incomparably. But he, 
Bfigotti, was poet and composer. That Pan should play 
and the hurrying, busy world of men not stay to listen 
was a contingency outside the sweep of his soaring 
imagination. He hved in a dream-world that he bestrode 
like a Colossus, and, enveloped by a rarefied atmosphere 
of adulation, the dazzhng Ught of his supreme self- 
confidence made him see the actual world but dimly. 
Vested interests were a sordid something of which he had 
never heard, an empty phrase for Uttle men. 

It seems impossible that he should have had no 
doubt nor misgiving lest he should be denied a hearing. 
But the impossible is true. With difiiculty Gerald per- 
suaded him to write to Madame Liebius for an introduction 
to the impresario of the Opera House. The score had to 
be transcribed, there must needs be a waiting time. 
Madame Liebius replied : 

" The end— no, the beginning has come at last ; then 
the great, great work is complete. Oh ! how I long to 
hear it, see it — our Wonder Boy ! Of course I will write 
to Brian Q'Neill. I am singing for him this season. Who 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



^create the part of your Chariot Queen ? You must 
^gfand-' '"^*'^"^- '" '^' --^^^ I will be""^* 

There was more in the letter, but that was th*- mcf 
of her message. The one that went S Th^ score to 
Bnan O'Neill was even more enthusiacfir Qh! \ t 

^aJ1„':ry*" '•'' P"* '" England ShetU'exaS?; 

impatient, ^cause (^rl%Z"lty.^^^^Jl^X 
be done. For eight and ten hours a daThe lafat the 
piano, or mth his head bent over the score N^lvthr^ 
weeks ,»ssed before he remembered to ^nderthv^ 
answer had come from the Opera House ^ ^ 

at W^t „„7"''"?^'*i'^* °'N^" "=« "ot in England, or 
at teast. not in London. In the end, Hatston deddS' 
he m,Bt go and see him; it would be infam^m"f oS 

s'Stin^^fX/'" '"''^ •"*° '""^ -i^--^^- 
ManueUa had, of course, recovered her temoer if not 

S H»^ h r5°"' "'''° ^y *■«« «™«-« was only ^ 
Sdtrfi^^C" Z S*'an^e£^t 

.X' wenl-anr^l tt^^^t'C'^^^^^ 

it .^ ^nler^TtoleT ^"^ ^ ^' "r^ ^e^ 
harffly d^^ and I ,„nZ '*'"' *•' '^- ^ow. I. I cL 
nightf?" PP""^ y»"' *»<>• pass sleepless 

opSrs?o"uIdX;rSen*^^fro ''■^"' l"^ "=* *•» 
With an orches^: ^^TuX^^n^^ '"" ^^'^ 

za 



178 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



He had not written for an appointment, and he was kept 
waiting, first in the lobby of the theaire, and then, after 
he had sent in his card, in the anteroom of the manager's 
office. When at last he was asked to enter, O'Neill, who 
had interviewed already about fourteen prima-donnas, 
various chorus masters, bcdUts divertisseuses, entrepreneurs, 
and Heaven knows whom besides, had forgotten why he 
had consented to see him. He had, at the back of his 
mind, some association with the name, but he could not 
for the moment recall the circumstance. The letter 
from Madame Liebius, the parcel tb'^t had come with it, 
the name of Harston Migotti, had all escaped him. 

He was courteous, of course, in his temporary lapse 
of memory, with that hurriefi perfunctory courtesy that 
is so very httle removed from indifference. He waited 
for the man himself to give him the due. Possibly it was 
about an engagement. He put on his " And-what-can-I- 
do-for-you ? " air, and leaned back in his chair. 

This was Harston Migotti's chance, had he but under- 
stood and taken it. Here he was, in the great man's room, 
assured for the moment, at least, of his attention. Harston 
was a young man with a personaUty, and as we know, of 
striking appearance; already Brian O'Neill had glanced 
at him with interest. He had only to accentuate that 
interest, estabUsh it. Everybody knows that Brian 
O'Neill is generous, expansive, keen to secure new 
talent. A few words from Harston would have been 
sufficient, a few tactful words about the manager's services 
to music, the last successful season, the promise of the new 
one under his management. O'Neill had had an 
extremely busy morning, Migotti's name was unfamiliar 
to him but, certainly he would have Ustened if the right 
methods had been employed. 

" I am Migotti. Harston Migotti." So abruptly 
Harston began, without a word of recognition of his 
hearer's great position, or his complaisance in receiving 
artists. 

" To be sure . . . Migotti I And what can I do for 
you, Mr. Migotti? Be seated; be seated, please. I've 



" CONCERT PITCH " ,79 

wntten rfe CAorto, g„«„, the libretto, and .L m„j?^ 

Engb^h &^' '"'^"f* q"'" *eU now. Theorist 
tonsil Opera, He had found the note. " But mv 

^Zi if"*' ''T ! y°" ''"°* *hat there are do«m of 
En^hsh operas ? ' An Enghsh National Music '^ he 

:^ofX^^- "Y^-y^ofcou,^,. Dnnds:andth^ 

He was quite pleasant, if a Uttle patroniani? H» 
remembered the pretentiousness with SS^hTsc^ 
had been forwarded to him and th»t Hb hi Lr 

Kd t !'*• t "^ ^r -^ *'^"^ ™ '^« t^-*^ ^^~ 

He told the secretary who answered it to be auickSd 

there to £^ Wnf ^^ """^"^ *° S^*"<^« ^t it then and 
comS^r Aftr ;r? 'k''' encouraging, to the young 
oSr^Aw ^1 * u ^^""^ ^"^^ and composed aS 

opera-any opera, at the age of the young maVbefore 
to was very creditable, showed industry. enteS 
He went on talking whilst they waited forVpZuo 

V^revou Jftll'T *^a^e heard your name before, 
were you at the Academy, or the GuildhaU ? You have 
done other work, of course ? " *" r rou nave 

^.!S^ u°"f, "^^ perfunctory, perhaps, but he was cer- 
tainly fondly and courteous. liLton hardly yet^^aliSd 
w^ ^t ^nouncement of his name, and the^fac ha^^e 

r^t Heh^'' ?\ l^ i^^ ^*^''«' had fai?ed of 
^^' -^u^^ "°* t**'^" the oeat indicated to him • he 

inre^r^^n"^'^^ T^' ^"^ "^^ ^^' uncoin^To'miB! 
mg expression. When O'Neill spoke of oth^r F«*Kch 

operas, he could not disguise his Smpt. ^^^ 

12* 



/ 



i8o 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



J 



^11 



" But they don't count, they don't count at '»ll." 

O'Neill looked at him questioningly, with x certain 
surprise and stopped his questions. Harston took ad- 
vantage of the pause. 

" Mine is a National Opera, not Uke any other. In 
Italy, in France, and in Germany they have a National 
Music, but not in England. . . ." 

Then he mentioned the names of two English composers ; 
and tore their work to pieces in a phrase. 

Brian O'Neill actually reddened ; t'le two composers 
in question had been his own discoveries, his own 
novelties of laF season, presented by him to the limited 
opera-going public. Certainly they had been only fairly 
well recei^^ed, but the young man was impertinent, 
presuming. The secretary at this moment brought the 
mislaid parcel. He took it and untied the strings. 
Migotti saw that it had not been opened ! 

" You have not looked at my opera I " he exclaimed. 
Of course, that was the explanation. How could the 
man know the difference between his opera and every 
other that had been written if he had not looked at it ? 
He would have to play it to him. His eyes roved for a 
piano. Yes 1 there it was, an Erard grand standing 
open. Brian O'Neill saw the direction of his eyes. He 
said pleasantly, for he had recovered his self-possession 
and superficial agreeability : 

" Do you realize that I have some dozen operas brought 
or sent to me every week ? I am a very busy man, Mr. 
Migotti." 

" But mine is not an ordinary opera ! " Harston Migotti 
was amazed that this had not been iinderstood. 
' Of course not ! " 

And sotto voce he added : " They never are ! " 

He had untied the string ; he was looking thi ugh the 
o/erture, now humming a bar or two under his breath. 
ft But it was not a bar of The Chariot Queen that i»3 was 
humming! His mind was upon the opera brought him 
that morning by a peer, one of the richest men in England, 
who was prepared to put up any amount of money to 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



i8i 



have it staged. Already he was wondering if it were 
possible, if some special professional skill could make it 
producible. His eyes were on Migotti's MSS., but 
his mind, that versatile, agile mind o his, had suddenly 
reverted elsewhere. 

Migotti could not make out what passage he was 
trying to materialize ; he went quite naturally to the 
piano, adjusted the stool, and sat down. When he began 
to play. O'Neill was really overwhelmed by his temerity. 
He had not been asked to play, no permission had been 
given. But when, not content with playing, Harston 
started to thimder out in his impossible voice : 

"Hear, Icenian, CatiencManian, hear Coritanian 
Trinobant I " 

O'Neill became convinced that the fellow was mad, 
actually stark, staring mad I He was a handsome fellow' 
and could play the piano, but that he was mad, the Great 
Man of the Opera House, who had given him no permission 
to play, and certainly none to sing, had no doubt. " And 
a damned nuisance to boot. . . ." was how he finished 
the sentence in his own mind. " Damn it, he's bellowing 
like a bull. ..." 

How to silence him, how to get rid of him, was the 
immediate question. He had Lord Swanage's offer to 
consider ; Lord Swanage was coming back in the afternoon 
for his answer. Brian O'Neill never heard the trumpet 
effect, or the fanfaronnade that introduced the chorus in 
the second act, nor the Invc ation. ... A long time was 
to elapse before he knew, in common with the whole world, 
the whole music-loving worid, that he was listening to 
what is now admittedly the finest and most characteristic 
aria heard on our own, or any, stage since Tannhduser. 
To him, the piano and Migotti's dreadful voice, and the 
aria, were only obstructions to his day's work, to the 
immediate work that pressed. He did not know how to 
put a stop to it, how to tell the musician that this was not 
the way to obtain consideration for his opera. It seemed 



1^ 



r^- 



182 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



\i 



y. 



impo»uble to stop Migotti at the piano, thundering out 
selections from the score. 

Brian O'Neill took the path of least resistance ; he 
escaped from the room. When Migotti took his fingers 
from the keys, and swung round on the stool, in the 
expectation of seeing the man entranced, overwhelmed, 
ready to embrace him, and place the house, the artists, 
everybody and everything at his disposal, he was con- 
fronted by a totally unexpected figure, a dogmatic young 
man in glasses, who said : 

" I say, don't you know you oughtn't to make such a 
row here ? We can hear you on the stage. Don't you 
know we are at rehearsal ? " i 

He g&zed at Migotti through his round glasses, and 
Migotti flung back his head with its mane of fair hair 
and scared back at him. He had almost forgotten where 
he was, l.e had been so absorbed in his beautiful music. 
Mr. O'Neill's secretary continued more mildly, his 
instructions had been definite. 

" Get rid of him for me. Tell him I'll consider his 
opera; tell him we are full up for the season, but I'll 
look it over before the next. Tell him any damn thing ; 
Oiily get rid of him. Politely, if possible ; but get rid of 
him. He is a prot6g4 of Liebius, a genius, a crank. Oh, 
Lord i hsten to him. . . ." 

" But Mr. O'NeiU . . . where is Mr. O'NeiD ? " ex- 
claimed Harston from the piano-stool. Now the secretary 
could hear his own voice, and execute his commission 
properly. He smiled, he beamed : 

" He told me to offer you his apologies. He is really 
so overwhelmed with work just now. About your opera : 
he told me to tell you he is going to give it the most 
careful consideration. Of course, for this season you know 
we have made our engagements. . . ." 

" Do you mean to teU me that your master has not 
even heard what I've played him; that the finest, the 
most original and astonishing music that has been written 
since Siegfried has not kept him here. . . . ? " It was 
really astounding, incredible; his fair face flushed. 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



183 



" He will consider it, he will certainly consider it," the 
secretary had a soothing, almost cooing manner— " but 
not now, not just now. In six months, perhaps, or in 
twelve. . . ." He thought he was obeying his instruc- 
tions with complete tact. " You may leave your work 
with him, he told me to say so. . . ." 

He was never more astonished in his hfe than when 
the musician, red in the face, and " Uke a madman," 
so he recorded the scene, burst into a fury of words, the 
gist of which was that O'Neill did not know music when 
he heard it, was not capable of understanding anything 
better than opera bouffe or musical comedy, that he was 
not worthy to produce The Chariot Queen, and now 
would never be allowed to do so. 

Harston Migotti seized the parcel that still lay only 
half-opened on the table ; he would have rushed away 
without his hat, but the secretary followed him to the 
door and tactfully handed it to him. 

" I say, you know. You must not take things like 

'^ Mr. O'Neill is a\7fully interested. You must tell 



that. 



Madame Liebius that he said he was very much obliged 
to her for giving him the opportimity. . . ." 

Migotti was flying down the stairs before the mild young 
man had brought out half the speeches that are used on 
similar occasions. But he had a certain sense of satisfac- 
tion, for he had executed the essential part of his com- 
mission, and "got rid of the fellow." 



. « 



\ 



CHAPTER XVI 




FOR a few days Harston said nothing about this 
visit to either Manuella or Gerald. He brooded 
over it, and went long, solitary walks. Surely his opera 
was beautiful 1 He spnt hours at the piano, or over the 
score, wondering. 

They knew better than to question him, although Gerald 
at least, was overwhelmed with curiosity. It was the 
first rebuf! of which the young musician had ever been 
conscious. The fit of fury in O'Neill's room had been 
followed by a bewilderment of anger, into which doubt 
intruded. But he pondered, and re-read the music, and 
played it, and felt there was no room for doubt. 

When, in about a week's time, he had reassured h'niself, 
he told them what had happened. Of coiu^e, Gerald 
found a hundred excuses and explanations. Manuella, 
too, although akeady she took only a seondary place 
in their councils, did not think it proved an 'thing but 
Mr. O'NeiU's incapacity for the position he held. 

"Considering that he never looked at the score, and, 
when you played it, he did riot listen, it is not a personal 
matter at all, nothing to do with the opera. You say 
the parcel had never been opened." 

" I played it to him ; I played the Invocation I " 

" Bv* he wasn't in the room." 

" He was in the room when I began to play." 

" Then, someone must have called him away." 

184 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



i8s 



retted ?^ "^"^^ ^""^ returned; surely he could have 

" We don't know what kept him " 
play^°*.^''^ ^^"""^"^ ^""^ ^^P* ^"'' ^ continued to 

ani* T *^iP^°^?b^^' b.ut worse, of course, for Brian O'NeiU 
and the Grand Capitol audiences, than for Harston 

t^ wiit' ""^^ *° '"'^^ ^"* ^* ^^ impossible 

" Let me take it to John Otterstein. He has ^reotten 
Sed "'""''' ^^"^ ^'^^'" ^""^^ ^"^^'" ^^^d 

.«?«"! Harston had lost something of his supreme self- 
confidence It was as if he were a child, and had been 
unexpectedly, undeservedly struck and was stiU ^" 
wildered by the blow. They had to make him forgS 
to prove to him he had done nothing wrong, but had offered 
a precious stone. briUiant and unmatchable. It w^^ 

At ^^L ni ^'^ ^'!! "^^^-*^^*" ^^^ ^ ^^^^'"^^ Pebble 
At times, of course, he assumed a different attitude- 

he was n ^ the child, but the master, knowing it wJs a 

diamond of the finest water he had found and set. Never- 

thel^. Gerald had to urge Otterstein upon him 

He has his own theatre, and can do what he Hkes 

here ; n..t hke O Neill who. after all. acts for a syndici^ 

and not for himself. Look what Otterstein did in 

America. And he's got the public; he's impressed 

In the end they all became persuaded that the new 
house on the Embankment. "The Amba. ^adors." was the 
nght house pending the building of that ideal theatre 
right mIL' ' ^"^ ^^""^ •^°^" Otterste n was the 

otetS"' ^^^"""^^ * "**^^ '^^ self-confident, was no lesr 

"This time I will not ask Madame Liebius for an intro- 

hZZ n 5^ "^^^ *''. ^"^ "^y^^*' ^^^ I ^U send 
him the Overture. That is all I will send him. for it is 

enough. It is that, or the whole opera, and he, toi 



[If 



m 



r, 



1 86 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



•■,,i 



night say he had no tims, was too busy to consider it. 
For the Overture he will have time." 

That letter of Harston's was perhaps responsible for the 
result. Some day it will be in the British Museum, 
John Otterstein has promised it. But when it came to him 
first he laughed — be only laughed I 

" Dear Sir, 

" I send you with this the Overture, and the text, 
of my opera The Chariot Queen. You will see for yourself 
that ic is unlike anything that has been done before. 
But with tl e rest of it you will perhaps be more surprised. 
I wish it produced this season, and with as Uttle delay 
as possible. I will myself undertake the rehearsals, and 
conduct at the performances. The scenery will necessitate 
some alterations in the construction of the theatre, which 
can be put in hand at once. I should like an interview with 
you when you have considered the Overture, and then I 
will tell you all my plan. 

" MiGOTTI." 

Gerald thought there should be more in the letter about 
Migotti's intention to found a School of English National 
Music. But Harston said that when he saw John Otter- 
stein it would be time enough. 

It certainly never entered either of their heads that 
the letter would be looked upon as a joke, treated as a 
hoax, handed round, and laughed at. Yet that is what 
actually occurred. And the answer was intended to be 
witty. 

" Mr. Otterstein is obliged to ' Migotti ' for his friendly 
offer of rebuilding ' The Ambassadors,' and producing, 
conducting and rehearsing his work, but suggests that 
for opera bouffe some other house would perhaps be 
more suitable." 

What the reply meant none of them could understand ; 
it was completely incomprehensible. Opera bouffe 1 



- 1^. 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



187 



Th« Overture of Th$ Chariot ^erw-opcrt boofle I What 
Old It wean? Gerald was as ready as ev^- with 
explanation. ^ 

" ?»^ 3?" P"* your note in the jarcel with the Over- 
ture ? Of course not. That's what has happened: 
they ve got separated. He gets a lot of stuff, and it is evt.i 
poMible someone has hit upon the same title. What 
isn t possible is to call The Chariot Queen opera boufie I 
It s absurd to get the hump over it. ..." 

But for the moment nothing could be done with 
narston. He had not even words for argument. 

Manuella and Gerald argued with crrh other as to 
what was best to do now, and recaUerl nstances where 
gemus had failed of instant recognition. In the end 
Manuella herself wrote to Mr. Otterstein. asking if he had 
received the Overture and text of her husband's opera, 
rneChartot Queen, and enclosing the note about the opera 
bouffe, which she said she thought must be meant for 
someone else. 

When Mr. Otterstein received these and understood that 
Ihe Chartot Qufen letter was not a hoax, nor the pro- 
duction of a humorist who wished to "draw" him he 
caused quite a nice, thoroughly American reply to be sent 
to the lady. He had not time to look at either music 
or text, but dictating amiable letters was one of his gifts. 

" My dear Madam, 

"As you say, the letter enclosed was sent in 
error. I was exceedingly interested in your husband's 
valuable and most original work. I am returning it to 
you by this mail, as it is my misfortune at the moment 
to have no opening for it. With my best wishes, never- 
thelws, for his ultimate success, of which I am sure there 
can be no doubt, I remain, 

" Faithfully yours, 

" John Otterstein." 

The letter was opened by ManueUa in the presence of 
Oerald, and was found alternately to be encouraging and 



m 



i88 



" CONCERT PITCH 



» 



discouraging. ManueUa was for writing again to find out 
when he would have an opening. GereJd, undoing the 
parcel, had his misgivings that it was intact as it had been 
sent. 

It was incredible to him that Harston Migotti was to 
join the ranks of those unrecognized geniuses, unacted or 
unsung, unpublished or unpurchased, of whom the annals 
of ai-t and literature are full. 

As for Harston, he had fits of rage, when he would 
thimip the piano and break into wild diatribes of anger 
against the music that was produced, the people who 
produced it. the critics who praised it. But, as time went 
on, these wild fits of rage were interspersed with attacks 
of profound and, to those two who watched him, tor-? 
turing depression, in which they could do little or nothing 
to help him. He did not lose faith in himself or The 
Chariot Queen, but he lost faith, or seemed to be on the 
brinK of losing faith, in humanity, in justice. During 
one whole week he would neither play nor compose, and 
the piano was kept closed. He took long soUtary walks, 
absenting himself from them for intolerably anxious hours. 
His health seemed to fail, yet he complained of nothing ; 
indeed, he hardly talked at all. But he grew thin, and 
his eyes, under the pent brows, seemed to have sunk back 
into his head ; his cheeks were hollow. It was the first 
time disappointment had come near him, or disillusion- 
ment. The " I am Migotti " attitude had buoyed all his 
youth. His intellect was so acute, his spirit so proud, 
that his position was now intolerable. He saw a new 
Migotti, one that had failed — failed of a hearing. His 
rages were Uke demons that desecrated his soul, and his 
soul was seared and unfit for song. 

The two who watched him took constant counsel. To 
their credit it may be recorded that they never wavered 
in their behef in him. 

The tenderness Manuella discovered in hrr heart towards 
her husband at this period was very Hke love, and 
might have grown into love. She, too, had known dis- 
appointment, disillusionment ; hsr sympathy flowed to 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



189 



him. If it took the form of preparing dishes that he 
rarely ate, and never noticed, of redoubling her domestic 
cares and solicitudes for him, this was because she could 
think of nothing better. 

Out of the misery of those disordered days was born a 
question. Gerald asked her one day when they were as 
usual alone, Migotti ever more restless, wandering some- 
where with his tortured spirit : " Would not your father 
help ? " 

He put it with some hesitation, knowing, of course* 
that'Manuella had married without her father's consent. 
It had always been tacitly understood that she would 
seek forgiveness when the success of the opera justified her 
faith ; understood, that is to say, by Gerald and Harston 
himself. Manuella had no illusions. 

The papers were fuU of Sir Hubert Wagner when Gerald 
asked the question. The illustrated weeklies had his 
photograph and that of Loetitia. Sir Hubert, not com- 
pletely recovered from his recent illness, was propitiating 
the Deity by a huge gift towards the establishment of 
an endowed Protestant Church in Johannesburg. He was 
going out himself to assist at laying the first stone of a 
great cathedral. 

" He has given two hundred and fifty thousand pounds 
towards an endowment, and he is going to build ^six 
churches. Wouldn't he do something for a National 
Opera House ? He would get just as much, or more, 
kudos out of it. . . ." 

" I have never heard one word from them since my 
marriage; I believe he has forgotten my existence. 
There is not an earthly chance of their doing an3rthing to 
help me or him, and I wouldn't ask them. You don't 
know my stepmother. I want her to think I am quite 
happy ; she will hate that." 

" But we can't either of us be happy when he is like 
this." 

Naturally Gerald Streatfield could never think of 
any other reason why Manuella should not be completely 
happy. He pressed the question, but she refused 



■J 



190 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



: 



'ft 

If 



^1 

■ 1 
i 



emphatically to write the appeal that could only bring 
humiliation. Yet the opera must be heard ; of that they 
were both agreed. It was impossible to speak to Hai^ton. 
and his absences were getting more prolonged. Once he 
was away two days and a night, and when he returned, 
it was obvious he had been all that time without food or 
sleep. The idea of suicide was hanging about the out- 
skirts of their mind, waiting for entrance. There were 
times when they could scarcely speak of him to each 
other, the alteration in him was so dreadful. He seemed 
to shrink from them, from their sympathetic eyes; it 
was obvious he could not bear sympathy. His sensitive- 
ness was so inflamed that even their presence in the room 
hurt. He to be pitied I He to need sympathy ! Migotti 1 
The mood might have passed, it was too painful, perhaps 
too unreasonable, to have lasted. 

" If only I had money of my own I would take a theatre 
and mount the opera. I know it has only to be heard. 
It is killing him to think his music must lie dead, inarti- 
culate. I know how he feels, for he told me. Like a 
father with a child, lovely, exquisite, but blind and deaf 
and dumb. That is exactly how he feels. I have written 
down his own words. . . ." 

" We must do something." 

Later on that evening, when Hartson was in the 
room, but sitting apart from them, silent, Gerald said it 
again : 

" If only I had money of my own I " 

Harston was apparently not hstening, but to their 
surprise he said irritably : 

" What use would it be if you had all the money in the 
world ? You could not make them produce The Chariot 
Queen." 

" I would take a theatre and produce it myself," 
Gerald answered boldly. 

" But why not ? Why not ? " 

Harston sprang excitedly to his feet. 

" Because I haven't the money. I only wish I had." 

" But / have, / h^v^, Is it, then, only a question of 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



SSa s!r Af P •?"* '""'• -"^y <"«' -' y- - 

He was all excitement and rapid interrogation Th^.^ 
wa. question and quick ^..r' cJJ.^'^^^^XJtZ 

her hi^band hVed was derived fr^m a S^tdTSt,^^ 
vested to provide for his education, but when he Mm* r>» 

^ o™"^™^' h?.'l" '" """■ *■>** -- '^" -P"^-- 
nis own. mere had been an interview when ranerR nt 

rele^ were signed. The lawyer had s^k^ of ^hfStfa 

factory investments, and advised that H Mr MigoW^ad 

l" t3;:SjL""Held''h r^^ r theyToK 
and Gerald his ecstatic henchman. Of coui^ S3 

out Tnamad-sJe ^ ''^^ * "*'' ^"^""^ »"'J ^^ 
thel^siXngT do""^ "^ "" °"* • *•-* --■ <" -=<"«-. 

uiuiigai to Hareton in his present mood. She 



192 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



ventured a word to Gerald, but Gerald asked her in 
astonishment how could the enterprise fail ? Was it 
possible that the greatest musical work of the day, the 
first wholly English opera, written and composed by a 
tone-poet, greater than Richard Wagner, who would 
conduct all the rehearsals, arrange all the scenery, engage 
all the artists, fail of a great, of a commanding success ? 
Besides, as Gerald pointed out enthusiastically, Harston 
was not one to care for luxury ; he had slept as well on 
his old dust-bed as he did now on the new spring mattress, 
eaten at restaurants, and worn old clothes. . . . Manuella 
flushing, but keeping silence in her growing self-discipUne, 
reaUzed how Uttle she had done for him. Certainly, now 
she would not stand in his way. 

In these first days after the great decision, there seemed 
no drawbacks to face, no obstacles to overcome. None of 
the difl&culties of the enterprise appeared at once. The 
investments reaUzed six thousand pounds ; with that 
it was easy to take a theatre. Once the Palestrina was 
secured, paragraphs began to appear ; soon Harston was 
overwhelmed with offers of help, offers that in the end 
showed that everybody wished to help themselves to a 
share of the six thousand pounds. All these volunteer 
assistants were agreed in acknowledging Harston Migotti's 
genius and admiring his opera, even before hearing it. 

The ease with which Harston Migotti was allowed to 
spend his six thousand pounds was only exceeded by the 
diflaculty he found in getting value for it. Once the 
theatre was taken, all the careful estimates he and Gerald 
had made went by the board. Everyone realized they 
were dealing with amateurs, and extras mounted accord- 
ingly. The amount allowed for rent and lighting, dresses 
and scenery, pro^'ed elastic, and the never-ending re- 
hearsals had all to be paid for. All the incredible diffi- 
culties were doubled and redoubled by the English 
libretto. 

Singers of all nations were engaged, tned and dis- 
carded, and had to be compensated. Paliset and Callot 
returned their parts after having accepted them; they 



"CONCERT PITCH" ,93 

could neither learn their words nor sing the music 
Hayelock Green and Trestle were unknowl. and mS 

people had been approached that the mere list of 
th«r names reads like a Who's Who of the operatic 

Harston Migotti set himself the task of giving an 
adequate representation of a scheme that in its first 
mtention was to have outrivalled anything as yet seen 
outside Bayreuth. with a complete ignorance of the 
task confrontmg him. The production of grand opera 
IS an enterprise so Uttle hke any other, that a Ufetime is 
necessary as an education for its accomplishment 

Rnf J'hL I ^^f^^^ ^^ "^^ ^^*^" ^y the ^foreseen. 
But, then he foresaw nothing ; neither the unfitness of 

he acoustics of the house for the large orchestra, and 
the space needed, nor the impossibility of finding EngUsh 
smge^. The inevitable had to happen. This too is 
an old story now. but the result could never have been 
in doubt. 

The climax came when, less than a week before the firet 
night Madame Stella Lely developed an operatic sore 
throat, and threw up the title r61e. It was too late to 
find a pnma-donna. O'Neill and John Otterstein would 
release no one from her contract. Grand opera voices were 
not to be found on concert platforms, in musical comedy 
companies, m schools of music. Or. if they were to be 
found there was no time to look for them. Manuella, at 

nw- ^^"^rr^"^ "°.*^ °* *h^ "^^^^' a"d the composer's 
intention. It was, of course, a counsel of despair, but iust 
one week before the first night ManueUa was told that 
the only way to help her husband, to save the opera, was 

Z^lf ?Z^^ *^^ P^* ""^ " Boadicea." Once she had 
Reamed of becoming a great singer; now she knew her 
madeqimcy and pleaded, how she pleaded ! But what 
was to be done ? 

wh3r ^""^ '"i??.'* "^^^ ^""^ °^e^ ^^"'" Gerald argued 
when he was called into council. " For God's sake don't 
make objections. Just do the best you can. I don't 

X3 




»!n 



194 



" CONCERT PITCH 



it 



know what will happen if you fail us. We have tried 

everybody." , . 

Gerald was distracted ; nothing but Harston s in- 
domitable belief in himself and the opera could have 
carried them through to a performance. 

" It will not stand or fall by the title r61e/' lie told his 
wife consolingly. " It is not you. but my music, they will 
come to hear." 

" Of course I will uo the best I can," she promised 

Harston. t .. v 

" I shall spoil the opera, you know it as well as I, she 

told Gerald. 

"Nothing can spoil the. opera. As for this pro- 
duction ..." , 

But he would not admit that he knew nothing but 

fiasco was before them. 

She rehearsed with and without the orchestra, daily, 
hourly, all that short week ; toox hasty lessons in stage 
deportment and diction, threw herself into the part with 
a most passionate abandonment. She had a beautiful voice 
and a fine ear, and was not without dramatic talent. But 
not all the intensity of her desire and her Sisyphian labours 
could disguise the fact that the task she undertook was 
beyond her. Perhaps she would have acquitted herself 
better if Harston had been able to conceal this from her. 
But all he said was that she was not worse than many of 
the others, and that, however it was sung, the Press and 
public, Mr. O'Neill and Otterstein would know how fine 
the music was, how original and characteristic. 



CHAPTER XVII 



'pHE last week passed with incredible swiftness. 

work fiX!i ; '^^'«"",f u^""' ^^^^^"sting. overwhelming 
work fiiled Its difficult hours. Manuella was little less 

XW^l^^V^^" '^' ^^^ b^^" ^t the beg^iniS 
although she had had much help .rom kind wom?n a^d 
men m the new profession she was adventuring 
T,,/^.^^f*°^ ^«««» was being produced bv Harston 

and sl^ge^ ^ P'''^''^*' ^" '^^^^ *° ^^^"^H' 

He had reduced and further reduced his ambitions 
na^owed down his ideas that still remained S 
than anyone else's, accepted, almost without complSnt 

HWn • . ^^*^^ *^"^ ^^ SO different from the 
tensions of his intention, so belittled and shorn, tha? 
the tragedy of the first night hardly affected him. 

welhh .Z ^"'"^ !f ""J^ P^""* °^ °"^ "^tio^al musical 
vonn^ acknowledged to be all. and more than, the 

young composer claimed for it. In it we see the bir h of 
a nation, hear the break of the waves against our shor^ 

n n;i?* *"^P^"f and battling of armies, and always 

Tl^^l f ?f *^°^ *^" awakening heart of a peop7e^ 

with tha "° ^ ^" "P^^ '^^^"ity' the music is \atal 
with tht umversaJ appeal of enduring art ; we all know 

195 13 ♦ 



196 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



this now. But the conception was on too great a scale, 
and all the execution fell below it. The period of the 
story was too remote for general sympathy, the love- 
interest rude and primitive, the wild scenery almost 
repellent in its ruggedness. On the first night of the pro- 
duction in London, on the stage of the P^destrina, under 
amateur management, with the wife of the composer 
in the title rdle, the opera had no chance at all of a fair 
judgment. The taint of amateurism was over every- 
thing ; it is cruel and unnecessary to go into detail. 
Uninstructed or inefficient workmen manoeuvred the 
scenery ; the waves were canvas on the wood that rocked 
them, the Reinhardt Ughting, as by this time it had come 
to be called, was another name for the gloom on the stage 
that spread quickly to the coughing restless house. The 
action was obscured by delays; the orchestra was con- 
founded and the choruses confused by the stage car- 
penters. Manuella's long hair was black, and though she 
was in great beauty, and rose at times to the occasion, 
she was never Boadicea, and the rage of prophecy was only 
in her flushed cheeks and glorious anguished eyes ; it 
was never in he; inadequate voice and delivery. Her 
perfOimance would have damned any opera. 

The greater part of the audience left before the end of 
the second act. Those that remained made up for the 
discourtesy of the others by exercising their sense of 
humour. Many funny things were said in the stalls, and 
some from the gallery were shouted to the stage. 

Fiasco; hopeless, unmistakable, incontrovertible, was 
the verdict of the final stragglers in the vestibule ; it 
was patent to the shrugging critics. The sense of it 
had chilled the final numbers, and taken the heart out 
of the singers. Manuella's last song was received with 
cat-calls. At the end there was hissmg. The orchestra 
stood to their guns like men, and the grand fmaU under 
the biton of the young composer swelled to its over- 
whelming magnificence. He turned to face the house, 
baton still in hand, that fine head of his erect, his 
cheeks flushed. He would have spoken, but they drowned 



" CONCERT PITCH " 197 

him with hisses and gallery wit, and so continued until the 
lights were lowered. 

Prl^twHc^ *^^ morning papers proved that the 
Fress-there IS no use disguismg it— faUed utterly in 
reahzmg what they had seeu and heard. The best tafo^ 
of our cntics contented himself by writing that the very 
greatness of the conception was an argument against its 
execution. Having delivered himself ofSis epf^^. he 
Mo-ote his article up to it. and. having mislaid the libr;tto 
and forgo ten what it was that plea^ him in the music! 
he gen rahzed about the growing tendency to patriotism 

^fi !n itf^'- ^? '^''"".^ "P ^ '^*"y admirable essay 
with an aUusion to Drake and An Englishman's Home. 

\JLF IV^^ "^^^ "^'^^^ ^^^ '^^ Thunderer, having 
^ft before the second act. dismissed the whole eAtertain! 
ment as * obvjously the work of a rich and ambitious 

Everything that is not reminiscent is forcibly f^ble. 
The beautiful unknown prinu-donna was more Uke a 

r1brki?g^t"Sf ?"" '' '" ^^^^"^^^^ '"^ '^^''^ 

iy2tT .^^*^^°"«^, ti»eir phrases merely to entertain ; 
the foUowmg was characteristic of these efforts ■ 

breaks inTff"^ ^""""^^lu ^T'"^^ *° "^"^^^^ ^^^^^^ 
breaks mto the nng-the close opera ring-on gaily 

capansoned steed, his visor down, tilting with his lance-1 
or baton. A very noble knight in sooth, and one to whom 
Zt T. n r a«^o^nt of gratitude for having introduced 

or wf shnnTi^"'''' °^ ^'^"*y' ^*^°^* ^ ^°i^«' however, 
or. wf; should say. any experience of the stage. He throw^ 

to fl. ' .' '\^.?^^^ ^^*^"- He has certainly added 
derist.^ J' '^ ^"*^°"'' ^^^ ^^°"*^ °^ l^^ghter or 

sJirt^r""^ "°*^ "^^^ '^""'^ ^' *^^ ^°^""'''' °^ ^** ^"'^y 

unknot" H'/ ""^^K *^' "^^ °^ H^^t*^" Migotti was 
dS^X'to fin'f .^ "^te^esting. although perhaps not 
ouncuit, to find the motive actuatmg the anonymity 



198 



"CONCERT PITCH," 



of the gentleman who has taken a theatre, written a 
poem {sic), composed music, mounted scenery, and 
called his entertainment ' Grand Opera ! ' We were 
told last night that the whole production was merely a 
vehicle, a very cumbrous and ridiculous equipage, for 
foisting upon the public a very beautiful young woman 
who has every qualification for the stage except that she 
can neither sing nor act. If this is the case, there is 
something to be said in favour of a new form of philan- 
thropy. It is more original than endowing public Ubraiies, 
for a greater number of people have been given employ- 
ment. ..." ; 

The remainder of the article consisted of a well-written 
essay on amateurism in art. 

The above are fair specimens from the great dailies. 
No one took the opera seriously, except a newcomer to 
journalism on the staff of the Evening Intelligence, who 
wrote that it was the noblest music that had been heard 
in England for many a long year, ind for that reason 
would probably have to wait half a century for recogni- 
tion He went on to say that he understood Mr. Migotti 
claimed to be an Englishman, and aimed at producing 
an English National Music. But he must " find a better 
exponent than the beautiful young girl who made such a 
deplorable attempt last night in the part of Boadicea." 

Nearly all the papers spoke of the beauty of the young 
and unknown prima-donna. Manuella found herself 
insulted by these notices, bedewed them with angry and 
indignant tears. 

She had not wanted to sing, or to act, knowing herself 
incapable of either. They had made her do it, and 
she had wrecked everything. She was not sorry, she 
was angry, furious. But she was also wretched. She 
was not, and never would be in any sense of the word, a 
" public woman," having the instincts neither of the actress 
nor of thf singer, aspiring neither to fame nor notonety. 
She had sung because there was no one else, because 
Gerald urged it. She could see that Harston resented 
bar failure. He would scarcely look at her when they 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



199 



went home. And the next morning was worse. On the 
second night there were not eighty people in the house, 
The overture was applauded, and so were several of the 
choruses. But Manuelia was almost without a ice, and 
let down every scene in which she appeared. 

" If we can only hold on," Gerald said hopefully. That 
seemed the entire question with him. But all that 
Manuelia cared about was that she should be released 
from her hateful and intolerable task. She loved justice 
passionately, and Harston was being unjust to her ; 
seeming to confound her with his critics, to look upon 
her as the principal factor in his great disappointment. 
She tried to argue it with him, but he was beyond 
argument. 

They were not able to " hold on." At the end of 
the week it became obvious to everyone thai they must 
close the theatre. All the hastily-engaged incapables 
—chorus-master, stage-manager, acting manager, Press 
agents, and the rest of them, were clamorous to prove 
that they were not responsible for the failure, and to 
put the blame on some one else. To apportion the 
blame seemed the only objective, and the prima-donna 
was the natural scapegoat. 

But it was only Harston's attitude and the injustice 
of it that angered her. She had not wanted to sing. 

But with all her anger, she could not withhold first 
her sympathy for him, and then her admiration. His 
whole hfe had centred on the opera ; for two years it 
had never been out of his mind, and he had worked in- 
cessantly. Now it was damned by Press and public, and 
he himself was flouted, contemptuously dismissed in a 
paragraph, treated as of no account. It did not alter his 
attitude nor shake his confidence. He was as certain of 
himself to-day as he was yesterday. 

" They will know some day," he said, and shrugge ' .. 
shoulders. " Notwithstanding what they say, it is ;yi 
great English opera." 

The week after L... theatre was compulsorily dosed 
he -^med to become cahn— cadm all at once— and that 



20O 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



light in his eyes shone more brightly than ever. Already 
he was at work again. Only Manuella he could not 
forgive. At least, that is how it appeared to her. Once 
when he came in and found her at the piano he put 
his hands to his ears. 

"Oh! don't sing," he said, "for God's sake don't 
sing. Cook ; it is far bettc . Make omelettes, then if 
you break eggs no harm is done." 

She was his wife, of course, but he could not ge over 
the way she had sung lis music. He could not Usten to 
her any more ; she mu;^ -ver sing again ; he closed his 
ears to her voice that had s<>rved him so ill. 

She was so altered and disciplined that she did not even 
cry out at the cruelty of it ; nor reproach him that he had 
forced her to make the attempt. 

It was comparatively easy to close the theatre, and 
dismiss the company ; the six thousand pounds had been 
lost. By various strokes of luck they even managed to 
emerge solvent. The lessor took back the theatre ; the 
principal artists found ngagements and cancelled their 
contracts. There was real sympathy and goodwill shown 
by the world behind the scenes. Every musician knew 
what neither Press r jr public had discovered. As for the 
women and girls, tc the last super, they proclaimed them- 
selves in love with the composer 

Aftei the theatre was closed, and a!l the business con- 
nected with it at an end, the future had to be faced. 
Gerald Streatfield iiad been u eful, invaluable, sparing 
Harston all possible detail. But he could not spare him 
the knowledge that out of six thousand pounds there war. 
less than forty pounds left, and there was nothing coming 
in to replace the everything that had gone out. 

Harston took the news charact ristitally. The theatre 
had been closed a month before the accounts were all in 
and the completeness of the disaster was disclosed. It 
seemed as if he had forgotten all the circumstances, or 
excluded them from his mind. 

" It was the singers, principally the singers," he 
said, as if the fuiandal aspect did not exist, and 



" CONCERT PITCH 



>» 



201 

Gerald's announcement that he was ruined was of no 
account ' I know now. I wrote my libretto in English, 
that IS the reason, and in English there was no artist to 

smg It. In my new libretto I am now writing " 

" You are really writing again— have started another 
hbretto ? By Jove ! " 

"But why not?" He was quite calm. "Why 
not? He shrugged his shoulders at their evident 
surpnse. but he obviously enjoyed it. " Did you think 
that was the end ? The Chariot Queen the end ? Whv 
great God ! it is only the beginning ! " 

To both Gerald Streatfield. filled with mundane things, 
and to ManueUa, hurt and angry with him, but not unfiSr 
it was wonderful that he ignored all that had happened! 
and was at work again on a new opera. 

" This time I shall write my libretto in Italian. Italian. 
lingUsh, German, they are aU my native tongues, but 
my true inspiration is English. I am writing of Queen 
Rome^^ the great queen who gave her enemy to 

He refused to talk of what was going to happen now 
no money was coming in ; all he would discuss was the 
new opera. 

" ManueUa must manage," he said vaguely. " There 

wm be enough there will surely be enough. I need so 

itUe. Listen ! His eyes were alight. ManueUa came 

m irom the cookery to which he had relegated her, and 

stood ustening. 

"At first, when my music was murdered and no one 

^r m"^' ,r^^ ^y ^"^' ^ ^^^ ^"g^y with ManueUa ; 
poor ManueUa, who cannot help it because she can only 

fZ' a\^^^ ^^ ^*y^ '^"^^ t^e ^^eatre was closed 
I saw, I saw aU the mistakes that I had made. Of course. 

ihLT'* '\^u^^- ' ^""^ *^' °"^ w"l ^ greater, and the 
libretto must be in ItaUan. ..." 

f.^^ ^f "° ^^^ confident.' Boadicea was too rude a 
hfd'lil?^ "^'"'^ *^ concrete. It was of humanity he 
Had written, coarse and violent, even the woodland ings 



202 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



i V 





and twilight had been coloured by war and bloody battles, 
by clash of arms. He had heard and written the birth 
pangs of a mighty nation. This new work would be 
vastly different ; he poured it all out, nothing else 
interested him. There would be one act in England, 
the land of uncleared forest, the land of promise those 
first Romans saw before their own Neronian legionaries 
over-ran it. Then they would see the heavy com fleets 
arriving from the granaries of the north, pastures almost 
too deep and rich for cattle, and hills covered with innu- 
merable flocks of sheep, their bodies weighed down with 
wool ; the harvest of amber from the generous sea ; all 
this they should see and hear. 

Gerald listened open-mouthed. He had brought him 
the tale of ruin, and his only answer was the new libretto. 

" I am glad it is over ; that Chariot Queen ; I want to 
get out of my ears the crash of arms, the noise of war and 
lamentation. In this I have a dance of elves in moon- 
hght, a chorus of birds in sunshine, a skylark poised, 
black against a grey sky. Oh! but I have beautiful 
things. Listen ! " He took his place at the piano. 

Manuella rested her tray quietly on the table. Neither 
she nor Gerald moved whilst he played his first inspiration 
o* the " Dances of the Elves," that delicate mysterious 
aaia now known as " The Grass Ring." When he swung 
rc'jnd on the piano stool he was as he had been three 
months ago. Failure had neither daunted nor changed 

him. 

" So ! it is good— €h ? " 

The music was more than good, and Gerald went into 
ecstasies. Manuella, too, joined in the praise, but she 
could see that her words were of less importance. 

Now he told them how the story would unfold, of 
Cartismandua and the rebellious Venusias, of the idyll 
with her armour-bearer not unUke that of Lancelot and 
Guinevere, but more radiant and impelling. He talked 
far into the morning ; he even played again. 

He gave no thought to the state of their affairs. Three 
o'clock struck before they went to bed. Gerdd had said 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



203 



at least thirty times that he was the greatest musical 
genius of the century, and he had agreed. They went 
to bed at three, with never a word of finance or failure. 

So acutely he heard, but never the pulsing note in the 
heart of the girl who presently lay at his side. He was 
a genius ; but she needed a husband— a human husband 
to whom she could speak of the trouble that was coming to 
her. She cried by his side and he heard nothing. It was 
from loneliness she cried, as widows cry in the night. To 
someone she must tell her trouble, and there was no one. 
She had had the strength to keep her secret until after 
The Chariot Queen was produced. Then, then she thought 
she would tell him. Now The Chariot Queen was finished, 
but everything was to happen again with Cartismandua. 
She could not tell him ; he would not listen. ... She 
cried in her loneUness whilst he slept by her side, dreaming 
of romance and chivalry. 



CHAPTER XVIII 



EVERYTHING was the same, and yet everything 
had changed. Manuella was enceinte with her 
first child— an elemental difference. And Harston was 
no longer in love with her, although perhaps unaware 
of it. She could not help him in his work. He said quite 
frankly that he could not bear to hear her sing. Also 
they had now no income upon which to draw. Little 
as she cared for money, hardly less than he, she knew 
it was necessary now, and presently would be more 
necessary. 

Gerald tried to keep up her courage, but to him, as to 
everyone who came to the house, Harston was the leading 
figure ; what he would do next was the great topic. There 
was no secret about Cartismandua. Gerald said : 

" The Chariot Queen was great, but iiis will be greater 
still. He is writing now, not composing ; but the things 
he has played me ! My Heavens ! they are incomparable ; 
this time it is a masterpiece ! Nothing else matters. 
You feel that, too, don't you ? Of course, the fault was 
not yours The Chariot Queen was ruined. But you will 
admit that, in the room, here, you sang differently. . . ." 

By now Gerald, too, seemed to think she was responsible 
for the failure of the opera. 

" You won't let anything interfere with the work, will 
you ? Not pride, nor anything like that. He must be 
undisturbed. When I told him all the money was lost 

204 



« CONCERT PITCH 



>» 



205 



he only said it was of no consequence. He is wonderful, 
really wonderful. I can manage something, you know ; 
you and he are welcome to anything I have. It isn't 
much, but it may help." 

"Nothing is of consequence but th'tt he should be 
undisturbed," she repeated bitterly, and he took her 
words literally. 
" Of course, that is the thing— the only thing." 
Gerald saw only Harston. She was not to stand with her 
mere material needs between the poet and his inspiration, 
the musician and his moods. She was to minister to his 
physical needs, and be proud of her privilege. She had 
not yet told her husband how it was with her. Absorbed 
as he was in the beautiful idyll of Cartismandua and her 
armour-bea . no one could expect him to be interested 
m his wifes health. What was to be done when the 
money in the bank was exhausted Manuella did not know. 
She could take money from Gerald Streatfield for Harston's 
needs, but not for her own ; her cheeks flushed at the 
thought. Yet there were many things she must have 
. . . baby clothes, for instance. Now, for the first time, 
her dependence weighed upon her. All day long Harston 
wrote or played. With her heart full, with a sense of 
disaster impending and complete, she went about her 
household work, holding and hiding her secret. She had 
tried to make up, in the sacrifices of her married Ine, for 
all the errors of her impetuous girlhood. But now, for the 
moment, she was again in rebellion. She did not know 
what she could do ; she had no woman friend to whom 

*°ii""^ ' ^^^ ^^^ °"^^ ^^^^ *^° "^®"' *° whom, as she 
told herself often, she was now only an encumbrance. 
The prospect of a child in these rooms, a crying child, 
seemed unpossible. She was herself hardly allowed to 
move when he worked, the slightest sound disturbed him. 
And then she would be ill. . . . Over and over again the 
question turned in her mind : what should she do ? She 
was so utterly inexperienced, so pitiably young. But 
she was strong. She hung on to the thought of her 
strength. " I am going to get through somehow. I ran 




n 



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■ 


H 1 i' 


1 


j! 


1 


ii 


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1 

i 



ao6 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



away with him without loving him, only because I waft 
out of temper. It is I, not he, must suffer." 

Every week it became more difficult to tell him, because 
each day the new opera became more engrossing. He 
lived in a world of his own ; often those vivid eyes of his 
looked past her, as if he never saw her at all. That she 
was here, toiling, and about to bear a child, would be for 
him a fact infinitely small and unimportant compared 
with his visions. 

In the end, but lot before her pregnancy was far 
advanced, she told Gerald Streatfield. " He will put it in 
Harston's biography," she told herself bitterly, " but he 
may be able to advise me what to do." 

" You know J am going to have a baby," There was 
no use trying to find another way of sa5dng it. 

" I was afraid it was so. What does he say about it ? " 

" I haven't told him." 

" No ! Of course ! We must keep it from him as long as 
possible. He ought not to hear, you know, he really ought 
to hear nothing, until his Ubretto, at least, is finished. 
Can it be managed ? That is the question. He tells me he 
does not write as easily in Italian as in English or Gennan. 
He works hard, night and day ; what a man he is ! But, 
I say^ what are you going to do ? I suppose you'll have 
to go away. He told me that at the rate he is going he 
ought to finish by Christmas. Wagner wrote The Flying 
Dutchman in seven weeks. It would be an awful pity for 
anything to interrupt him." 

" I shan't interrupt him," she said sullenly. 

" No ! I know, you are simply ripping to him." 

Nevertheless, although he thought her of so little 
account, Gerald's practical mind was very useful. He 
found a nursing home for her, and even got over the 
money difficulties. 

" Haven't you got any jewellery, anything you can 
pawn ? " 

Such a solution had never occurred to Manuella, but 
once Gerald suggested it, everj^hing became easy. She 
had a 110811 •tring of pearls given to her by her father when 



" CONCERT PITCH 



»> 



ao7 

she was still at school. She had not brought away the 
wedding present of jewellery, or any of the things Lord 
Lyssons had given her, but she wore always this little 
stnng of pearls. Gerald was able to borrow nearly two 
hundred pounds on them, which seemed an inexhaustible 
fortune. She was very inexperienced and grateful. Later 
they agreed that Gerald should tell Harston of what was 
gomg to happen. 

"I can tell him casually. You'll see he'll take little 
notice of it." 

" What is that of v/hich I shall not take any notice ? " 
Harston came in whilst they were speaking, looking 
from one to another, sure, of course, that they were dis- 
cussing hun, some flaw or beauty thev had discovered in 
what he ha'' played or read to them. 

" Nothing of importance," Gerald answered cheerfully 
proud of his presence of mind, " nothing to interfere " 
I Not the chorus ? " 

"No, no! certainly not the chorus. I am off • see 
you later, perhaps." 

But when Gerald had gone, thinking thus to avoid the 
question, and put off the moment when it would be 
necessary to tell him of the coming trouble. Harston 
repeated the question and pressed it. 

"If it is not the chorus, it must be the quintette. Tell 
me. He insisted. 

This was no case of whispering in hxs ear. nestling in his 
arms, crying on his shoulder ; he was not that sort of 
husband. 

" It is nothing to do with the opera. It is only that 
1 am going to have a child." she blurted out. 
A child ! You are going to have a child ? " 
He seemed quite stupefied and stared at her. as if it 

Tn'^wTt ^uT. '?^ ^^^ *^^" ^S^"^st him. something 
in which he had had no part. 

J u^l^^ }^. impossible!" And then, after a pause. 

[rnSr ? ^"''^"' ^^ "^ '^ i" aP°lw: " But what a 
trouble^ what.an mconvcnienc Here." he ' :oked around, 

and before the opera is an .?- He w^ dismayed. 



J 



208 



(( 



CONCERT PITCH " 



f i.'yi 






" You won't see or hear anything 1 " She was almost 
fierce because she would not show she was hurt. '* I have 
arranged to go away. I was not going to tell you at all. 
As Gerald says, it is not of any importance. Ycu need 
not be inconvenienced. He is getting a charwoman. You 
won't miss me if I am away for a few weeks, unless— 
unless the omelettes are burnt." o,. u j *u 

She was ashamed of her quick tears. She had tne 
fears of her inexperience, and thought that perhaps she 
would never come back. But he would not miss her. 
unless the charwoman cooked less well than she. 

He was not a monster, only a genius. He ^id he 
should miss her all the time, and that it was dreadful for 
her worse than for him. He even tried to comfort her 
by saying cheerfully that she would be back before 
Cartismandua was finished. 

" You must not worry about lea^ mg me alone, in a 
way I think it is good . I work better if I am quite alone. 

When he was so kind as to say this she cned more, but 
in her own room, where he coul ^ not see her. The next 
few days he hardly wrote at all. but bewailed the mis- 
fortune, kissing her, and saying with some feeling that, 
of course, she could not help it, it was not her fault. 
But that for which she ached he never gave her— an 
understanding word. " Our baby." If he had only said 
that it would have been enough. But he wondered 
instead what they should do with it, and if he ought not 
to go away instead of her. 

"I might go over to Darmstadt, to Germany, and work ; 
but I have so many friends there. ..." 

She told him hastily that all the arrangements were 

now made. . _ , , ^ t, 

" Well, it is true, you know, that I am better here. 

These rooms are so quiet. ..." „ ^ „ • 

Afterwards he said they had jetter leave off talking 
about it. for the anxiety prevented him working. He 
was naturally of a sympathetic nature, so he assured her, 
and he was uncomfortable in thinking that she must 
leave them. 



" CONCERT PITCH '» 






209 

But things were Uttle better when she was actually £one 

^^t'^^r^r' ^K '^^' ^y' ^"^ ^« ^«lt it hTdutrto 

hterr^ntion if ^'^r'" ^^y* ^"^ ^^^ ^^ a ^eat 
interruption She could not persuade him to stav awav 

He knew what was expected of a husb^d and^uTufe 
father ; he had learnt that in Germany 

Every time he came to see her he said it was a oitv it 
had happened before Cartismandua was finished^ and 
Tms "'''"' '''^ "'"'^ '° ^"^ ^ child iSThc^; two 

^h^hJTl^^ "''^^^. ^'^"^S ^" *^at week of waiting 
She had perhaps come mto the Home too early or oerham 
she had waited too long for attentive nursW She fek 
11 and worse than lonely. Hour after houT^she sat by 
herself m the room in that inexpensive mam home^ 
alone with the bare walls, uncurtained windows un-' 
carpeted floors, and the fear of what was SefoTe her 

Harston, Harston must never hear an infant's crv 

wrs^res^'^^T';* tl' r "^^' ^^^ tSS^wL s 

worst times. The nurse told her it was bad for her to 
cry and she never cried except when she was alon^ %h2 

™'He saw t!^"^ ^^'"^^ *°^^ ^'' confldentiaUy : 

14 




hi' 







\jA 



210 " CONCERT PITCH " 

no one showed tact in dealing with him. They treated 
him as if he were an ordinary man, and he fell to 
pieces under the test. It was a week before he came 
again. And after that, Manuella, her mind clear, although 
Sr body was so weak, begged him to stay away. He 
brought her nothing but the knowledge that he suffered 
in coming ; that she and the child were no essential part 
of his life. He talked of nothing but the opera. 

She could not wait for her convalescence, the wailmg 
baby jarred her overwrought nerves. As yet, at least, 
it brought no message to her. Long before her strength 
returned she was worrying about ways and means thmk- 
ing how she should manage. In four weeks she was 
wSking about the room. » In five she surpnsed Gerald 
by her unexpected return to Bedford Square. 
" But how good it is to see you here ! " 
Gerald's welcome, at least, was spontaneous and hearty, 
as he met her on the staircase. 

" He is out ; I suppose he didn't know you werccommg. 
He is awfully restless and distraitr—ofi his food. too. It 
is a good thing you are back ; it doesn't seem to be going 
weU with the work : I think he has put it aside for the 
moment. There have been one or two mqumes about 
The Chariot Qutcn. He talks of rescoring part of it. 1 m 

glad you are back." . 

"I suppose he hasn't thought of any way of making 

money ? " 

" You can't harness Pegasus ... 

Upstairs she found disheartening thmgs that more 
experienced housekeepers might have cxpected-dirty 
pots and pans, broken crockery, burnt saucepans, the 
handiwork of the charwoman Gerald had engaged from 

the theatre. . , 

" But what I do say, ma'am, is the music your husband 
makes of an evening is that lovely I hain't got the eart 
to clean up. I just sets and listens to it, me apron over 

me 'ead. ..." „_ _, ,, 

She was specious, dishonest, drunken. When Manuella 
had got rid of her volubiUty and excuses, depressed mthe 



" CONCERT PITCH 



>» 



211 

undusted sitting-room, it seemed that this life she had 
prepaied for herself was unbearable, too hard for her 
not worth hvmg. ' 

" She has let everything go to ruin "-there was even 
passion m her plamt over her household gods Gerald 
when he came up in the evening, had difficulty in con^ 
soling her. Secretly he thought she was a little hard on 
Mrs. Mortimer. 

"But you'll soon have everything to rights again, 
don t ge the hump. Even if he doesn't say anything 
he 11 be glad you are back." j j &> 

Harston was glad, and even said so. Yet all that 
evening she did not seem able to shake off her depression. 
It was of course, impossible to have a wailing infant here 
with them ; she had no feeling for it. and could think 
of It quite detachedly. The matron of the home had 
found a kind woman to mother it. It was so small: no 
one could be unkind to it. 

Gerald asked her why she was depressed. Harston 
p ayed to her nearly all the evening. The baby had no 
place, not even in her heart. So she thought, and that 
aU her duty was to the man to whom she had run reck- 
lessly, because her stepmother angered her. 

The next day and the next were occupied in restoring 
order to her httie domain ; there was no time for fretting! 

It cost money to replace necessities. She found herself 
l.lu '^ constantly of money. ^' I am growing like 
father." she said to Gerald. 

" Oh, no : don't say that I '*^ 

" But what are we to do ? There is nothing coming 

. wl^'''' 'f^ I "''''*"'* 'P^*^ ^^"t it to hii^. What 
aoout the rent ? 

I' I've got enough for that." 
you.^^ can't live on you. I am not going to live on 

.Z^^ is getting on ever so much better now; your 
anair put him back months, positively months. We don't 
know what we have lost. It would be simply awful to nnll 
^m up again over a few pounds. You know i] 



way 



14' 




2X2 "CONCERT PITCH" 

U altered, there is an exquisite humility. He do^'t 
^v now ' I am Migotti, I have achieved. He says . 
^I am Migotti. I will achieve.' One day. whenyou have 
timri wish you would look through my notebook ; you 
will be surprised." , . ^- 

" He could make aU we want by playmg accompani- 
ments. ' 

" You know you don t mean it. 

" I mean we can't live on nothing." ^ 

" I never thought of you as mercenary. 

'• WeU. you can now if you Uke." She was paymg the 
woman eighteen shiUings a week to caxe for her ^by . The 
seven weeks in the nursing home had cost a fortune. 

The sense of emptiness, tinfulfibnent, depression per- 
sisted. But Harston was working well ; mspiration was 
flowing back to him. He said rnce : 

" You bring me feood fortunt Smce you are back all 

^"Tin^e^he worke-' better because she was here, she was 
at least keep' ; ~. marriage vows-those vows naade 
after she had had Lord Lyssons' letter How could t 
be possible she missed that wailing baby ? Neither the 
baW nor the want of money must be allowed to impede 
Harston. Gerald said she had to keep the gyves from 
his spirits, free him. take all burdens on herself, and let 

*"' He^was not yet soarmg. but upUfted. making flights 
short, spasmodic, that carried him a httle way. and 
were preUminary to his disappearance m the empyrean. 
The libretto and the music were progressmg together 
but not quickly. He had to be alone now; he could 
not even bear her in the room with him. He niay have 
felt he lacked something as a companion, as a husband 
He made a sort of apology- Ge^^^ wrote down the 
exact words ; it was fortunate he was m the room. 

" When 1 am alone the musical fibres withm me vibra.e. 
heterogeneous sounds form themselves into chords, and 
it is then I hear the melody which "^eveals/ny inner self 
to me. My heart in loud beats marks the . ,etuous 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



213 



rhythms; I become excited, overwhelmed. Afterwards, 
before it is gone, I must write, play ; sometimes tears 
^sh out of my eyes as I write or play. . . ." 

They could not talk of money to him after that. 
Manuella agreed with Gerald that it would be impossible. 

Harston really lacked nothing. Manuella, women do 
these things often, went without new clothes, ate sparingly, 
eked out what little was left. Gerald paid the rent, and 
was grateful for the opportunity. He, too, was living for 
posterity, keeping his note-book faithfully. 

" His time of -privation. How I was privileged to pay 
the rent of two rooms in Bedford Square whilst the immortal 
work was in progress." 

There came a day when she drew ^he last ten pounds 
out of the bank. What was going to happen when that 
was gone she did not know. This was the day the woman 
who had charge of the baby brought it to the flat. She 
was a married woman, with a husband out of work, and 
he had had an offer from an emigration agency. That 
was why she brought the child back to its mother. He 
was now nearly four months old. 

" He's a good baby, ma'am. I will say that for him, 
although he was puny enough when I took him from you. 
Such eyes he's got on him too ; you wait till he opens 
them. I'd keep him myself now, ma'am, if I was you, 
if you'll excuse me saying so. It don't seem natural for 
you to be giving him up. You never can tell with these 
women that take children to nurse. I shouldn't like to 
think of him neglected nor ill-treated. Feel his weight, 
ma'am ; he's doubled since I had him." 

She gave the child to Manuella. 

He seemed satisfied to go to her, and smiled into 
her face — smiled and gurgled. Quite a pang seized 
her, a pang of tenderness ; this was the birth of mother- 
love. She stooped over him and kissed liim ; his little 
cheeks were soft. 

" How small he is ! Can't he do anything for himself ? " 

The surprise of her tenderness made her speech in- 
coherent. " He's like my I. other Bertie used to be. 




I" i 



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il- Si 






I' I 



ai4 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



Aren't his arms fat?" She kissed them too, every 
moment she held the child it became more certain that 
it belonged in her arms. She held it closer, her heart 
throbbing as the warmth of the httle body stole through 
her. Again she put her face down . . . miracle of 
miracles, he had fallen asleep in her arms ! 

" You'll keep him yourself, ma'am ? " 

" Shall I know what to do for him ? " The hesitation 
was artificial. She knew she would not relinquish him 
again. 

" The Lord sends the knowledge when he sends the 
baby. You'll do well enough. You'd have done all 
right from the first if they'd have let you. I never believe 
these stories doctors and mirses tell you about not being 
able to nurse a child yourself. If you'd have kept him at 
the breast he'd have sucked and sucked and brought the 
milk along, bless him ! That s.tuff they give him in the 
Home only chilled his blessed little stomach. I put him 
on warm barley-water till I freed him of it. Now he gets 
his milk with" the barley-water—no foods, no artificial 
messes. An' you Hkes your bottle, don't you. my 
beauty 1 " 

Manuella had learnt none of this talk, but the words 
were like a native tongue to her. And all the time the 
baby slept in her arms. She was told what it was went 
into his bottle ; how wonderful to think she would cook 
for him ! The woman showed her how to make the food, 
and stayed a long time talking. When the baby awoke 
and cried, Manuella put the teat to its mouth, whispered 
to herself that she was his " mother," his " mammy," and 
was awed. The baby sucked greedily and fell asleep, 
sucked spasmodically in its sleep, and slept again. His 
eyes seemed to look at her, and then they half closed. The 
warmth in her arms was sweex to her, a splendid present 
that had been brought her unexpectedly. All the time 
she was being told how to care for it. 

" You give a few drops of dill- water if he cries as if 
he's got a pain." 

" Dill-water ? " 



" COf^CERl PITCH " 



"5 



" Or peppermint. And don't you feed him too often • 
it's regiilar as does it." 

" How often ? " 

" Every three hours." 

" Always the same thing ? " 

" More milk and less barley-water as he gets on. He 
won't give you no trouble. I've never nursed a better 
baby, once I got him right. You're a born mother; 
an /one can see that by the way you hold him. Lovey 
dovey! Look at 'im now! The beauty! Keep Iiini 
snugghng up ; that's what they want most, lovin' of them. 
You'll find out all about him, he'll almost tell you 
himself." 

Manuella paid her off presently, gave her a present she 
could ill afford, and thanked her for all she had done. 
Harston might come in at any moment ; Gerald too. She 
had to get supper ready. She was reluctant to put the 
child down, but eventually she laid it on the bed. She felt 
the warmth of its body through all her own body whilst she 
grilled the steak and fried the potatoes. More than once 
she v,ent from the stove to the bedroom, light-footed, to 
see what lay there. It still slept, and once smiled as ii 
m a happy dream. Then she kissed it again. She knew 
she would be able to care for him. She had learnt more 
difficult things since she had run away with Harston 
Migotti. 

When Gerald came upstairs, and Harston came in. she 
gave them their supper. Harston was in good spirits, 
full of a wonderful lyric. After supper he meant to add a 
hnal pohsh ; he would not read it to them ; perhaps he 
would play the music. 

"This story is coming to me quite differently from 
nie Chartot Queen. The melodies and harmonies are 
born with the words; they seem to come together, 
although the words are sometimes faint. But you shall 
hear." •' 

All the evening he played, and she went backwards 
and forwards to the bedroom, extraordinarily happy, 
ihere was no change m their circumstances; only a 




l\ 



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216 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



ten-poiind note was between themselves and want, but 
anxiety and trouble seemed to have been lifted from her. 

Harston played himself into such good humour, 
Gerald was so extravagantly laudatory, that she took her 
courage in both hands and told them what had happened. 

" Come now and see him. He hasn't disturbed you, 
has he ? I'm sure he never will. ..." 

" But this isn't what they showed me ! " Harston ex- 
claimed at the sight of the plump and sleeping child. 

They all laughed, even Harston himself. 

" Of course, he has grown. I see So this is my 
son ! " 

He watched it sleeping;; Gerald read his mind more 
easily than Manuella, even now. 

" You might write a berceuse for him," he suggested. 

" Ought his finger to be in his mouth ? " Harston 
asked. 

And none of them knew if it were right or wrong ; the 
community of their ignorance drew them together. 
Harston spoke of the Master and Siegfried. 

" I have never thought about children — ^babies. It is 
wonderful that I should have a son, and that this should 
be he. What a quantity of hair iie has, but so dark; 
he is not nearly as EngUsh as I." She had not imagined 
he would have been so much interested. " Are they 
musician's fingers ? " He put his own, tentatively, on the 
little fist. And, behold, it opened, closing on the tentative 
fingers. The conquest was complete. There was no 
question about its staying with them. 

When Harston went back to the piano, Manuella and 
Gerald stayed and talked in whispers. 

" But if it cries when he is composing ? " 

" He won't cry if he is properly looked after," she said 
confidently. 

" Trust you for that," Gerald answered. 

If the worst came to the worst there was his own bed- 
room downstairs. 

" You'll have to take it there. He might turn into 
a Siegfried Wagner, and spread his fame. I shouldn't 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



217 

^v, f ?"'^5* ^y^^y- it wiU be interesting to recaU 
what he said and how surprised he was that it had grown. 
It was less than an hour old when h- rn.^t saw it. Good- 
mght. Don t forget you can use my room! Listen! 
Hehas started the berceuse already. V/hat a in m » " 

.fnSS'7°''^' "^fu *^\^W^d; it s VT-I i. it. sleep, and 
started to cry She gathered it up in her arms quickly 
More clearly than the cradle song Harston was essaying U^ 
the next room she heard the beat of the little heart Lainst 
her own. 5»"i^i 



Ml 








CHAPTER XIX 

TEN pounds between themselves and penury — ten 
pounds! The first week after the baby came 
six pounds went. She would learn how to make clothes 
for him, but at present she had to buy them. 'He must 
be put into short clothes. She was so happy with her 
new responsibility that she could not stop to thi.ik of 
money. It was true she was a bom mother, just as she 
was a" bom housewife. It was as if she had come through 
a great spiritual crisis. Now she knelt before her mother- 
hood as a Christian convert at his first communion. And 
the baby throve, sucked its thumb, gurgled, smiled, and 
slept. She told Gerald it had an instinct about its father. 
If it had to cry, and the best of babies must cry some- 
times, it cried when Harston was out, or sleeping so 
soundly that nothing woke him. She could slip out of 
bed, take the infant into the next room, hush its crying, 
all without Harston hearing. The first week flew like 
lightning; every minute was occupied. Harston went 
from his piano to his desk, from desk to piano, and his 
inspiration never flagged. An agent in Berlin wrote to 
ask about the rights in The Chariot Queen, and Gerald 
was already inquiring about a translator for the libretto. 
He said that the Germans were really music-lovers ; 
Harston would come into his own in Germany, the Berlin 
Op«ra House was the very place. ... 

si8 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



219 



" For the great English N itional Opera ? " Manuella 
asked. But she was really too happy that first week to 
be satirical. 

A ring and two . rooches remained to pawn. School- 
girl trinkets both. It was fortunate that Sir Hubert 
Wagner's presents to his daughter had been of good 
quality. With another seventeen pounds in hand the 
immediate future could be faced. 

She saved and spared, chiefly on her own food ; work- 
ing early and late. It was woman's work, not reckoned 
by any schedule, nor controlled by any union, without 
Thursday half-holidays, short days on Saturdays and 
Sundays off. Just woman's work, seven days in every 
week, fourteen hours a day, with an hour or two extra 
taken from the night, when she walked the floor with 
the baby, so that Harston should be undisturbed. 

Harston was completely absorbed and content. He 
had found out something new about himself. Whenever 
he was not at his desk or at the piano he talked of his 
discovery. He needed sympatb- an audience, and. 
although since she had sung 1 '-ariot Queen music 

so badly that he was no longer in . . with her, he told 
her about it; because she was there. 

" It is not what Wagner has done for operatic music 
in Germany that I must do for England ; rather what 
Palestrina did for Church music in Italy. ..." 

He would dilate upon this theme for hours, upon pure 
melody and simplicity in harmonies, and more technical 
matters, whilst Manuella wondered if the milk had come 
to the boil, and whether she would have time to peel 
the potatoes. 

Whenever be stopped to say : " You agree with me 
of course ? " she brought herself back from the potatoes 
or milk and answered : " I am sure you are quite 
right." 

While he went on talking she sometimes fell to wonder- 
mg how long that seventeen pounds would last. Baby 
ought to have a cot, a perambulator. 

" If I am a poet, and there is no doubt that I am also 



'5. ' . 

3^ I ! 



220 



" CONCERT PITCH 



» 



'I 



I.- t 



I 




a musician, that is surely enough. I was wrong in 
elaborating the scenery. They would surely have heard 
more clearly, understood my meaning better, if there 
had been nothing for the eye. It is the ear, the ear and 
the intelligence, to which I make my appeal. ..." 

She herself ate little, she could easily go without meat 
altogether. Two pounds a week was ample for the house- 
keeping, even if baby had his meat-juice. A perambulator 
would cost three pounds, a cot thirty shillings. Four 
pounds ten shillings from seventeen pounds. . . . 

" In Shakespeare's country I will write my opera for 
production as Shakespeare wrote his plays. A bare stage, 
a painted drop scene, no ?:ccessories. He had only his 
words. I have my words, too, and my music shall be 
my scenery, my accessories. ..." 

Gerald could argue with him, did argue with him, in 
the evenings, talking of Reinhardt and modem con- 
ditions. Manuella never argued, it was so much simpler 
to agree and go on thinking how long she could eke out 

her money. 

Before Gerald's arguments had prevailed— and he always 
had the idea that Harston was not quite serious in his 
intention of producing grand opera without scenery— 
the rent was due again. Gerald's resources were not in- 
exhaustible ; his salary was at their command, but it 
was not a princely one. Those two old maids down- 
stairs could not be left without the pittance upon which 
they Uved. What was to be done ? 

Manuella's beauty now was the beauty of emacia- 
tion ; the perfection of line was there, with the noble 
young head, fine brow, Greek nose, mouth a perfect bow, 
but thin and without colour There was no colour m her 
face at all. Against the black coil of her hair it was hke 
fine ivory ; the curled lashes lay over eyes that no longer 
sparkled ; they had a new depth, a new tenderness, bat 
they were rarely uplifted, they dwelt on humble things, 
on things beneath them, on the baby on her knee, the 
saucepan in which she stirred his food. She was so thin 
that her clothes hung upon her. But she was only saving 



" CONCERT PITCH '* 



22t 



money, not making it, for all her privation. What was 
to be done ? 

" I suppose you wouldn't apply to your people ? " 
Gerald ventured. 

" How can I ? " 

For herself it would be impossible. She would rather 
starve ; she had already begun to think it was not 'jO 
difficult to starve as people said, if you used yourself to 
it gradually. But there was baby, he ought to have a 
pelisse, a hat or bonnet. 

" You have not heard anything more from Berlin ? " 

" I am getting the libretto translated." 

" That will have to be paid for ? " 

" I can get it done very inexpensively ; there is a man 
wao works for our firm. . . ." 

" Which means, I suppose, that you will pay for that, 
too. You would think it too dreadful to talk to Harston, 
to see if he would propose something ? The season is 
coming on, he could play. ..." 

On that point Gerald was emphatic. 

" Even if he would, he ought not to. You don't under- 
stand. No, don't be angry ; I mean it is difficult for you 
to realize that, although The Cliariot Queen was a failure, 
it has given him a certain position ; his name is known. 
People, the right people, talk about him, ask what he is 
doing. The composer and Ubrettist of The Chariot Queen 
cannot ask for an engagement as an accompanist ! There 
are some things that can't be done. He could sell the 
score of The Chariot Queen, my own people would buy 
it, but only outright. He ought not to part with it like 
that ; it isn't fair to him, or, in a way, to you, or to the 
boy. There is bound to come a time when everything 
he has written will be of value." 
Manuella said desperately : 
" But until then. . . ." 

" Madame Liebius will be back in less than three 
weeks." 

" And we are to sponge on her ? ' 

" Your father has given nearly half a million to estabUsb 




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I 




222 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



the Church in South Africa. It was in The Daily Tele- 
graph yesterday. You know they are out there ? " 

" No, I don't. I am not interested in them. Besides, 
I don't read the papers, I haven't time. Is Bertie with 
them ? " 

" Your brother ? I don't know. No ! I think not. 
I've heard something about him lately, what was it ? 
Oh ! of course. ..." He stopped short, glanced at her, 
reddened. 

" You may as well tell me. Is he in London ? What 
is he doing ? " 

"There is nothing very, much to tell. It was while 
we were engaging the chorus at the ' Palestrina,' arrang- 
ing the ballet that 1 heard of a girl he v/as, well, sort 
of engaged to. . . ." 

Manuella, although she had been married for eighteen 
months and carried a baby in her arms, knew so little of 
the world that he could not put it differently. Perhaps 
he thought her more ignorant than she was, but, in any 
case, it was impossible for him to say that he understood 
her brother was keeping Coralie Standing. She pressed 
him, but he had little to add. She said slowly, presently : 

" I might write to Bertie." 

And, as she said it slowly, a flush of home-sickness came 
upon her for Bertie ! How fond she had been of him ! 
Bertie and she had been so much to each other. Their 
young days together came back to her ; she put her face 
down to the baby's, he was seldom out of her arms; 
there were tears on her lashes, her voice was unsteady : 

" I might write to Albert. I suppose he is at Stone 
House ? " 

" Do ! I'll find out if he's living at home. Anyway, 
they are sure to know his address there." 

She had had so much to think of that she had ahnost 
forgotten Albert ; he would not let her starve. He may 
have disapproved of her marriage, taken sides with her 
parents ; her letter to him addressed to Gairoch had 
come back unopened, but this, of course, was Lady 
Wagner's doing. But if he knew she was hungry. . . . 



" CONCERT PITCH 



>» 



2«3 



She dashed off a letter quickly, 
should be delivered. 



Gerald undertook it 



" Dear Bertie, 

" I wonder whether you would come and see me, 
or if you have been forbidden. I long so to see you , 
I've something to show you, something very like you.' 
We were awfully fond of each other, weren't we ? I'm 
in a sort of trouble, nothing to do with my marriage, 
and I haven't got anyone else to turn to. But don't 
come if you don't want. Tear this up if you like." 

She found herself crying over the paper, thmking he 
might tear it up and not wish to see her. But she wouldn't 
be proud with him, not too proud. She added quickly : 

" I do hope you'll write or come. 

" Your ever-loving only sister, 

" Manuella." 




t i 





CHAPTER XX 

THERE was good in Albert Wagner, a thin vein of 
gold in the coarse quartz ; too unprofitable to 
work, but still gold. He could not have received his 
sister's letter before midday; at four o'clock he was 
with her. 

" Why on earth didn't you write to me before ? I've 
often wondered where you were. I don't believe I've ever 
been up so many stairs in my Ufe. Why don't the 
people put in a lift, or did I miss it ? How de do ! " 
The last was to Harston, who was unfortunately at home. 

Albert Wagner was a strange figure in this wainscoted, 
music-strewn room. 

" Your brother ? " Harston asked in surprise, getting 
up from the piano. He had heard nothing of the letter, 
but spoke cordially, for he was glad Manuella should be 
reconciled to her family. Nevertheless he quickly made 
his escape, saying : 

" You will like to talk to each other after this long 
time." He made his escape, but not before Albert had 
seen that he had long hair, wore a shabby velveteen coat, 
no collar, and was unshaven. 

" God ! what a bounder for her to have married ! " 
was the note of Albert's expressive countenance. The 
tone-poet was too sensitive to disregard the criticism of 
his cordial insincerity, even if too abstracted to care. 

Albert was habited in the finest of superfine garmentb. 

32^ 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



225 



His well-cut carefully pressed trousers were turned up 

the latest tJiL g in waistcoats, a black morning coat cut to 
accentuate his waist, a grey necktie with a pearl pin. a 
black pearl, almost pnceless. The shining hat he guarded 
m his hand had a narrow mourning band, not that 
anyone was dead but mourning bands were ?he 
iermcr on m Modes for Men " ; presently he placed it 
reluctantly on the piano. But when his^hat was off 
ManueUa could see his hair shone too. Brush and bril' 
hantine aad been employed to make it lie fashionably 
flat above his narrow forehead. His eyes looked weak 

Wntch^H ''^S t^"' 1^^"^ ^^' ^^^gy His face was 
blotched, and above the weak chin the weak lips were 

pale and the cheeks puffy. But no one could say he w2 
not well groomed. ^ ^ 

When Harston left them alone together he said : 

kiss almi^ U u 1° ''^l y°" ^^^"' °^^ g^""^-" A fraternal 
kiss almost broke her down, which surprised him 

You aren t going to cry, are you ? " 

shP h^rTK ^ '^' ^^?'^-" ^"* "^^^"^y she looked as if 
' All ^Z r"i^ *°.'T- "" ^"^* '^"^^^ ^^^ it himself. 
wh.f'.K^ P^J"* ^'^^ ^ ^^"°^'s head off. I say, 
wlut s become of the rest of you. You're only rag and 

QuotlSon^? " ^^ °^- u^' • >^y ^°"'* y°^ finish your 
^v evh^hl- ^"*^^'?. ^''^'^i^^ ^^ ^swer they escaped 

normal. Albert looked round the room : 

and \\tlr T'^- **^' ^'°"y ^^^ • Fancy the Governor 
tL^l Y^l^l y^.^*° *^^' ^^*^^ Stone House and 
'vT tral^ tfm^, ^,^^- ^^t too thick. They aren't 

quicklv' ^sh^Hr^"'^ A^?Py *'''"^'" ^^""^"^ interposed 
Shi wL' haH W." •* ^^^ *^ ^"^' ^^^ home disparaged, 
him ^^fj^i^" hystencal. extraordinarily moved at sefing 

H« *K S ^^"^^ ^°°"^s- It isn't the rooms. " 

her'':ath:?^l;\ h"" 1 V.'^ *^^^^^* ^^^W about 
«er ratner rum ; her clothes and her bounder of a 

15 






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226 



(( 



CONCERT PITCH " 



I' 1 



1; 

^H I' 



*) 



II' 



■it 

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husband, and the room without pictures or ornamentj^ 
He said " Poor old girl!" and " It's rough luck and 
" She always was a pincher." and other similar phrase, 
before they settled back into anything like their old 

childish intimacy. , ,. . u 

And then it was some time before hhe came to her 
reason for sending for him. She was awkward about it. 
for to ask Albert for help was a reversal of all then 

relations. ,, 

" You said you had something to show me. ... 
After she fetched the baby things grew a little easier 
between them. Baby was smiling and friendly, and Albert 
saw the likeness she pointed out. .. • , . 

" He's a riL i' little chap. You are quite right , 
he is like me. * I suppose that's why you're so fond ot 
him " For she was hiding her face in his soft hair, speak- 
ing baby language to him. It was her own eyes she 
wMited to hide from Albert, they V. -« agam wet. \oul 
.lelp me with him." she wanted t. ^ , , but the words would 

not come. 1,1 a. u- 

" I say. you don't mean you nurse and look alter hiiii 

yourself. ' He's got a nurse. 1 suppose ? " 

*' No." Her face was still hidden, her voice stifled. 
" I like doing things for him myself." 

" But when you go out. ..." 

" I don't go out." 

" Draw it mild." . ^ „ .. 

"Well not often." She faced him then, flushing. 
There was no use hiding the tuth or why she had sent 

for him. 

•' We're awfully poor, you know. 

She went on more quickly, and now it was he who 
averted his face from that flushed one of hers, those wet 

^^^i can't afford a servant or ... or anything, until 
the opera is finished. You say I'm thin . . ." then she 
hurried more, for it was dreadful to tell him she had not 
enough to eat. Half a sob escaped her. changmg mto a 
laugh. " Father has given away half a mUhor and U 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



227 
you don't help me his grandson, in another four <„ five 

.. r, ^?r/ • ;.. ^^^^''t could not face her. 
It isn t true ! 

" It's truer than true." 

" Not enough to eat ! I say ! " 

His own voice was broken, he was confounded he had 
not known himself capable of so much emotion, he felt like 
crying ; ,t is possible he was crying ; anyway he did not 
speak for a moment or two. ^ 

" You'll help us, won't you ? " 

" Not enough to eat ! I can't behove it. Why didn't 
you write before or to the Governor } Ifs just hkeyou 
. . . you re such a fool. ..." ■" ^ 

Albert began to bluster; he had to do soniethinc to 
keep from crying, he was of course a weakling ^ 

It s your damned pride. . " 

••Well. I'd rather starve than ask her for anything 

Siorf"Jr"^- ^^'^^ "'^^P^P^^ ^^^^^' over tSat hafi 
?^/h .h L '. '' ^^'""^ ^^ ^^^ C^^ch in South Africa 
I did think sending a picture to The Daily M^Zl\ 
Stxangeis rdieving Lady Wagner's stepdaughter ''^ 
JgVtr "' '"' '^"^'*^^' ^"* ^^^'t «4 heard the 

damn^r^V'P' ^°°'* ^^ •' I can't bear it. Mimi 
aVou..^ourgh7^^^^^^ "''- -^y^ ^n 

J^e^^:Si^a^3h?Sdrcom^^^^^^^ ^^ 

L^Tn t^e^oM-r ^^ "^ -^ ^"^^^^^ 

didn^^stv?' The^e'sUt 0^'^' K""''' ^^^^ '* ^ 
It isn't as bad as aJI that I °,l„^°""^^^"t i" Porridge. 
tea." ^* • ^ ^^" even give you a cup of 

" You're such a damned fool " ♦t,o+ 
endearment. He kiss^H hi? ' '• ' *^** ^^ ^^ way of 
were wet on ^r cheeks \^T '°"«^y' ^' '^^ 
him, laughing, ^.t^^^ and'^roS^ '""^' ^^^" 

15* 



if 



M 



^ I' I 



SI 




^ <*! 



M 







h) * Si 



228 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



" You're crushing baby ; he'll start crying in a minute. 
Don't, Bertie, don't. I can't stand it. . . ." 

It was not their way to be emotional with each other ; 
Albert was soon ashamed of his tears. 

" Of course something will have to be done. ..." 

" It's only tiding us over the next few weeks or months. 
It isn't as if there was any doubt about Harston's genius. 
The Chariot Queen will be produced in Berlin ; the new 
opera is finer than that." 

" Do you mean that all you've got to look to is what 
that fellow makes out of writing music ? " 

" When baby is a Uttle older I could give lessons or 
demonstrations in cookery, or learn typing ; there aro 
ever so many things I could do. It's only the next few 
months. ..." She laughed again hysterically. " Half a 
dozen solid meals, and the knowledge that baby wouldn't 
have to go without his bottle, and I believe I could make 
a Uving for us all. You don't know how clever I am. 
I believe I can do anything but sing." 

" Sing I Why the devil should you sing ? " He had 
not quite recovered liimself ; he took out his pocket- 
book and emptied its contents on the table. " Of course 
I shall see you through. How about this ? Count it, will 
you ? They'll have to fork you out an allowance. . . ." 

Albert had nearly thirty pounds in his pocket-book, 
quite a fortune. She would only take twenty of it. She 
said it was all right now they were in touch with each 
other again. 

" Twenty pounds will last me two months. By then 
something may have happened with the opera. ..." 

They had tea together. He held the baby whilst she 
made tea, and was quite clever in handling him, with the 
assistance of various instructions she called out to him 
from time to time as she got the cups and saucers. 

It was whilst they were at tea she heard about all his 
own debts and difficulties. His allowance of five thousand 
a year he naturally exceeded ; he was overdrawn at his 
bank, up to his ears in debt. His magnanimity in empt}- 
ing his pocket-book for her became obvious. 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



229 



• You don't know how they set about a fellow who's 
supposed to have money." 

She heard again of money-lenders, touts and racing 
tipsters, of jewellers who pressed iheir wares. And 
incoherently, elliptically, she was told of other expenses 

" A fellow can't live alone ; you know what I mean. 
A fellow gets into a mess before ho knows where he is 
You sent your letter to Coralie's flat." She did not stop 
him to say that that was Gerald's doing. " I never wanted 
the flat, I knew it was too expensive ; she took it herself. 
And there are always dressmakers' bills and things. . . '. 
You can't keep expenses down if you are the only son of 
a multi-millionaire. They say the Governor is going to 
get a peerage. I ought to have at least another five 
thousand a year. ..." 

She could read his Hfe through his confidences. There 
had been no good influence in it, no glimpse of higher 
thmgs than the gratification of his passions, appetites 
or vanity. His mother had wished him to make aris- 
tocratic acquaintances, his father had been absorbed in 
affairs. He had been a prey to unprincipled men and 
7"]^"' ^,>tent upon "getting a bit" from this scion 
ot the miUionaire house. He was ashamed of the story 
he had to tell— as much ashamed of his own as he was 
shocked at hers. He was not naturally a spendthrift 
TI ^^'t"^extravagant, and his tastes were domestic' 
although he had no opportunity to indulge them in the 
flat he shared with a greedy theatre girl. As he talked, 
red-eyed and repentant, one could see that he was weak 
rather than wicked. 

"You know, in a way. this isn't so bad when you get 
used to it-the baby, and all that. It's better than 
gmng from the Ritz ' to the ' Savoy.' from one place of 

th^T2' u"" l"''*^^'' y°"" ^^"^ ^" y«^ pocket all 
tne time. Her damned car cost me eight hundred pounds 
and she goes out in it with other fellows. ..." 
cJrL "°* go away until nearly seven o'clock, until 
aTw ^'^T ^"^.^^ introduced. Gerald seemed to 
Albert one degree better than his brother-in-law, but only 



230 



" CONCrRT PITCH 



>f 






one degree. He thought he looked like a city clerk, 
which indeed he was, and that Manuella had made a most 
awful mess of things. 

By the time he found himself outside the house, he 
remembered he had been forbidden to hold any com- 
munication with his disgraced and disgraceful sister, and 
that his stepmother had impressed it upon him. Before 
he dined that night, at the " Berkeley," with a couple of 
other fellows, he had begun to be uneasy at the con- 
sequences of his action. He was up to his neck in 
debt, and Loetitia was quite capable of cutting off 
supplies. 

When he was at Bedford Square it had been his inten- 
tion to write to his parents on Manuella's behalf. Before 
he had finished dressing for dinner he thought it would 
be better to do what he could himself, on the strict g. t. 
He remembered what a hole he would be in if they did not 
settle up for him. He had that unsound spot in him, 
that soft, inherent, gangrenous selfishness. 

It was a curious coincidence that he should meet Lord 
Lj^ssons that evening. He was dining at the " Berkeley," 
and Waldo sat at the next table. At first he did not 
know what to do ; he looked away and felt awkward, 
but when Lyssons nodded to him, he returned the greeting. 

" I didn't know you were back," he said, later on, 
when they were in the hall. 

" Neither did I until yesterday. I wasn't, as a matter 
of fact. How is everybody ? What's the news ? Where 
are you off to ? Going my way ? " 

Albert was flattered at Lord Lyssons' cordiality. He 
was going to do what he did six evenings a week, and 
twice on Wednesdays and Saturdays. He was going to 
sit in a stall in the Gaiety and watch Coralie Standing 
dance. Afterwards he would probably entertain her and 
her friends to supper. Later still, he might adjourn to a 
house in Bruton Street, where chemin de fer was played— 
with a cagnoUe, but avoiding the police and the Gaming 
Act under the pretence of being a private house. He had 
already been robbed of over ten thousand pounds there, 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



231 



and had a foolish hope of getting it back. He did not 
give the whole of the projected evening to Lord Lj^ssons, 
but answered : 

" I've got a stall at the Gaiety. I suppose you haven't 
seen The Whispering Girl ? " 

" No. Is it very good ? Do you think I could get a 

stall ? " 

" I'm pretty pally with the management. If there's 
one in the house they'd give it me." 

" Then it will be a great thing for me to go there with 

?>» 

" I didn't say that.' 

Albert, too, could be sullen. Lord Lyssons apologized 
for his frivoUty. He shared a cab with Albert, and went 
to the Gaiety. A stall was secured without apparent 
difficulty. Albert pointed out Coralie. She wore a 
diamond necklace which distinguished her from the other 
chorus girls. Albert was not at all reticent ; Waldo 
was apparently sympathetic. 

He asked after many of their mutual acquaintances, 
after Sir Hubert and Lady Wagner, the Sallusts, the 
Banfis. 

" I only got back last night, I haven't seen a soul, . . " 
He asked after everyone but the one person of whom he 
wished to hear. 

" Your father has had a stroke of paralysis ; I am sorry 
to hear that. The last I heard of him he was in South 
Africa ; some scheme about building churches." 

" He gets about, but he isn't himself ; my mother 
manages all his business affairs — everything. They are 
still in South Africa, sort of pilgrimage idea about it. 
No, not expiation ; I don't think the Governor ever did 
anything he shouldn't. But Lourdes, you know, and 
that sort of thing; he thinks he'll get his health back. 
I say, come on to supper with us afterwards ; there'll be 
a lot of girls. I wish you woulJ. I'll introduce you to 
Coralie. She always says I don't know anyone. . . ." 

Waldo actually supped at Romano's with Bertie 
Wagner, two tousled damsels with a last train to catch 



|):i 



232 



« CONCERT PITCH » 



Coralie in her most bewitching mood, Elsie Bantock, 
Major Dawson, and a youth with a narrow forehead, 
projecting teeth and a Jewish name. 

When Albert wrote to his stepmother, he chronicled the 
incident in the way he thought would appeal to her. 

" Such a curious thing, Lyssons has turned up again. 
I dined and supped with him last night ; he has asked 
me to drive down to Ranelagh with him to-morrow, seems 
to have taken quite a fancy to me. I suppose you don't 
mind. After all, it was Manuella threw him over, not he 
her. If he does not resent it, I suppose we need not. ..." 

Afterwards his letters were full of this growing inti- 
macy. Albert was amazingly flattered by Waldo's interest 
in him. Waldo by this time knew all about Coralie and 
the flat, the gaming hell > in Bruton Street, and all the 
imbroglio of his affairs. Waldo gave him good advice, 
and Albert alwa3rs meant to follow it. 

" All right, I'U stop away. I lose every time I go to the 
damned place. I bdieve they stack the cards ; I never 
get a pass." 

" My dear fellow " — ^Albert had advanced to calling 
Lord Lyssons " my dear fellow " — " give up Coralie and 
the flat I I wish to God I could. She won't let me off ; 
she knows the Governor's ' shaky.' " 

" I suppose you have promised to marry her if anything 
happens to him ? " 

" More or less." 

" PrincipaUy more, I suppose. But I shouldn't do it 
if I were you." 

And then, at last, after a fortnight of Albert's society, 
without hearing anything of Manuella, without being 
able to ask, and yet hungry to hear, he said : 

" You couldn't introduce her to your sister, you know." 

" I don't know that. You should see the people my 
sister's^mixed up with. Chaps with long hair—- dty 
fellows. . . " 

He gave a short description of the stairs he had climbed 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



233 



to get to her, and, seeing Lord Lyssons appeared interested 
he went on : 

" I never understood about you and Manuella. It 
isn't a delicate subject, is it ? " Waldo shook his head 
as Albert looked at him interrogatively. " I thought 
at one time she was awfully gone on you. The mater 
said something one day about your being 'eccentric,' 
or something like that, and she turned on her Uke a wild 
cat. I don't believe she cared a bit about the chap she 
married ; nobody could, you know. I believe the mater 
ragged her into it. She was certainly gone on you 
at one time. You don't mind me saying so, do 
you ? " 

If the hand rolling the cigarette was not quite steady, 
Albert was not the man to notice it. 

" I hope she is happy ! " 

" Happy !• She's damned miserable. They haven't got 
a bob. . . ." 

The whole story came out. Albert was perhaps a little 
vainglorious in telling it. He had got over his emotion 
by now. 

" I emptied my pocket-book the first time I went there. 
I cried hke a child. She hadn't had enough to eat ; she'd 
gone to skin and bone. . . ." Under his tan Waldo went 
very pale. He lit the cigarette he had rolled. 

"^ Poor, is she ? " 

" Bally near starving I Of course, if the Governor was 
anything like himself, if he wasn't under Steppie's 
thumb . . ." *^ 

" You think he doesn't know ? " 

" Stands to reason. Why, it's a public scandal, a crying 
scandal, that's what it is. Over half a million in 
churches, and God knows what in charity, and party 
things. He is going to get a peerage, and you don't get 
a peerage for nothing, and his only daughter without a 
cent. She says she's going to teach, or cook. . . ." 

" She is brave, then ? " 

" Brave ! I believe you. She laughed when she told 
me ; said porridge w&g sustaining if you got enough of it." 



234 



" CONCERT PITCH 



)) 



iii< 



1^' 



!! 






ii 



' 1: 






Waldo heard all the details as he had heard all about 
Coralie. Albert could keep nothing to himself. Why 
had he asked if she were brave ? Had he not known she 
was, and of all her high courage ? He had left her when 
he should have stayed ; understood too late. 

" They are living in London ? " He went on with his 
questions ; he had to hear. 

" Bedford Square." 

" I wonder if she would like me to call upon her ? " 

" Oh, no ! " Albert, Loetitia's pupil, was ashamed lest 
Lord Lyssons should see how his sister Uved, and where. 

" Oh, no ; I'm sure she wouldn't Uke it. No one goes 
to see her. She'd hate it, I'm sure. She does all the 
housework, minds the baby ! " 
There is a baby, then ? " 

This conversation took ^ place in Waldo's chambers in 
the " Albany," where Albert had come up for a drink. 
Aftei' he had made that inquiry, and been told he was not 
to go and see her. Lord Lyssons busied himself with the 
glasses, turning his back on his guest. 

" Rather ! quite a little ripper ; it's Uke me— got blue 
eyes. I quite took to it." 

" You go there often ? " 

" Not so very often. I tell you it gives me the hun^ ; 
although it is jolly enough in a way. But I don't want 
to meet him, and there's another fellow, a city clerk sort 
of chap, who lives in the same house. They are neither 
of them over clean. I'm sure I don't know how Manuella 
stands it." 

" You send her money ? " 

" Well, to tell the truth, I haven't sent her anything since 
I emptied my pocket-book ... it isn't three weeks ago. 
She said it would last her a couple of months." 

" You carry a lot about with you ? " 

" It was over twenty pounds." 

" A fortune ! " He could not help it ; but Albert was 
not of a stock to understand satire. 

" And her husband ; doesn't he earn money ? " 

" He don't do a thing," Albert answered gloomily. 



'* CONCERT PITCH 



»> 



235 



"He IS writing something, I don't know what. That 
opera of his was a ghastly failure, ran a week . . ." 

Bertie could not tell him any more. The intermittent 
trickle about his sister and her affairs dried up suddenly. 
" Don't let's talk of it. I'm so damned sick of the whole 
affair." 

He went away soon afterwards. For all his promises, 
the baccarat tables still allured him. Waldo, however! 
found no difi&culty in making other opportunities ; Albert 
thought Lord Lyssons had taken a fancy to him,' and, as 
had been seen, he wrote this to his parents. He hardly 
knew how it came about, some weeks later, that he found 
himself writing to them about Manuella. Although Waldo 
might have explained. 

" I have said aU along they ought to know. I wish you 
would help me— write me a draft, or dictate a letter. 
But it mustn't come first-hand from me. I am not 
supposed to see her, you know. And she says she'd 
sooner starve than ask help of Steppie." 

Lord Lyssons may not have actually dictated the letter 
Lady Wagner eventually received, but it was certainly 
written in the Albany Chambers : 

" Dear Mater and Dad, 

" I think, notwithstanding my promise that her 
name is not to be mentioned, I ought to let you know 
there was a line in one of the Radical papers last Sunday 
about • men who give half a million for the estabhshment 
ot churches, and let their own flesh and f blood die of 
starvation/ I thought you ought to ^know. There 
seems to be no doubt that Manuella is shockingly hard 
l^^'i ]^^^ husband brought out an opera and so got himself 
talked about. It wasn't a success, but it was supposed 
to be clever and there was a lot about it in the papers, 
and that his wife was the only daughter of Sir Hubert 
Wagner. Jf the Governor's name is in the Birthday List, 
there might be some nasty talk. A man at the theatre 
tne other night asked me if it was true there was going 
to be a subscription got up for the Migottis, and wasnl 



p 



236 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



11 



in 



she my sister ? I felt rather awkward as you've for- 
bidden me to do anything. They've got a baby and no 
money at all. If you could see your way to make her 
an allowance I should be in a position to stop all the talk, 
say there was never any truth in it. It needn't be 
much. ..." 

The brain behind that disingenuous letter was certainly 
a wise one. Albert himself read it aloud to Lyssons and 
said with pride : 

" That will touch her up, I bet ! " 

Waldo said it was quite clever, and did him credit. 

" You ought to have been in the Diplomatic Service." 

" That is what Coralie's father was saying the other 
night." 

" An ambassador himself, perhaps." 

" No, no, not exactly . 1 . . he's . . . he's a waiter in 
Soho." 

The answer to Albert's letter came by cable, and was 
to the family solicitor. He was to find the whereabouts 
of Hubert Wagner's daughter, and pay her an allowance 
of eight hundred a year. 

Four weeks passed, however, before that happened. 
In the meantime Manuella received by post a registered 
packet, containing * n five-pound notes. Gerald believed 
it came from an admirer of Harston Migotti's work. 
Manuella had little doubt it was from Albert. The money 
was stiU not exhausted when the news of her allowance 
arrived. 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE letter from the lawyers was very brief. They 
had, of course, no difficulty in finding the Migottis' 
address. 



" We are instructed to pay to you quarterly the sum 
of two hundred pounds, and shall be glad if you will furnish 
us with the name of your bankers." 

She had a Uttle struggle with her pride before accepting 
it. Had the second letter come before the first the 
struggle would have been more severe. Certainly she 
would never have penned that grateful, expansive letter 
to her father. The second letter, four weeks later, ran : 

" We are instructed to ask you not to communicate 
with either Sir Hubert or Lady Wagner. The allowance 
is a voluntary one, and will cease if there is any attempt at 
molestation. . . . Lady Wagner trusts you will give the 
same pubUcity to your improved circumstances as you 
did to the poverty you brought upon yourself by leaving 
your parents in ignorance of your whereabouts. ..." 

Messrs. Lof tus, Son, and Cleaver, being a high-class and 
discreet house of law, translated Lady Wagner's intem- 
perate letter to them as mildly as they were justified. 
She seemed to think it was their fault that anything dero- 
gatory to the dignity of the family had been allowed to 

237 



I 

I 






H 



238 



** CONCERT PITCH " 



get into the papers. They had not seen the paragraphs 
to which she alluded. No one in the firm had seen them, 
which is perhaps not surprising. They defended them- 
selves in their reply. 

Before the second letter came, Manuella had already 
decided on moving from Bedford Square. 

" We should be better in a house of our own. Don't 
you think so, Harston, with a garden. . . ? " 

Harston was glad, but not at all excited that she had 
now an income. 

" You would like a room of your very own, where your 
papers would never be disturbed, wh^re we should not 
have to take all our meals." 

He thought he would like that, and amplified the idea. 

" It should be a big room, with a great window over- 
looking green." < 

Gerald said Harston's tastes were very like Wagner's, 
although he had subordinated them so wonderfully 
he had the same luxurious ideas. 

But Manuella had grown practical. 

" We shan't be able to live in a palace on eight hundred 
a year." 

They were all, however, agreed that it would be a good 
thing to have a house of their own, with fewer stairs, and 
a garden for the baby. Gerald would either live with 
them, or near. 

"I can't do without Gerald," Harston said affec- 
tionately, and his future biographer was quite over- 
whelmed. 

In house-hunting it is unusual to find the ideal, £ind 
certainly it is never foimd quickly. It was after many 
fruitless and wearisome days that Manuella arrived at 
the cul-de-sac out of Circus Road, St. John's Wood, and 
in the first three minutes discovered she had been indeed 
so fortunate. There was a large secluded garden, with fine 
old trees, and an overgrown lawn. The house was of 
less importance. It was on two floors and the rooms were 
small. Built during the Victorian era, it had no archi- 
tectural pretensions. There was nothing even vaguely 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



239 



reminiscent of Queen Anne ; the Adam Brothers or 
Mr. Gamier might never have been. But Manuella knew 
nothing of architecture. That which fascinated her was 
the walled seclusion of the generous garden. After that 
she became aware of a big studio to which the drawing- 
room had been sacrificed. She heard afterwards that 
the house had been for many years in the possession of a 
bachelor artist. There was no drawing-room. That fact, 
and the smallness of the dark dining-room, with the 
inconvenient little sitting-room, accounted for it having 
been so long unoccupied. The studio ran right up to the 
wall of the garden ; it was long and narrow, top-lighted. 
It was inaccessible from the kitchen, or might have 
served as a dining-room. In fact, from a house-agent's 
point of view, it was a completely selfish room, only 
suitable for its former occupant. But Manuella saw all 
the possibilities in it. Here Harston could be uninter- 
rupted; he would be, as it were, cut off from the house- 
hold. The small sitting-room was quite large enough 
for her ; the dining-room could be made Ughter. Upstairs 
there were four bedrooms and a bath-room. Part of the 
garden had been sacrificed to the studio, but enough 
remained to make one forget how near it was to the 
Edgware Road, and all the noise of London. 

When she had finished her inspection of the house, she 
stood under one of the old trees in the garden, a leafy and 
luxuriant chestnut, and looked about her. She knew 
ab-eady this was to be her new home. There was a 
tangle of weeds in the flower-bed under the wall, over- 
grown grass was on the small lawn. A broken plaster 
figure of a Naiad lay in a stone basin that had once been 
a fountain. There was barely a quarter of an acre altogether, 
including the ground covered by the house and studio ; 
but It seemed ahnost an estate to Manuella after the 
rooms in Bedford Square. She was so eager to secure it 
when she went back to the agent, that they put the rent 
'^^j u P^^^' ^^ "^«ie her sign an agreement, there 
Md then, which left her to pay for all the improvements 
the lessor had been ready to make. Always impulsive, 



240 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



1 



ii t. 



ii!l 



she signed eagerly ; all that seemed to ii^tter was that 
no one else should see the house, and take it out of her 
hands. When she had signed that most unfair agreement, 
she forgot that she had ever had a trouble in the world. 
Buckingham Palace could have given her no more pleasure. 
And the rent was only sixty-five pounds a year; two 
servants would be enough. She had learnt economy in 
the hardest school of all. Eight hundred pounds a year 
was now a fortime to her, and she did not mean to 
dissipate it. 

Harston disengaged himself from his libretto that 
evening on the demand of her excitement. It was, 0* 
course. Paradise that she had discovered, of which she 
had become the proprietor. He even teased her about it, 
and was comparatively human and interested. 

Of course his interest did not last out the evening ; 
he soon got back to Cartismandua and Caractacus, and 
the entry of the captives into Rome. He had found the 
name for the opera now, it was to be called // Traditore. 
And he had come back to Gerald's way of thinking about 
scenery. 

" Those people who are writing about producing Tht 
Chariot Queen want to know exactly how I had tl a setting 
in my mind; they will perhaps want me to cwiduct 
it " 

" Everything will be easy when we get to the new house. 
It will bring us luck, I feel it will," Manuella aiiswered. 

Gerald inquired about furniture, and was eager for her 
to try the three years' hire system, but Manuella felt 
that in her own home she must have her own furniture. 

" We shall want so little. It is a tiny house all but the 
studio. What we have here will go into the studio." 

" The less furniture there is in a n sic-room the better 
for the acoustics." 

" As if I didn't know that." She laughed at Gerald for 
tr5dng to teach her. 

Albert came the next day. He knew all about the eight 
hundred a year, and took the entire credit for it. He heard 
about the paradise in St. John's Wood, and promised to 



« CONCERT PITCH " 241 

miS.^Sri^.^K"'!'^**' ?*^ Suggested Mellier's.in Albe- 
marie Street but ManueUa thought old curiosity shops 
s^it^?e ^ Tottenham Court Road would l^ mo?e 

Albert, when he went away, forgot ajl about his promise • 
he was just off to spend Easter in Monte Carlo But a 

Sr^o ^ml .";?»,^^"f ' ^"^ "°* *^"g^* ^riv^d from 
tune to time at the new house, and she never doubted but 

U^at they were from him. Someone must evidently have 

been up there, for everything fitted some nook or recess. 

^tfl r.r ^ P^' °^ ^^'y "^^^^'^ ^°^^^^^ »n chintz for the 
a fhinlllT'^"'' ^^"^"«y-shaped sofa to match them, 
a Chinese vase made mto an electric lamp, and a few 
pnnts and water-colours. For the bedroom tlTere wer^ 
TJTlr}^ '^'''' °^ ^^^^^^^' '"Etching the tair^y 
I?l^v ^'^ ^IT'- ^° ^""^ Albert knew she had a 
^h^^ '" J?'I ^^°°"* ^ '^^^'^ ^e^« n^gs and a little 
Sheraton bookcase. It was wonderful how clever AuLrt 
was in knowing what she wanted ' 
"Isn't he good ? " she said to Gerald. 

Carlo' and lTrT^*'.T'^ **^^"^ ^^' ^°^ ^^ ^^^ ^t Monte 
tarlo. and she did not know at which hotel. 

isy May the grass was cut in the garaen Harston 
rfte therJ^ T'"' ^"^ '^'^ *^-^ -- "" doubt he ctlS 

wittuf hrm' 'hi'^^' 1'^ '^'"^ ' «^^^*°^ could not do 
~y The ^oncTrLSr'^ '^ ''''' ''' ^^^"^ 

sheXt%eetstdb^k'"T ^" ,^^P^^* ^^^^^ '• 
borders makTnt TrJT'/^^ ""^^ P^^^^^g herbaceous 
ifshP^o/^ ^ ^ rock-garden and new flower-beds a- 

Sh?p?t i^ ^vemhiV,?^?^* r;^^' °^ ^-^ than a quarter 
dail/for trre^u^/ *^^^^^^ '^'^ ^^^' ^^ ^^^ched 

pergola ^oufda^^o"?^^^^^^ '^4 time when the bare 
wth her bulbs ihaVY ?^ • ^'^'^ ^^^ ^" ^"ch a hurry 
She c"e?^^l^^: InTZr""'. ^ upside-do^ 
read in them 4Ji ^^^ ' . beheved everything she 
««imthem. -Ul her beauty came back to her : sh! was 

16 



13 



i' 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



242 

flushed like one 0. «-« t?^"^ 'C' ""' '"* " °''"' 

Before the end »« *•>« '"^T" dVred the bare pergola 
had had tea .n the gard«"' ^" ;„ ,he little dining- 
and the baby, and !i»yff JV^Kning to be known, 
room. Gerald said Harston *»^^«";'^|edford Square, 
And all at once it «emcd to be t™'^ ^f ^^ ^j in 
where there was <>"«/"Tj"kent would have been 
which all their meals ««« t*"""' entertainment was 
impossible to en ertam, ^t h-^,» ,^, ,, , 

easy. Gerald Streatneia sai .. .^ , ^^\y about his 
'"' ?*''*''." Man«lir£S^?otndpLsure :. exercising 
^^^iiahT' "r UkedX suppers to be praised ; she 

musicians." They "'"'7^^ have set the note, 

deterred to Ws opn»ou. Gerald m^Y^ ^ ^^e women 
but they easily were nibmewUhrt w ^^^_^ 

who came-young ^-ngers. a^P«^'' ^^^j to set the 
Society ladies, it was not ne^^^' J° ^ow much flattery 
note. Manu.Ua was ^^r^f J°,„^„*tat obviously 
Harston could bear, ,»n'i not owy w^ ^^^ 

enjoy. He --'-^J^^Utre U ^as "ong, harshly or 

'St ^dr ?Srac^P«^S^h£i as a musica, 

^^", tSse^uK^s^ ^s'h;^'ds. and he lcis.d 

Some of *e^ lad^!! »'^ ^„^_ „», owing to his 

theirs occasionally. /,""' "V rything abnormal in 

artistic temperament, to w^h J™'^ J^^^ «emed to 

him was attributed. A gooa a ^^^1^^^^^^.^^ 

Mrs. Des V<^ «- ^^ "Ss mos'Va^s pupil «» 



H*! 



«* CONCERT PITCH 



>♦ 



H3 



whose first appearance in England in the previous year 
had occasioned a veritable furore. 

Manuella took a dislike to Mrs. Des Voeux the first time 
she called upon her. 

' What on earth do you find to do with yourself all day 
in this out-of-the-world place ? " Mrs. Des Vceux had 
queried. 

But Gerald, and even Harston, assured her that it was 
a testimony to his growing reputation that the Des Voeux 
should call upon them at all. 

" Alma Orilia will be here this week or next." 

Harston's fortune would be made, everything would be 
easy, if Ahna Orilia took a fancy to Harston Migotti and 
would sing his music. 

" For heaven's sake don't take a dislike to Mrs. Des 
Voeux or offend her," Gerald urged. 

Manuella subordinated her feelings, therefore, and put 
up with Mrs. Des Voeux's society in the hopes that, when 
Ahna Orilia came over to England, she might be intro- 
duced to Harston. All of them heard a great deal about 
Alma Orilia ; she was Mrs. Des Vceux' s favourite topic of 
conversation. 

" You Will have to look after your husband, my dear, if 
she does take a fancy to him," she said, with that short, 
hard laugh of hers. " Ahna is a regular man-eater ; 
Giovanni has fought two duels already on her account. 
He will never divorce her, because he is a Roman 
CathoUc." 

" Or because he is a gambler, and she makes many 
thousands a year," someone interpolated in an under- 
tone. 

Mrs. Des Voeux spoke as if to have had lovers were a 
feather in her sister-in-law's cap. Manuella hastily said, 
of course, that she should not look after Harston, and 
Mrs. Des Voeux laughed again. 
" We shall see. All the wives say that at first." 
In June the arrival of Ahna Orilia was announced, 
boon after that, the Des Voeux gave their grand annual 
concert and reception in Harley Street, Ahna Orilia 

i6* 



"W:. 



'■.<^MI& 



I 



t 

ill 



244 " CONCERT PITCH " 

was staying with them. Gerald brought home aU the 
musical ^^ip. She would sing at Covent harden and 
at two concerts-otherwise, nowhere but at her brother s 
house and perhaps in Seaford Place. 

" She is in glorious voice this season, I m told , better, 
if possible, than last. The King and Queen want to hear 
her as Elsa ; it has all been arranged. , ^ _, 

The Migottis received an invitation to the Des Voeux s 
party, and Gerald looked upon it as a royal command. 
Manuella's first instinct was to refuse. ,, 

" But you must go," he ^xclamied. You must ! 

" They don't want me. They make a fuss about 
Harston. but I'm sure they don't care if I go or not. 

She was overruled ; in these days she was always 
overruled in everything that did not touch her own 

'X^^s'lrseemed that all the rest had been but 
an interlude ; a new phase of life ^eg^J^^^f °" ^J' 
evening of Mrs. Des Vceux's party. She had thought 
herself happy in her Uttle home, with her garden and her 
SSSng b% having grown used to Harston and her 
^S attitude toward him. She had put the past 
deUberately behind her. and tried to be happy. 

But there are no happy endmgs to loveless marriages. 
She had never loved Harston Migotti, but had nm aw^ 
from love, as young girls do sometames, ^d forced 
her way ignorantly, wilfuUy, into ashadowW where 
duty bec^e the one bright star. She had hitched her 
waggon to it, but the couplings were not to hold securely, 
nor without jar. 



ill! 1 


ill 1 


H' 1 


' i^ii 



CHAPTER XXII 



EVERYONE knows the Des Voeux's house in Harley 
Street. To-night, when Manuella and Harston 
Migotti drove up in their taxi-cab, the string of carriages 
and motor-cars was half-way up the Marylebone Road ; 
it was like a gala night at the Opera House 

The hall was full, the rooms where they left their wraps 
were overcrowded ; the stentorian hired waiter called out 
their names between others more important and better 
known. 

" Lady Christobel Carruthers and Count Feresties ; 
Miss Stanton ; Mr. Patrick Stuart. Her Grace the Duchess 
of Mahnesbury, and Lady Violet Braid, Mr. and Mrs. 
Migotti, the Countess of Chichester. . . ." 

The ugliness of the large bare double drawing-room, 
with its hideous wall-paper, was concealed by the shifting 
figures and groups of fashionable people ; attention was 
distracted by the medley of bare shoulders and chains of 
pearls, exquisite coronets, dresses from Paris ateliers, 
of soft lace and soft stuffs glowing with embroideries; 
jargon from Mayfair, long hah: from Bohemia, artificial 
manner from Stageland, foreign tongues from everywhere. 
Here were the people who rented opera-boxes, and those 
who made opera possible ; the great ladies who took their 
two-guinea singing lessons from Oscar des Vceux, and the 
artistes wno owed him everything, and paid him nothing ; 

245 



1^ ' 



246 



<( 



CONCERT PITCH " 



li f 



the great Russian dancer, the prima-donna of musical 
comedy, everybody. 

Manuella, after the perfunctory greeting from her 
hostess, found herself only watching. She was conscious 
of isolation ; Harston's friends were her acquaintances, 
the Stone House acquamtances were dummy figures 
bowing ; she felt curiously alone, although she recognized 
so many faces. 

For a long time, or it seemed a long time to her, she 
remained by herself. Harston had soon left her ; he was 
surrounded by women, his hair seemed astonishingly 
long, and Manuella, perhaps a little bitterly, thought he 
was like Gilbert's Bunthome. She herself was not 
flirtatious, but there was no other word that seemed 
to her to fit Harston's jnanner with women. She felt 
contempt for it, yet it hurt her pride in some way, probably 
because it lowered him in her eyes. She always wished to 
look upon him as a genius, but paying compliments and 
receiving extravagant ones, bowing over hands and kissing 
them. beUttled him. In this attitude he was not Wagner, 
or Beethoven, or Mozart — only Bunthome. 

" Mr. Graham wishes me to present him to yi^u." 

She was startled out of her thoughts, roused from 
watching her husband, by her hostess, who was in a 
hurry to get back to her more important guests. More 
important than Manuella, not than Peter Graham ; few 
people in the room were more important than he. 

Manuella Wagner had been accounted a beauty at her 
first drawing-room. In the two years that had passed 
since then promise had become fulfilment. At eighteen 
she had not come to her full height ; now she was tall 
and slender as a young ash tree. Her hair was not 
fashionably arranged ; the dark abundance of it, parted 
in the middle, was twisted into a great soft coil low down 
on her slender neck. Her face had little colour, but a 
porcelain bloom, a transparency behind which glowed 
the white flame of her contempt when Brema Tietgens, 
who had been in The Chariot Queen, flopped to the ground 
in a curtsey before Harston, and he raised her, kissed 



".CONCERT PITCH " 



247 



her hand, and accepted her ridiculous homage. The con- 
tempt burned darker in her dark eyes, the fire of it was 
caught in the thick, curled lashes. The bow of her mouth 
was pomegranate red. There was no woman at all 
in that brilliant assembly who compared with her in 
looks. So thought Peter Graham when he asked for that 
introduction. 

Peter Graham, a bachelor of about forty, wealthy 
and reputed of Jewish origin, was a well-known amateur 
violinist. He had the reputation of being a lady-killer ; 
he would have repudiated the coarseness of the expression, 
but never the innuendo. Mr. Graham lived in Hertford 
Street, where he possessed an unrivalled collection of old 
Italian stringed instruments and a music-room acoustically 
perfect. He gave quartet and other parties of great 
distinction. Chamber music, and his collection of violins, 
held all of his heart that he could spare from women. 
Without ever having been in the Divorce Court it was 
always admitted that he was a bom co-respondent. 

Peter Graham was of a slender and elegant figure, 
bearing his forty odd years as gracefully as a dancer 
carries a bouquet ; tiiere was really an air of chivalry 
about him. It was true that he was bald, extraordinarily 
bald for so young a man, but the expanse of forehead 
gave value to his dark expressive eyes; his dark 
moustache had grey in it and he wore a goatee, now, 
too, getting grey. His thin skin was Uke a woman's. 
There was something of the foreigner in his manner, in 
his elegance, in the slight burr of his r's. But not Albert 
Wagner, nor any sartorial critic, could have questioned his 
clothes. His sleeve hnks were cut antique gems, a rire 
and exquisite intagUo was the ring that he wore on 
the little finger of his slender hand, the buttons of his 
white waistcoat were old enamels. The pearls in his shirt 
were quite small. He had not, however, an original 
mind, and after Mrs. Des Voeux moved away he played 
the well-known opening gambit 

" I was saying to Mrs. Des Voeux that I am quite sure 
we must have met somewhere." 



248 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



\iiWii 



Manuella could not remember the occasion, but was 
interested in trying to recall it. He realized her in- 
genuousness, and it completed the conquest her beauty 
had begun. 

"If we have not met before, I shall hope, at least, 
this will be the first of many times." 

ManueUa hoped so too. she could do no less. Other 
banal courtesies were exchanged. 

" Alma Orilia is here, isn't she ? Is she going to sing, 
do you know ? " Manuella asked him presently. 

" You are interested in Alma Orilia ? " 

" We want her to hear my husband's music, to sing, 
perhaps, in his opera." 

" His opera ! " Peter Graham had not caught hex 
name, and he connected her with no husband, she looked 
like a girl. 

"Harston Migotti. He wrote The Chariot Queen," 
Manuella explained. 

"Oh, yes, of course. Yes, she is here. Would you 
like me to present her to you? We are old friends." 

" Not to me, to my husband. But Mr. Des Vceux will 
do that, he has promised." 

Peter Graham had a fin^ taste, the feast he saw before 
him tickled it. 

You sang the title r61e in your husband's opera, 
did you not ? It was unfortunate I was abroad at the 
time it was produced. I might have been able to have 
been of some use to you." 

It was true that he might have been of use to them. 
Peter Graham had sufficient wealth and influence to have 
dressed the house on the first night with the right people, 
to have said the right word before the Press said theirs. 
And neither O'Neill nor Otterstem would have refused 
The Chariot Queen consideration if Peter Graham had 
endorsed it. 

" But perhaps it is not too late now. May I open the 
matter to Alma ? " 

" But how kind I " 

" Not at ail. I will speak to her at once, she will not 



MB 



" CONCERT PITCH '* 



249 



sing until later, until the room is quite full. Which is your 
husband? Oh!" 

The exclamation was due to the fact that Des Voeux 
was before him with the introduction. 

"That is Madame Orilia with Oscar Des Voeux; I 
suppose that is your husband to whom he is takinc: 
her?" 

" Is she really as good as they say ? " 

" I should say quite. Tell me, are you going to sine 
to-night ? " -OB 

" I have given up singing. I have never been trained. 
I only sang because at the last moment Madame Stella 
Lily threw them over, and there was no one else." 

" You liked the Ufe ? " 

" I hated it." 

" You are quite right, if I may say so, if you don't 
mind my saying so. Public life for a woman, stage life, 
brushes off the bloom. I knew without your telling me 
that you did not like it." 

" How did you know ? " 

"I have an instinct." He went on to talk about his 
instincts, implying they were rarely at fault where a 
beautiful woman was concerned. 

" Will you come down to supper with me ? " 

Peter Graham confessed to the artistic temperament. 
Already he knew he was about to fall in love, was 
conscious of the prehminary thrill, the sense of ad- 
venture. 

Supper at the Des Voeux's party, like the soup at the 
famous dinner-party Heine describes, was conspicuous 
by its absence. In the dining-room, to which he piloted 
her. there were traces of " light refreshments " ; empty 
dishes that had once held sandwiches and a few cakes. 

But, standmg against the buffet, no longer Bunthome 
but himself, was Harston, deep in conversation with, 
as Manuella quickly decided, one of the ugliest women she 
had ever seen. 

" Alma, Madame Migotti wishes to be presented to 
you," Peter Graham was eager to carry out this beautiful 



'ii 






fflii 






250 



** CONCERT PITCH " 



girl's first request. Manuella named Harston to .n, 
and Peter had the right word, the appropriate word. 

Under her heavy lids, the great soprano looked at the 
composer's wife. She knew all about the composer, her 
brother had told her, but nothing about his wife. And 
Des Voeux had omitted to mention about Harston Migotti 
that he was of great physical attraction, astonishingly 
handsome. 

"I am so glad to meet you," Manuella began im- 
pulsively. But that she and Alma Orilia took an 
immediate dislike to each other was obvious from the 
first moment. Manuella wanted to say that she had heard 
of her marvellous voice, and was longing to hear her sing, 
she thought she would add something about Harston' s 
music, and ask her to cpme to Circus Road. But she did 
nothing of the sort. Ahna Orilia was never a favourite 
with women, and she looked at this one almost insolently, 
responded coldly, turning away and continuing her con- 
versation with the musician as if the interruption had 
been ill-timed and ill-bred. Harston, too, or so it seemed 
to Manuella, resented it. 

" My wife is unused to Society." 

She actually heard him saying that as she moved 
away. Unused to Society ! But why, and since when ? 
She flashed, and Peter, who, whether or not his know- 
ledge of women was as profound as he imagined, certainly 
understood Alma, knew she had administered a snub, and 
looked curiously at Harston. 

" Your husband is very good-looking." 

" So Madame Orilia seems to thmk." That she had 
flushed angrily, and given vent to the quick lotort, gave 
him an opportunity to exhibit his tact. 

" She is intolerant of feminine beauty ; you ought to 
feel flattered." 

" Oh ! I don't care ; she can be as rude to me as she 
likes, so long as she will sing in // Traditore." 

" I think you may leave that to me," he said confi- 
dently. " And now, tell me ... " 

He wanted to know all about her, what she did with 



" CONCERT PITCH 



)) 



251 



her life. She was only half caught, although it was so 
long since she had been the objective of any man's 
attractions. She did not even hear all he said to her, 
or anything of what he implied. She was conscious 
all the time that her husband never left Alma Orilia's side, 
and that presently, when the singer mounted the platform, 
it was he, and not Oscar Des Voeux, who went with her. 

" He is surely not going to play her accompaniment ! " 
she exclaimed. 

" Yes, I think your husband is going to play her 
accompaniment. You don't mind, do you ? I thought you 
said. ..." 

" Of course I don't mind," Manuella answered hastily, 
" only it seems so strange." 

Peter Graham read the symptoms more accurately, 
and certainly more quickly, than she read them herself. 
She was going to be jealous of Alma. What he knew even 
better was that Alma would give her plenty of occasion for 
it. Alma was the very devil if she took it into her head 
to wish to spite a woman, or take a man from her. Peter 
had the mind that enabled him to read Alma's, and he had 
read it when he introduced them. Harston Migotti 
had attracted and Manuella' s good looks vexed her. 
Manuella would not have thought it possible that she 
could be jealous of Harston, seeing that she had never 
loved him, but Peter Graham knew better. 

Now in the hush that followed her appearance on the 
platform Ahna Orilia stood silent, whilst Harston's fingers 
touched the keys. There was a little applause before she 
began; he played the opening prelude to the sound 
of it. 

Alma OriUa, then ahnost at the beginning of her career, 
already famous, and, before the end of this story, 
notonous, was in her twenty-seventh year, of a superb 
and sensual ugliness, more compelling than beauty. She 
was dark, so dark that it would seem impossible she could 
be of European birth. The heavy lids drooped over her 
eyes. Her lips were fuU, cheek-bones high, the bushy 
brows nearly met. Her bust was pronounced, and he- 



lii 



11 



252 



" CONCERT PITCH " 






ii 



I 



neck thick. But under the drooping lids the eyes were 
like jewels, the thick lips that part^ when she sang or 
smiled showed white and even teeth. 

" Madame Orilia will sing an A and B," Oscar Des 
Vceux announced briefly. 

The A was of extreme simplicity. It was Spohr's 
arrangement of " Rose wie bist du so schdn ; " the song 
Richsurd Wagner chronicles as having been sung to him 
by his niece Johanna, when she was fifteen, which led 
him to prophecy her artistic future. For the B she gave 
the Elsa song. 

Manuella, listening, spell-bound, against her will, remem- 
bered that her own voice had once been likened to velvet. 
She realized now that, if the analogy held, hers was but 
a poor cotton-backed variety. This rich singing, these 
deep, organ-like notes ahd fluty upper ones were satin 
lined and silken-fibred, grandly woven. There was 
absolute silence while Alma OriUa sang, followed by a 
tumult of applause and congratulation. All the duchesses 
and countesses wished for introductions; but from every 
introduction she turned to her accompanist, to Harston ; 
there seemed to be no one else to whom she cared to talk 
for any length of time. 

M^nuella, rousing herself from what she felt was an 
unreasoning irritation at the conspicuousness of this con- 
duct, realized that Mr. Graham was asking her if she 
would dine with him one night in Hertford Street. " You 
and your husband. I will get up a small party, is there 
anyone you would care to meet ? I should so like to 
see you in my house ; I have a few things there th'^t 
might interest you." 

She said she would like very much to come. When 
he had taken his leave, the room was already more than 
half empty. The crux of the entertainment had been 
Alma Onlia's singing, and, when it was over, it was merely 
a question as to who could get away first. Manuella 
wanted to go, too, but Harston made no attempt at 
leave-taking. 

She went over to him and said : 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



253 



" It is very late." 

" But we have not nearly finished our talk." 

Alma Orilia treated her as if she had been a child, 
interrupting important affairs. If she did not actually 
say, "Go away." her manner said it, and not too 
courteously. Manuella had not the perfect temper to 
meet this treatment. She stood her ground. Mrs. Des 
Voeux was yawning ostentatiously : a few artistes lingered 
talking to Oscar. 

" Harston, I'm tired, I want to go." 

He rose, he could do no less ; he had not noticed the 
antagonism between the two women. 

" But, of course, we are very late. ..." 

Alma was furious that Manuella had earned her point, it 
was a small thing, but the famous pnma-donna could not 
bear opposition even in small things. 

" You must call and see me, we must talk more." 

She did not include his wife in the invitation. 

" May I ? " 

His eagerness mollified her ; she saw, too, that it annoyed 
Manuella. 

" What a hateful woman ! " was her first sentence when 

she and Harston were alone in the cab. 
"Hateful? You are dreaming. Hateful? I never 

met a more delightful person." 
" I suppose she buttered you up all the time." 
]' She wants to see The Chariot Queen score." 
' To kiss your hand, and call you ' Maestro ' ! " 
" I don't know what has come to you. You are not 

jealous, surely you are not jealous ? " 
Her pride mounted, and repudiated the charge. 

''alous ! She is the ugliest woman I've ever seen. 

"1 re gomg to be jealous, it wouldn't be of that." 
J*!^^"ghed, and put an arm about her. 

.^^^y„^ttle wife of the hearth ; but of course you are 

He was in high good humour; the whole evening he 
*h«ncr'Li'^°^^' flattered, talked about, and it was 
«most certain, If suitoble arrangements could be made, if 



»* '■i 



tl 

il 
11 



i 



'■ 






" CONCERT PITCH 



»; 



she liked the music — and of that he had no doubt — that 
Ahna Orilia would create the part of Queen Cartismandua 
in // TraditPte. He was injudicious, but ever since she 
had sung so badly in The Chariot Queen, his wife had 
become inconsiderable in his eyes ; she could take care 
of the house and play with the baby. 

" What a Boadicea she would have made ! But the 
Cartismandua music is better, it is altogether a better 
r61e. She has a superb presence, the voice of the century, 
I should say quite the voice of the century ; such volume, 
such extraordinary range, such tone, and what amazing 
flexibility and expression! And she herself, she has 
temperament, dramatic power, intensity. . . ." 

" Was Boadicea a negress ? " Manuella asked flippantly. 
" I should think the only thing Alma Orilia would play 
perfectly, looking the* part, would be the old woman 
with the bandana in On the Road to Mandalay." 

" So it is true, the little one is jealous," he laughed. 
" But there is no cause ; it is only to hear her sing my 
music I go to her to-morrow morning. Sone one must 
sing my music." ^ 

" I don't care who sings it as long as I don't." 

He shrugged his big shoulders. 

" If you had only never attempted it ! " 

" I didn't do it to please myself." 

He answered more seriously. 

" That is of the past ; of the present is Alma Orilia 
and Queen Cartismandua. Already she is interested." 

" In you, not in your music." 

" That is as it may be ! You think she has fallen in 
love with me ? Well ! and then, if it is so, how good 
it would be ! She would not be the first . . ." 

" Me ! I suppose you mean." 

" I mean nothing, nothing but that if I interest her 
she will sing in my opera." 

Manuella turned a disgusted shoulder to him, remaining 
obstinately silent to his eulogies of Alma Orilia. It was 
obvious the prima-donna had flattered his vanity. In 
return, he credited h«r with capacities and intentions, 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



*55 



a range of parts beyond any woman's possibilities. She 
had got into his head like wine. 

" How can you say she is ugly I With those eyes in 
which you see emotions rise, that superb throat from which 
the voice gushes like clear water from a well. . . ." 

When, at length, the cab stopped before their door, he 
got out before she did. He had been brought up in 
Germany, where little attentions and courtesies to women 
are no part of a man's daily life. She followed him, 
thinking that, if he had been Mr. Graham, he would have 
waited for her, and paid the cab instead of leaving her 
to do it. She was loyal to him ; she had surely kept her 
vows and made him a good wife, but the time had passed 
when she would not criticize him. 

He went straight to the music-room without waiting to 
say more to her— even " Good-night " ; she heard him 
playing far into the small hours. 



r 



CHAPTER XXIII 






THE next fc^w days Harston was rarely at home, and, 
when he was, he talked continually about Alma 
Qrilia. Manuella found herself in a perpetual ill-temper, 
which Gerald's enthusiasm was quite unable to assuage. 

She was in the garden when Albert's letter was brought 
to her. Her bad temper had made her oblivious of the 
fact that it was ten days since she had seen or heard 
anything of Albert, who was usuaUy a constant visitor. 
All the morning she had been rolling the little lawn, and 
unnecessarily weeding the flower-beds, tying up the tall, 
flowerless stalks of that elusive herbaceous border, syringing 
the roses against the green-fly that had not yet made its 
appearance. Manuella, so far, had not found floriculture 
as easy as housewifery, but she was very persevering. 

Albert's letter changed the current of her thoughts. 
For some reason or another, probably at Lord Lyssons' 
instigation, he had never mentioned Waldo's name to her ; 
she did not even know he had returned to England. AH 
the colour left her face when she read Albert's letter, but 
it was not on Albert's account ; she hardly took in the 
sense of what he wrote, she was so\' startled at seeing 
Waldo's name on the page. 

" I am off to South Africa, rather in a hurry. Waldo 
advises it ; you remember Lord Lyssons ? Whatever 
has happened wasn't my fault, I was driven into it. 

256 



** CONCERT PITCH " 



257 

^Ir^^r^ ?*1;^*^^' ^'"^ "^^y- ^*^ Lyssons ; he's a 
real good sort I find ; anyway, he's done me a go^d turn 
now. He wiU teU you all about it. ..." 

It was startling, incomprehensible. Waldo/ he was 
back «n England then I She was to see tTm. v^te^ 

.'?TnL^S r • "^ °i '^' ""^" ^^^«" ''^^"^ed uneven ; 
t appeared to nsc and be unstable bent uii her feet Hei 
hps trembled ; she put down the gardening tools and 
went into the house. Waldo I ^ ' 

cK^t"!"*!! T^ ^^^ ^"*' ^'' ^^^' Graham, from whom 
she had had an mvitation. roses ven a visit, ceased t^ 
exist. She had put the thought .,f \raldo so ro.oluteJv 

more than difficult; he came to her in dreams in 
wake ul houi^, when she was most unhappv .vhen sTe'w^ 
a httle happier. The work of the fiat iIk. advent oreTf 
the heatre the birth of the baby, however, had hX^ 

tZ^A ?5^"iPT ""^ '^' *^^ "^^"^o^y and the knowledge 
She had thought she would never see him again nor hear 
of him ; she had even hoped it ^ 

"What shall I do ? " That was the cry of her heart • 
l^A^f sickn^ of longing for him. a moment of forget^ 
fulness of everything else. ^ 

Of course, when she had time to collect herself she 
knew she would do nothing. But. after that, dl^e qvSet 

r^fL \ .u?" jaunted her; everything was altered 
although nothing had changed. J- 6 « *iterea 

buf ^o^^if il"""'^^ ^'^^^ ^^'' ^^d *^« Prima-donna 
mI^T^- *;, ^^^^ * ""^^y ^' ^nd tawdry thing. 
^« S'Si^f V rival, thought the two^of theS 
S ?o w^^ 1°' ^^*°" ^^fi^°*^'s affections ; took 

^ Cov^'f^ ?^ ^'^lu''^ *°°' ^^" «^« ^^ not singing 
LVoKi^l^* ^^^'^' ^^^ w^ reaUy succeeding with him 
«tabl«hing an influence, but what she ;.-antfd^S S 
i^ wife should know it. Manuella did know it. but, 

17 



^.i 



i'%%, 
,-tA. 



i! ! 



ii 



If 



i 



258 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



after Albert's letter came, and she knew that Lord Lyssons 
was in London, she ceased to care ; at least, it became of 
httle importance. 

Gerald, taking quick advantage of her change of mood, 
reminded her she owed Mrs. Des Voeux a visit, and was 
not justified in omitting it because Alma Oriha was 
staying there. 

Gerald's note-book was accmnulating new material. 
If there should be an intrigue between Harston and the 
prima-donna, it would be of immense value to the bio- 
graphy. He wished he could have discussed it with 
Manuella ; he knew that almost everyone was talking of 
their sudden intimacy. Gerald was eager for more detail, 
and wished to probe his hero's mind. Harston only spoke 
of Alma OriUa as an artiste, a superb artiste. Gerald 
wanted to know more. 

Although social convention was regarded less in this 
Bohemian world than at Stone House, Gerald argued that 
there were certain obligations necessary to fulfil. 

" I don't want to meet that woman." 

" It is ^'ery unhkely she will be at home." 

Gerald would have appreciated her confidence, but failed 
in obtaining it. He could not have conceived how little 
Hzirston's vagaries possessed Manuella just now. Some- 
where, some day, she would meet Waldo ; it might even be 
to-day I Her disUke of Alma Orilia became perfunctory, 
occupying the back instead of the foreground of her mind. 

She went to pay that visit to the Des Vceux, walking 
from Circus Road to Harley Street, and all the way her 
mind was full of the possibiUty that she might meet 
Waldo ; every tall figure in the distance, oi on the other 
side of the road, set her heart beating, or brought the 
colour into her cheeks. She arrived at Harley Street, 
however, without adventure. She hoped to escape with 
the mere formaUty of card-leaving, but happened, unfortu- 
nately, upon Mrs. Des Voeux's " At Home " day, and was 
following her name into the drawing-room before she had 
time to reahze it. 

Seen by dayhght, and without the large company that 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



259 

its lack of decorative S'e '"■"'"■^'"-out, slovenly i„ 
its size, bare of beautiful t?^' '"""^""'d too cheaply for 
chiU. The Ci^U^ on tl t^' ^*™ ''^ * Preliminary 
design that bS «rved toJ^,"^ ''^ ^"^^^'- "^ » 
the walls were Z^J ^^'^K'^ ""de colouring- 

cotta cluysr^rheSlbo^'a whiw^i"?'?". "i '«-'' 

The drawing-ioom carpTt reLrted th!^2 '"^ I?"*"- 
staircase. An even wn,i. ™f •! J^ atrocties of the 
than the one ,nS^d,„^"^J^''™* "' ««" Des Vceux 

on which were "'olSSn rf^! '"'!1' ""' '"*"''^P«<*. 
two light brown oLSw h '' T^^' * Slass shade. 

candelfbra tharcoi^l^aveTo™*^''^' ^'^''^ "P 
two yelJow cats. hideoZv ZL\ ^ ■''°'" ^'™''*. and 
presumably JapiiSe ^ misshapen, m bastard china, 

adl^of^new^ctinfX^ 'V "°'» '» -"<"" the 
got up to go aT Z^ Z^iV '"""'• °^ o' ^^o 

farewells. ManucSa ha^^im^ to woLr' .'"^'"k^ ""«' 
come, and to wish sh. L.5 k! ■ *°™«r why she had 

He^ host^^etfed 1 '"'"^ Punctilious. 
Hatston Mig^ti S an i„,^ . Tl'^"- «a"n6 secured 
was unn^I^ylo'^p '""2 «, ^f"? »' ">! house, ft 
Alma Orilia, gorgeoLlv L^?- *«'""»" to his wife, 
affected, T^itS^^liS^Zi r*^- ^"^'^l '*"^ ^he 
and showed it in her 0™ lay ^'^ ' ^"-possession, 

were'c^^T '"^'•^'' '''' """'"g- "^ did not say you 
"Probably he didn't know." 

litlaughe? Iheh'n'Tr^i^^^S. ff«W 
aad now thoKimt^lfw^ o ' °f >«'"« °"t of temper. 
by_this ugly vTm^. ^ ""'^ "^*°" ""'d be attracted 

"HoWT'&t^V"''^'i''"e of importance." 

"«'|^?---^^^^^^ '^ ""' '- 

-t^wiW4lon^l^-----tr£ 

17* 



26o 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



im 



her husband was with her so constantly. Mrs. Des Voeux 
dashed into the conversation with her shrill laugh. 

" If Oscar paid as much attention to any woman as 
your husband pays to Alma, I should be simply mad 
with jealousy. He is never out of the house." 

A diversion was made by the entry of two new guests. 

" Mrs. Straus. Mrs. Warner." 

If they had been announced even five minutes later 
Manuella might have escaped ; but. as it was, she kept 
her seat reluctantly. 

" We had such a charming evening at your house last 
week," chorussed Mrs. Straus and Mrs. Warner, two 
ill-dressed la4ies from some suburb that made them incon- 
siderable. Mrs. Des Voeux smiled abstractedly, gave a 
limp hand, and said : _ 

" Oh, yes," as if she were tired of admitting it. Baitmg 
Manuella was more to her taste than entertaining them. 

" Mrs. Russell Marston." 

A streak of vivid personahty, with black eyes, black 
hair, and foreign accent, hung with pearls, picturesquely 
dressed, made a diversion, filling the room with scent and 
an overpowering good-nature. She was kissing Alma, 
greeting everybody, accepting tea, before Mar.uella had 
time to wonder who she was. 

" You are the wife of Harston Migotti ? " she said to 
Manuella. "You know Russell is delighted with his 

suite." 

Russell Marston was a great conductor, the greatest, 
perhaps, since Richter. Manuella had not even known 
Harston had submitted him a suite. " He is so glad you 
are going to sing the Boadicea song at the concert," she 
went on, to Alma. 

" The Boadicea song ! " 

Manuella could not refrain from the exclamation, or 
the sudden flush of heightened colour. 

Mrs. Des Voeux said ill-naturedly, with an assumption 
of carelessness '. 

" I don't think Mrs. Migotti has heard Alma is singing 
the Invocation song at Albert Hall." 



'* CONCERT PITCH » 



261 

" You do not tell each other everythinff " intemniofo^ 
Alma with a smile of indescribable S' '""''"^^^'^^ 

She tc..^n .uicTy fh^f^i .er'etndfr:^:^^^:^- 
that there was antagonism, and she wished to S^uL it 

" r .L^^.'^S"' ""^ ^^J^ "°* ^^ y«"^ wonderful voice " 
1 sang It because there was no omp p1«p " m. » 
sa^d simolv ri<;ino- +r^ „« t-iT • ^^^'^' Manuella 

I don t suppose you will go to the concert " Mr. Wc 

resenting the attitude of both women but' h^?H- k'^' 
head high and showing htuTilgn Tit ' ""' "'"''^"^ "'' 

Would you care to come to mv box ' " Mr,; m»„. 
^'ked She did not understand exacSy wh^w^i^^" 

empijfs^^. f"^'^"u F-" ^- ^ V<eux said, with 
sZ^^nyJ:i::'\ '-^^ '° -- «- Bo^dicea song 

Thank you, I should like it verv much " lu.., n 
arc^R' f"'-','>-<"ng 'he ad™S. "fhvf IHhe 

.he'nu.?r of s:";:,^'*^^''^' '" =™<* '- -. °"'yVv" m: 

womL-s bltt?:'hai.?: r«"'4f-t'° '*"'" """"'^ 
•' ' — o ■•-»-t"wenfc yi Her own. 



^ 



262 



" CONCERT PITCH 



)) 



il 



[if: 






Mi^. Straus and Mrs. Warner, having been ignored long 
enough, made their adieux and went out with Manuella. 
Directly they went, Alma and Mrs. Des Voeux began to 
talk at once to Lulu Marston about the airs the composer's 
wife gave herself, and her bad manners. 

Peter Graham had imprudently admired Manuella to 
Mrs. Des Voeux ; Alma had her own reason for dishking her. 
Neither of them had a good word for the girl, and Lulu 
found it difficult to defend her on so insufficient an 
acquaintance, although she neither altered her opinion nor 
forgot the promise. 

Manuella upbraided Harston, when she got home, for 
conceaUng from her that Alma Oriha woiild sing the 
" Invocation' song" at the Albert Hall concert, and that 
he had sent Russell Marston a suite for the orchestra. 
Harston found it difficult to explain his silence. Gerald 
tried to throw oil upon the troubled waters. He, too, it 
appeared, had known about it. 

" He thought you might be hurt." 

" Yes ; that is what I thought, that you would be 
hurt." 

" You didn't suppose I should be less hurt hearing it 
from her than from you." 

" I had no idea you were going there to-day." 

" So she told me." 

Harston had to acknowledge that Alma had asked him 
to keep it from his wife's knowledge. 

" You see, the idea is that, if she makes a success with 
the song, she will be more ready to create the r61e of 
Cartismandua in // Traditore. You know how important 
that would be," Gerald urged. 

But now Manuella resented his interference between 
her and her husband. Before the day of the concert there 
were several little scenes. Gerald was so sympathetic 
toward both of them, so curious and communicative, that 
he got upon her nerves. To get rid of him became urgent, 
imperative. 

" Baby ought to have a day as well as a night nursery; 
the house is small, I should like it to myself." 



" CONCERT CITCH 



» 



263 



She (fid not say exactly this, but practically that was 
what It amounted to. When a man. not without a con- 
science and even a heart, is deceiving his wife, he is quick 

.. S ^^!n'"'S .^*''°'^- "^ "^^^ * ^Sht objection. 
Jaut Gerald is so useful to me. . . ." 

"You are so seldom at home." was the quick retort 
Ger^d went back to the rooms in Bedford Square and 
gave Harston an additi«ial reason for continual absences 
bhe had expected to hear again &-om Albert, but no 
letter canie. When the days went by. and she heard 
from neither liim nor Waldo, she had an unreasonable 
anger against Lord Lyssons. He ought to have come or 
witten; he might have known she would be anxious 
about Albert. 

She was very restless, and. it must be confessed a little 
quarrelsome. She felt Harston was keeping things L. k 
from her, intriguing against her with Alma Oriha. She 
could not for^ve herself for caring so httle, and resenting 
It so much. Peace fled from that little house ; there were 
scenes ana recnminations. It was worse, not better, when 
Gerald had gone. 

" You Will not make a scene at the concert ? " Harston 
asked her. 

" That depends how I feel. I shaU do just as I like " 
she answered. ' 

It was obvious he was ill at ease ; he had been amazed 
at her exhibitions of temper, and was now half afraid of 
her. His conscience was not clear, but his work was not 
sutfenng. because it was practically complete. The score 
ot II rradttore was in the printer's hanos. He knew it 
depended upon himself whether Alma Orilia created the 
itle r61e or not ; she made little secret of his attraction 
lor her. Notwithstanding all her gifts she was a mere 
animal of a woman. 

Ke went off early on the day of the concert, unable to 
obtain any assurance from his wife. He could only report 
to Alma, who was full of interest, that he did not know 
what she would do ; she was quite unaccountable 

iruc to her promise, Mrs. Russell Marston caUed 'a h-- 



264 



"CONCERT PITCH" 



I 




motor for Manuella, and Manuella had no hesitation in 
going. She had not the remotest intention of making any 
scene. Mrs. Russell Marston, whose own story will be 
written one day, wore beneath the most elaborate 
toilettes one of the warmest of human hearts. Behind 
the plumed and extravagant hats that no one but 
herself could have won. so successfully, but that suited 
her exotic beauty so well, was a fine and rare under- 
standing. She knew all about Manuella and Alma OriUa 
now, and all her sympathy was with the girl. Musical 
London was talking about Harston Migotti and Alma 
Oriha. It was rumoured that Giovanni Orilia was on his 
way to England. Lulu thought it would be good that 
Manuella should show by her presence at the concert that 
the stories afloat had little foundation. 

In the motor she questioned Manuella, but in a way that 
could not hurt her feelings. 

" You wanted to hear her, did you not ? You will be 
glad if she does justice to your husband's great music. 
Russell is delighted with it ; he thinks she is going to 
make a big success with the song. I want you to 
applaud." 

" I shall applaud if she sings well. It was good of you 
to invite me. Do people think I mind her singing the 
song because I sang it so badly myself ? It isn't my 
song, as she says; it is Harston's. It put me in such 
a rage that Harston or anyone should think I could be 
jealous." 

" I know," Lulu said soothingly. " I know ; I want 
you to sit well in front, to be among the first to applaud." 
She took Manuella's hand, pressed it in her impulsive 
way. " You must come and dine with me one day, 
Russell wants to meet you. Don't mind what anybody 
says." 

They were early in arriving at the Albert Hall, but 
already the house was very full. 

" Russell will be pleased, he hates an empty house." 

" He won't have that to-day." 

The box was a large one and Lulu had the habit of 



■Mai 



** CONCERT PITCH » 



265 



entertaining her friends there. Among almost the first 
to arrive was Mr. Peter Graham. He had sent Manuella 
roses, and she and Harston were dining with him the 
next day. 

Peter had arrived at an age when his emotions were his 
servants, and not his masters. His first and most empress i 
greetings were for Lulu, but, when he sat down, it was 
beside Manuella. 

Other men crowded into the box. Lulu Marston was 
one of the most popular women in London. She enjoyed 
the perpetual devotion she received, and never over- 
rated its quality. She could play the greatest pastmaster 
in flirtation to a standstill at his own game, and, never 
granting the last favour, could afford to be liberal with 
smaller ones. Under cover of Lulu's talk, Peter spoke low 
to Manuella. She thanked him for the flowers he had 
sent her. She had the most curious sense of expectation, 
as if it were drama at which she was assisting. Mr. 
Graham filled up the interval, he interested her no more 
than that. She had no idea she was being honoured by 
his attentions, that Lulu was stage-managing it. Harston 
Migotti could not neglect nor ignore his wife when she 
was under her protection and Peter Graham was in 
attendance. Lulu believed Peter was playing her game ; 
she had no idea she was playing his when she asked him 
to come this afternoon. She thought Peter Graham 
was devoted to her. He was, but had been only awaiting 
the opportunity to see Manuella again. Now he talked 
to her in a low voice, and she heeded him as little as one 
heeds a curtain-raiser. And yet she had no idea what her 
expectancy portended. 

The tuning of instruments, the rustle of music-sheets 
was over, the audience waiting. Then appeared the con- 
ductor. If Lulu Marston was a streak of vivid person- 
ality, what is to be said of Russell ? He was electric ; a 
breath went through the house when he raised his baton, 
a breath that seemed not to expire until he laid his 
biton down again after the first number had been 
played, faced the audience, bowed, and smiled. He did 



!1 
i ; 



266 



" CONCERT PITCH " 




not conduct the orchestra, he played with it, all the 
strings were in his hands, the souls of the musicians and 
the hearts of the audience were his instruments, and he 
drew from them exquisite harmony. When it was over, 
Manuella turned to Lulu, her eyes glowing. 

" How wonderful he is ! " 

" Is this the first time you have heard Russell conduct ? " 

Peter Graham had not spoken ; he had been quite con- 
tent to lean back and watch her whilst she listened. 
Contour and colour were equally satisfying. He had 
wanted to see her in the daylight, and found she gained 
rather than lost by it ; her eyes and lashes were glorious, 
the thin red curve of her vibrant mouth gave impetus to 
his imagination. 

Perhaps if he had not been gazing at her just in that 
way. Lord Lyssons would again have put off his approach. 
Ever since Albert went away hurriedly, at his instigation, 
he had meant to see Manuella, to explain the circum- 
stance. But he knew he would find it difl&cult to betray 
no feeling at their first meeting ; so he procrastinated, 
hoping some accident would bring it about. He went 
wherever he thought she might go. When he saw the 
announcement that Alma Orilia would sing the song from 
The Chariot Queen, he got a seat for the concert, although 
music had always been a dead language to him, and, since 
she had married Migotti, it was not only dead, but decayed, 
and stank in his nostrils. 

He saw Manuella come into the house, and kept his 
scat, watching, nevertheless, and in two minds as to 
whether he should go to her. But, when he noticed that 
Peter Graham watched her too, and the manner of his 
regard, he got up abruptly. 

Manuella had gone out day after day expecting to meet 
him ; she would look at every tall figure, feel the coloi^r 
rising in her cheeks, her heart leaping, look away, and 
then again, to find only disappointment. But to-day 
she did iK)t expect to meet him, cMtainly not at the 
Albert Hall. Her heart nearly stopped when she beard 
his voice ; then it raced on. No une else knew 



"CONCERT PITCH 



»} 



267 



" May I intrude ? " 

'.'Come in." Lulu welcomed him. but ManueUa was 
rigid m her seat, presenting an obstinate back. 

I thought I recognized. . . ." there was a slight 
hesitation. ..." Madame Migotti." ^ 

" She is here. ManueUa. . . ." 

She had to turn round then, but could not command 
her voice to speak, so she only bowed. And he was 
httle less formal. Lulu's qu! . eyes saw beneath the 
greeting. 

" Won't you sit down ? I am sure Mr. Graham doesn't 
want to sit oui the ' Eroica,' he must know every note 
ot it. Mr. Graliam. . . ." She waited for ManueUa to 
name the new-comer. 

" Lord Lyssons." 

Waldo took Peter's gracefuUy-vacated chair. Russell's 
b&ton was again uphf ted. In this box, at least, no one 
would speak until the next piece was over. 

Waldo sat through Beethoven's glorious symphony 
without movmg. ManueUa, in a chaos of emotion, was 
super-conscious of him. Not aU RusseU Marston's elec- 
tncity or magnetism held her now. It seemed the 
longest piece to which she had ever listened ; but, when 

could not turn round. Then Waldo said, quite easUy. 

she thought, and with the old flippancy : 
' It is so difficult to talk to your back " 
When she faced him, although she was pale, he said : 
^^ ihat s better. Don't you want to hear about Albert ? " 
Vou might have let me know before." 
So I might." 
" Why didn't you ? " 
" I wonder." 
Their eyes met. and the blood rose in her cheeks ; his 

giassdropped out, and he had difficulty in replacing it 

song -'^^ ^""^ ""^ ^^ ^"^^ ^ '^^^ "«*^ is the great 

^JiT^'i^i ^"^ *''' ''^ ^ ^^" °^ ^^^ '^''^' ^^^ Peasant 
snuie. Lord Lyssons yielded his place to him. standing up 



268 



« CONCERT PITCH » 



at the back of the box, however. As he was here, he 
thought he might stay, he must have another word 
with her. 

The great moment had arrived, the moment when 
Ahna Orilia was to sing the *' Invocation song " from 
The Chariot Queen, and Manuella was to show she was 
not jealous, to lean forward and applaud. It seemed 
inconceivably unimportant. At first, until after the second 
verse had begun, she hear ^ nothing, nothing but her own 
loud heart-beats ; she was conscious of nothing but her 
fears lest Waldo, too, should hear them. 

But the rest of the audience was more alive to the 
occasion. < 

Alma Orilia was as ill-dressed as most singers at after- 
noon concerts. She wore red silk, and the amplitude 
of her bust was accentuated by the badly-disposed lace 
with which the bodice was trimmed. Her hat was large, 
a lace brim shading her face ; a big bird of paradise 
perched upon the side jarred upon the taste. She was so 
dark that it was difficult to believe she was of European 
blood. Amongst the audience who had no prejudice 
against paradise wings were men — and women, too — to 
whom even a suspicion of black blood is prejudicial to 
sympathy. Yet the first words of the first verse had not 
swung into the air before those who disliked dead birds 
as ornaments, and those who were prejudiced against 
the coloured races, were oblivious of both. 

The song is now, of course, hackneyed, too well-known 
to need description, but the effect of it that afternoon, 
heard for the first time with the accompaniment of a 
really fine orchestra, Russell Marston conducting. Alma 
Orilia singing, was little short of wonderful. These 
Sunday concert audiences are genuine musical connois- 
seurs, musical enthusiasts, but, above all things, musical 
critics, difficult to move, not given to tumultuous 
applause ; captious rather, and with classical cultivated 
taste, perhaps a little narrow. This was difficult music, 
torn from its context. But a difficulty to Russell Marston 
was always an inspiration. He was more than electrical, 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



269 



he was inspired. The great voice roUed. and the orchestra 
swayed with it, rising and falling. 

Fear not. Me of blowing woodland, isle of silvery parapets. 

narrow thS!" *** "^*'**^ ****'' *^"' *he glthering ' enemy 
Them Shalt wax and he shaU dwindle, thou shalt be the mighty one 

Never, perhaps, at a Sunday concert at the Albert Hall 
had such applause been heard. Manuella had not to be 
prompted, although Lulu was prepared to remind her 
She leaned forward, clapping with aU her might in a flush 
of whole-hearted admiration that her generosity could not 
withhold. She might dislike the woman, but she had to 
admire the artist. 

''You behaved splendidly, my dear, splendidly," Lulu 
told her enthusiastically. "Everyone could see there 
is nothing in the gossip." Lulu had a little lost her head 
or would not have been so outspoken. ' ' No one applauded 
her more than you did." 

A chorus of congratulations followed, charming thmgs 
were said about Harston's music, RusseU Marston's 
conducting. Alma Orilia's glorious voice. Lulu said it 
was impossible to stay for another number, it would be 
anti-chmax. She was already standing up to go, collect- 
ing her bag, purse, muff, veil, talking to everyone at 
once. "' 

" Are you coming ? " she asked Manuella. 

What has there been gossip about ? " 
It was Waldo who asked it. Peter was finding her 
wrap, ofiermg her his motor, criticizing the performance 
trying to say the things that would please her. 

if she only looked Boadicea as well as she sang it," 

Manuella answered Waldo, hurriedly : 
About her, and my husband." 

She did not know whether to accept Lulu Marston's 
^^! ' *°'" ^^w^ ^- ^^^ ^^^y ^*^"ted to stay where she 
W^M ?A*^"* *^® remainder of the concert, keeping 
Waldo with>r. But Peter was an adept at poits s(S^; 



MICROCOPY RESOLUTION TEST CHART 

(ANSI and ISO TEST CHART No. 2) 





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Its 

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^r- 1653 East Main Street 

S^S Rochester, New York U609 USA 

^— (716) 482 -OJOO- Phone 

^S (716) 288 - 5989 - Fax 



rjo 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



he was holding her coat, everyone in the box was standing 

up • 
" I'll get the motor round in a minute. . . ." 

" If you are going in Madame Migotti's direction. ..." 
There were half a dozen candidates for the honour of 
accompanjnng Lulu, and she was always in a hurry, full 
up with engagements. 

" I think I would rather wait. . . . Harston may 
come up, he knows I am here." Manuella said irreso- 
lutely to Mr. Graham. ,, 

" I will send round and tell him, ask him to jom us. 
Peter was never at fault. 

But Harston might be seeing Alma Orilia home, and send 
her a humih^ting message to that effect. The thought 
came quickly. . ^, 

" No, don't do that. Perhaps I had better not wait. 

Again Waldo interposed : 

" Why not walk home ? " 

" Walk ? " Peter was able to assure her that it was 
raining. He had no doubt she would prefer his society. 
and his motor, to that of this eccentric looking person 
whose clothes were so obviously of last year's cut, made 
by a second-rate tailor. 

" I think I should like to walk." 

" Perhaps you had better go in the motor. . . ." 

Waldo was always unaccountable. Maybe he did not 
want her to get wet, but it was possible, too, that he was 
not, even now, in complete conmiand of himself. 

" I will call upon you if I may. . . ." 

" Curious fellow, your friend," Peter Graham said, when 
they drove off together. He had got the car up quickly, 
handed her in, wrapped the furs carefully round her. 
" That was an idea of his ! to walk home ! Who is he? 
I don't seem to remember having met him. Have you 
known him long ? " 

" He is the Earl of Lyssons. He is a friend of my 

brother's." ^ , 

She did not know why she should say this, why she 
wished to explain, to be disingenuous. 



« CONCERT PITCH » 



271 

He had asked if he might caU upon her. AU the way 
home she was wondering when he would come Peter 
Graham had not even the reward of her attention in 
return for his pertinacity. But it was of httle conse- 
quence his varity put her abstraction down to nervous- 
ness There was no doubt, he thought, he was beginning 
to affect her ; she could not talk to him with ease 



CHAPTER XXIV 



SHE had not long to wait. Waldo came the very next 
day, aknost before she expected him, though 
unconsciously she expected him every moment of the 
time. Quite early in the morning, a huge box of roses 
arrived, each rose pink and perfect on its long stem. 
She spent an hour arranging them in china vases, silver 
bowls and tall glasses. At four o'clock in the afternoon, 
when Lord Lyssons came, the Uttle room was full of scent 
and colour. He seemed amazingly tall, and more like Don 
Quixote than ever. He saw that she still looked like a girl, 
although some quality had been added, some depth or 
tenderness. As yet he scarcely knew in what way she 
had altered, although he knew so weU, as men do know 
these things, that he cared for her more than ever. Some- 
thing Lulu Marston had said or suggested gave him the 
clue. If unhappiness lay in wait for her, she might have 
need of him. He had nothing now in his mind but that 
she was young and friendless, and her brother Albert 

*^At' first they talked only of Albert. If he was moved 
at seeing her no sign was apparent. His whimsical 
sententiousness, whatever the depth or intensity of his 
feelings, was not in abeyance, his sense of humour was 
never at fault. On the surface at least, she was more 
nervous than he, talking quickly to hide it. 



With abruptness she said 



272 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



273 

'' You are going to teU me about Albert I can't mAk* 

out why he didn't come and say eood-bve W^J ^ 

him decide so suddenly? wL TLYL ?^''* "^"'^ 

Some people might express it that way. I suDDOse 

you ve never heard of a judgment summons ? " ^^^ 

'] Weil. Albert had." 

;; You mean he had been spending too much money ? " 

" I am so sorry, he was so generous, more than eenerouQ 
wl ^' ?T^'^ "^^ ^°^« ^^^«st completefy '^^^^^^ 

^^ Good by stealth' sort of thing, just hke Albert " 
h. K "vl"""^' ^ ^'"^^ ^^ ^d "«t ^^ant to bTthlnked • 
wastt^uL^..^^^'^^"^^- ^^y <ii<in't he t^^t 

'' He told me." 

kno ^^r^'t anything, anything to do. . . I mean I 
know there was someone. . . " "• • . • 1 mean. I 

;; There was certainly a lady in the case." 

;; ^joni whom I suggested an immediate separation " 
-Jforh^^-Ji' cared for him, Albert Vev^ she 
r R ?^' ^I"^ ^^'** ^^ ™ade him look the other 

for Ws'p^l^s^^sS^ f ^^«<l"^book, and a Httie 
you. I Z^Tthint »f ^"^ f * "^^"y *^"t her if I were 
her he hadUn""'^* "" '^°^-' -^- t^^y told 

'GpS-ty^'tXl"^'*^^'"*^^' I suppose he said 

beiievr an^^ ^T'v^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^ ^^^V well. I 
e- and . . . inexpensively. That is enough abiut 

z8 



« CONCERT PITCH 



)* 



274 

Albert, isn't it . You've got a baby, haven't you ? Why 
not produce hira just, just to change the subiect. 

He had asked whether he might sit down, but he was 

again standing. . „ 

" It seems impossible you are marnea. 
He stumbled on, it was difficult to be taking cal^y 
to her. He saw now that she did not look happy that 
was the chief alteration he found m her. Not maturity 
nTv wlkm. but. lurking in her eyes' dark depths, was 
that which told him all was not weU with her 
" Produce your offspring. I suppose he will have to 

have his pinafore taken off. and his hair brushed up 

She smiied for the first time smce he had come. 
" He doesn't wear a pinafore, and his hair curls naturally, 
it never has to be brushed up for company. I am going 
to fetch him myself. I shan't be two seconds ; 1 11 bnng 

^^X^^^'heiore he had time to miss her. bearing 
the child in her arms. Waldo really Uked babies, an un- 
usual trait in a man so he took him from her. and. as he 
said made a careful inspection. Any excuse served to 
conceal his feelings. The baby was not l^ke his mother 
he had Harston's big head and fair hair. Bertie s blue 
eyes. It was a curious experience to be dangling her 
child on his knee. To him she was still oriy a girl I 
s^ had looked happy, if Lulu Marston had not let f^ 
that unguarded word, if Mr. Peter Graham had not sat 
by her Sde with an unmistakable expression, he. Wa^do 
would have gone, never to come back; ^^ J^^^ hav 
staved away from her at all costs. //, »/, tf? But ne 
had sent Bertie to South Africa out of the ^^ogho 
of his affairs. Someone must be here to stand by 

^'^The baby m de itself at home on Waldo's knee, gurgled 
at the eye-glass, and made inefficient darts to possess 
Mm^H of'tt' W-Udo talked to him in hisj^-actenshc 
way. The incoherencies that passed for tdk. and were 
the preUminary to it. the " mum mum '' ^^d/' "^f "f "4 
encoiKaged his absurdities. Screwing his glass into his 



" CONCERT PITCH 



>» 



275 



eye, and looking down at the child J seriously. Lord 
Lyssons said : 

" I have no doubt there is not a word you are saying 
young fellow, with which I'm not absolutely in agreement' 
You don't say it very well, but I think I grasp your mean- 
ing. You are jolly glad to be in the world at all. and you 
have made up your mind to laugh your way through it If 
I poke at you with niv finger you will laugh." The baby 
certainly did, and see.,ied to hke the tickling. " If my 
glass drops out," which it had done during the tickling 
process. " you will laugh again, although I can't see half 
a yard before me without it. No I don't grab at it 
it wiU hurt your HtUe fingers. As for putting it in your 
mouth. It is not to be thought of. Here, take this, jamb 
my watch m your mouth ; that won't hurt you. Gums 
hot, eh ? Well, never mind, here's my finger ; it's softer 
than the watch, but that's not saying much, is it ? Bite 
down on it, that's good. He is pretty strong, isn't he ? " 

She offered once or twice to take the child from him 
but he would not give it up. Harston talked a great 
deal about the baby, but never to it. He had written 
a berceuse, not dandled his son on his knee. 

Into this picture of domesticity saUed Mrs. Oscar Des 
Voeux. Manuella had omitted to deny herself to visitors 
She was not expecting anyone but Waldo, yet many came 
that afternoon. Mrs. Oscar Des Voeux almost shrieked 
at the sight of the baby, and begged that it might be sent 
away at once. 

T '/tJ^J® *^*^ **^® idiosyncracy about children that 
i-orl Roberts has about cats. I simply cannot bear them 
m the room with me." 

She seemed quite proud of it. and Waldo sympatheticaUy 
interested himself in her symptoms after Manuella intro- 
duced them, asking for details. But this occupied Mrs. 
iJes Voeux for a comparatively short time. What she had 
come for was to find out how Manuella had borne Alma's 
triumph of yesterday, what she thought of it. 

It must have been hard for you to hear what another 



could do with the song. 



i8* 






276 



« CONCERT PITCH » 



" It wasn't hard at aU." ManueUa was surpnsed at 
that vi^w of it. " I only wish I could have su^ it as 
shf didTbut. of course. I couldn't, and I am glad Harston 
has found someone who can." 

•• Oh. my dear, it is all very well to carry it oflUke 
that. akd. of course, it is very brave of you ; I da^V 
I should have done the same thmg myself. But every- 
iody is talking about them. ... I suppose you have 
heard about it ? " she asked Waldo. a„^\,^A 

"No." he answered laconically, and Manuella flushed 

*°^here is nothing for Lord Lyssons to hear." 

"S4/ WeU. I'm sure I don't know what yo« 
call noS. My husband is fearfully uj^t ; you know 
^h^leftls and taken a flat. I told her I reajy co^dn 
Lve him in Karley Street from mormng till mght. I 
hear he is never out of the flat." 

" T don't want to know. ..." , . ,, , 

"ic^ quite understand that. But I thought if we put 

our heads together . . ." ^ 

Waldo tried to create a diversion, but Mrs. D^ Vaux 

would talk of nothing but the growing scandal of Harston 

Misotti's devotion to Alma Orilia. 
"Not that that is the way I should put have it myself. 

For my part. I should say the boot is just as much, or 

more, on the other leg." ,,,„,,, 
" Extraordinary I " interpolated Waldo. 

" I w£^ody^miSng what an extraordinary position 
that must have been for the boot, to be just as much or 

"" wi.' D^'voeux could not understand his treating the 

"" sL'r^'^Jier him. I mean." she explained ''Of 
course, in a way. it's all for his -^vantage. Not that 
GiovaAni is Ukely to put up with it. Giovanm lets her do 

^"^^^^.iZ not C^hat>aldo should 1.^ her 
husoand was neglecting her and runmng after another 



"CONCERT PITCH" 



VI 



woman. But Mre. Des Voeux would talk of nothing else 
commiserating her, saying she had been warned, advising 
her what to do. Waldo made no attempt to go, although 
now Manuella wished he would. 

Gerald always at home in the house, although no longer 
staying there, arrived in the midst of it. Mrs. Des Voeux's 
mdiscretion included him. and he was understood to say 
something about the artistic temperament. He had rushed 
up in a taxi to find Harston. and when he heard he was 
not there, and had not been home since ten in the morning 
he left again immediately. " I'U be bound he knows where 
to find him, Mrs. Des Voeux said, with her shriU laugh 
getting up to go. Manuella asked her if she wanted a 
cab sent for. 

" ^^i ^y <^ear, no. I don't trust myself to chance in 
this neighbourhood, I kept mine. Then I'm to tell Oscar 
you won't do anything; you are quite satisfied they 
should be the talk of the town ? " ^ 

She was scarcely out of the house, Waldo had hardly 
had time to ask who was the Tommy Traddles who popped 
m and went out again, before there was another inter- 
ruption. 

Manuella was explaining : 

" It was Gerald Streatfidd. Harston's great friend ; they 
play together; he copies the scores, helps in aU sorts of 

"I suppose it was he who sent you all those 
roses. 

^^^}, ^''^^- 0^' °o' They tame from Mr 

It was the very moment the servant announced : 

Mr. Graham." 
Peter came in. most perfectly dressed in morning coat 
and grey trousers, grey tie. sudde gloves. 

I have only rushed in for a moment. . . ." 

Waldo, Manuella herself, thought he, too, would say 

something about Harston and Alma Orilia. He bowed 

over her hand, kissed it. That slight roll in his r's excused 

ftis manners, which were too good, just as his movements 



278 



«« CONCERT PITCH 



*t 



were too graceful, and his clothes too decorative, *or a 
well-bred Englishman. 

" I found myself in the neighbourhood, I hope you do 
not mind. V is about to-morrow night. I want to know 
if your husband would care to play. I don't want to ask 
him formally . . ." 

" Harston is not at home." 

She made him welcome— too welcome, Waldo thought. 
But all these roses vere from him, and it was the second 
time he had sent er flowers. Ht had " r-rushed " in for a 
moment, but he stayed quite ten minutes, charming, 
telling them the guests he was expecting to-morrow 

night. * ^ , 

" If you would care to join us, I should be very pleased. 

I don't know if you care for music ? " 

Manuella was surprised when Waldo, after an 
imperceptible mon ent of hesitation, accepted the invi- 
tation. 

" I shall be deUghted." 

She, at least, knew he was not musical. 

Peter Graham apologised for asking him only for the 
evening, not for dinner. 

"My house is small. . . ." He apologized lo. the 
smallness of his house. When he went away he again 
kissed Manuella's hand, said how he was looking forwaril 
to seeing her, and that she need not trouble to let him 
know whether her husband would play or not. 

When the door closed behind him, Waldo, still main- 
tainii^g his place on the hearthrug, asked her if she 
expected many more visitors. 

" You 1 ave quite a lot of nice new friends. . . ." 

" Mrs. Des Vceux isn't a friend of mine." 

After that he was silent, silent quite a long time. 
Manuella was afraid he would begin to speak about Alma 
and Harston. She would tell him that she did not care ; 
she would not have him pity her. But, of course. Lord 
Lyssons did nothing of the sort- He stood with his 
back to the fire and warmed hi': coat-tails. When he 
spoke it was of the weather. 



** CONCERT PITCH » 



«79 

" It is perfectly ridiculous to have a fire mi such a hot 
day. 

'• \Veii, there's nothing to make you stand before it " 

I am pro -cting you from its heat." 
" I don't want protecting." 

"No, nj; of course not." He seemed a little 
atKtracted. 

" Nice fellow. P.ter Graham." he bogan again " Sym- 
pathetic manner. Does he always kiss your hand and 
send you flowers ? You were always fond of flowers. I 
remember. 

She remembered now well she had been kept supphed— 
the rare orchids, and afterwards, when she had expressed 
a pieference. the great pink peonies. From that day to 
this no one had sent her flowers. " No one has sent me 
flowers until now." she said involuntarily. 

What he wanted to answer was that no one but himself 
should send her flowers. What he actually said was : 

Well, now he has begun, he will go on. You have 
omy to tell him you like it. Graham is sure to do 

backwfrd '* ^'^ ' ^ ^^^°^^ ^^"'^ ^® ^"^^ *^® ^^^^ 

" I don't know what you mean." 

"Ot course you don't; how should you?" And 
then, inoonsequently. he continued : 

" You know that kid of yours ought to have something: 

VVTiat s the h tie beggar's name ? I ought to have been 
nis godfather. 

" He hasn't been christened. We always call him babv 
I meant to ask Albert." She was a little confused, as if 
sne had -en guUty of carelessness, but. in reality. 
Harston was the culprit. The christening had been put 

»L!^^" f"? ^^''"' ^"^ ^'■^^^ that his work should be 
umnterrupted. 

" He is registered Albert " 

•• WeU, call him Albert V/aldo. Why not ? I should 
like to have an interest in him." 
He went away soon after that. He had not said one 



I: 



280 



«* CONCERT PITCH 



»t 



word to her of all he had in his head. He thought she 
might need a friend, and he wanted her to know he would 
be that friend. Not only to her, but also to her child. 
He was so filled with tenderness for her, and fear, that he 
had not a word to say. For it was obvious to him that 
her husband was engrossed with another woman, and that 
this man, Graham, at least, was ready to rush into the 
breach. He would have to wait until he was more used 
to seeing her before he could tell her anything. Now he 
only wanted to tell her that he was her friend, that she 
was to trust to him. He knew she did not want him to 
speak to her about her husband, to know she was being 
neglected, knd gossiped about. Her pride and her sensi- 
tiveness were known to him, as well as her impulsiveness 
and capacity for folly. He ' -1 not mean to let her out 
of his sight again ; but for the moment speech was para- 
lysed in him. 



^ ^ 



i 



CHAPTER XXV 

SINCE Waldo was to be at Pet«r Graham's party 
it was for Waldo Manuella dressed. She had the 
talent of clothes ; Peter Graham appreciated it in her • 
it was part of her attraction for him. 

To-night the pUant satin fell in long, graceful lines; 
the lace crossed transparently over the pale pertection of 
her shoulders, revealing the slender throat and suggesting 
the i.mall rounded breasts. Her hair vas without orna- 
ment, coiled low and simply on her sm and regal head. 

When she entered the drawing-room wi Hertford Street, 
her host experienced a genuine emotion. He advanced 
to meet her, and showed at once that she was the guest 
of the evening, although there might be others more 
celebrated. It was a small party ; she had hardly time 
to recognize faces she had seen in illustrated papers when 
dmner was announced. 

In the beautiful small dining-room, at the round table, 
with Its exquisite napery. old glass and Queen Anne 
Mlver, she became aware that her neighbour was a Cabinet 
Minister, and her vis-d-vis the most famous and popular 
lawyer who had ever followed a forensic by a parliamen- 
tary success. The newest and most defensible of peers 
was at the other end of the tabl.. There were only twelve 
guests at the dinner-table, and none of them was 
unknown. 

The dinner was quite short ; Manuella wr without the 

a8i 



i 



282 " CONCERT PITCH " 

experience to know how exquisitely it was thought out 
and served, or how carefuUy selected were the wines 
But she could not escape knowing that the setting had 
been prepared fo. her. For she was seated at the nght 
hand of her host and his eyes and words were eloquent. 
Of course, she enjoyed this attention ; she was young 
and beautiful to-night, glowing with expectancy. She 
had forgotten for the moment that Harstons conduct 
with Alma Orilia was exposing her to insulting sympathy. 
Her host's eyes told her she was looking well, if her glass had 
not told it her before. And it was so Waldo would see her. 
Peter Graham had built his own house, and. hke every- 
thing he. did. it showed evidence of an exquisite taste 
The music-room led out of the dining-room, although it 
was on a lower level. It was approached by stei^ from 
a balcony, and on the balcony ManueUa stood by her 
host's side whilst he was receiving his guests. The long 
room below was sombre and dignified, with paneUing of 
cedar-wood and silver. Ut by electric lights. There were 
deep recesses in the walls, where, on shelves oehind 
reticulated glass, on velvet cushions, she could dimly see 
the great collection of musical stringed instruments he 
told her he had spent the best part of his hfe m getting 
together. Here were the masterpieces of Stradivanus 
arfd Amati ; the viols and violas de Gamba Peter 
Graham's evening guests were as distinguished as this 
small perfect music-room on which they were looking 
down and all the house, which he promised to show her 
presently. But there was only one to whose coming she 
looked forward. , , 

Waldo was very late ; at one time she thought he would 
not come at all. It was not until the evening was far 
advanced, and she had left the balcony, and was with 
the other guests in the music-room, that she became aware 
he was present. The moment was inauspicioi^. Alma 
Orilia was on the platform, and Harston at the piano. 
She was supremely conscious of comment. Had she not 
been, her host's apology would have made her so. 
" i wish I had not asked her to-night.-- I did so want 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



283 



you to be perfectly happy in my house, to be able to look 
back to this evening. ..." 

Waldo did not make his way to her side immediately. 

By the time he came the song was over, and Harston 
had disappeared with the singer. ^ 

" I am so sorry," Mr. Graham began again. 4 \_ 

" There is not the least occasion. . . ." He had to 
leave her with the sentence unfinished to greet some fresh 
arrival. 

Waldo sauntered up ; he cannot be said to have shown 
any alacrity. It was either his leisureliness or be- 
cause Mr. Graham had thought it necessary to express 
his regret, that sent her spirits down. 

'' You hke this sort of thing ? " Waldo asked. 

" We lived a very quiet life when we were first married," 
she answered evasively. 

" Oh yes." 

He knew all about that quiet life from Albert. And 
now the man, the man to whom she had sacrificed herself, 
for whom she had worked, was openly neglecting her for 
another woman. He would have given anything to have 
been able to ask her if she was hurt, if he could not 
comfort her. He did, of course, nothing of the sort. 
After a few seconds' silence he said : 

" And how is my young godson ? Did he get those 
corals I sent him up ? " 

"^Ki the teething band, and the baby comforter? 
Yes, they all came, and I meant to write and thank you. 
But I knew I was going to meet you here to-night." 

" Were you glad ? " the words escaped him. " As 
if you could say you were not ! " he finished. 

" I don't know." 

That curious pain she had so long ago, and had almost 
torgotten. the pain which only Waldo had ever given 
her. was stirring within her like a couchant animal waking. 
In consciousness of it. and her shyness, she turned gladly 
to her host, again by her side. 

" You won't care about the next number. I want to 
show you my prints. Will you come ? " 



i ; 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



< J 



284 

She went upstairs «ith him. through tte ^'^^ 
^, across Se haU to *e '"°™"'fS- «S Uuy. 
^uite alone there^d ■T' ^f."^^*,^^ ^^'excitid 
To anyone but Waldo she could *»'" e»f"y- S,, -venine 

to be momentous and now he *o^W '* "^8 ^^,_j 
more momentous than he had dw^tojop ^^ 

-T^.TJ^i'^^o::.^ T'on^^^ She was 
«%rX*r^^t*as"^ as musical instruments r' 

she looked round her '^^ "1"''^^"'^^ ^tle more than 
They were alone m a room t^at w»s m 

a cabinet o{ old "T'K wer"^|pXri^te with the 
on the V'^^^^^^^!' *^?^rcS^ndale furniture. 
Chelsea ?>^»' "^'^h^'Tthe schme, and he drew 
She exdamied at the ™*™ ,,.'",„ <,< the coUection. 
her attention to one or two of the gems 01 me c 

" You see so quickly, so wonderfully, •'«/»•<'• ,. 
.. i^lT I taow I am awfully 'SP"""* .^^"f ™ 
whote room seems so right, so i^^«?«^\ „ ^^ '^ ™' 
• » much happier in the right surroundmg^ 

"You feel happy h«^' «f,XS^W she had read 
it for an openmg. ''«**'"'7„?i,,raermB To-night he 
^JZiZTi^"^^ l^^/'S v««s^ .he 
irg,^nitt!e wonder his puls« b.^ to throb. 
'•You feel happy here ; with me ? 
:'.^S.t"i:^J^tme." he said ma lower voice. 

:: loTd^n^t t^S.^ it is to me to see you here, 

r;^L" ^Tir was^a^S^lhr^y one witK 
HisW^Ts'Siiers^h'nLt. ••That we have 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



285 



the same tastes ? Have you also that sudden indefinable 
feeling of intimacy, as if we had known each other a 
long time ? " 

She hesitated, she said she was not sure if she felt 
intimate with him ; blushed when she said it. It had 
only been for a moment she had been an advanced scholar, 
written verses in the new language he was teaching 
her ; now she was a tyro again, unsophisticated. He 
loved teaching. He played the violin, but it was only in 
yiicit love he was a master. And he guarded his own 
emotions, nursing them until they were so deUcate that 
every word fluttered them. 

Manuella's experience in being made love to was 
exceedingly Umited. Harston was but an impetuous 
amateur, and Lord Lyssons even less gifted. Now she was 
in the hands of a master. At dinner she had been con- 
scious that he thought her beautiful ; now he made her 
aware that she was full of undiscovered possibiUties, un- 
revealed charms. He went easily from that to her 
husband's infatuation for the singer, or of the singer 
for him. His delicacy in approaching the matter at all 
was only exceeded by his tact in conveying sjnnpathy 
without actually opening the subject. 

" You must not let it distress you. If you cared, if 
you authorized me, I would write to her husband, to 
Giovanni Orilia . . . though, of course, you can hold your 
own without anybody's help. But if they should take any 
step . . . inimical . . . inimical to your interests. ..." 

He was telling her that she had a friend in him. She 
was quickly responsive to kindness, and thanked him 
impulsively. 

" I don't really care, only I hate people discussing 
me." She denied and acknowledged in a breath. 

" I understand ; I quite understand." 

Waldo, who had missed them, interrupted most un- 
expectedly, walking into the room as if it were natural 
for him to be there. He saw that she was agitated, and 
mistook the cause. 

" And this is the famous collection of prints ? " 



^ J 
i 1 



« CONCERT PITCH 



>» 



286 

II Peter Graham was surprised . to f!^\^%^^^2l 
loneer a^one he had the talent to disguise it. He greeted 
S Lys2>ns warmly, as if he had no other aim than to 

^'^.^Y^u^a^SSm ,^*^--r-amTnn" 

grandmother by Bartolozzi in colours ^^l^^^ .^^^?."^""S; 
W first states of both the Sir Joshuas. ne 
^LdSManuella: *' You admired them ve^mj^^^^^^^ 
ManueUa was sUent now. the manner of a few moments 
^o completely changed. A man ^o^^l^^^^^^^^";^,,^ 
fS)l not to have noticed the change in her and Peter 
rSham was not exactly a fool. Peter thought Manuella 
wafrSeXg Lord Lyssons's intrusion which however. 
he attributed to a genuine enthusiasm for pnnts. 

"tS fourth Countess of Lyssons was accounted a 
«eat beauty in her day. and all the fashionable portrai 
faSters Si their haids on her. I have the mezzotint 
by John Jones after Romney." ,u,„,.. 

"The beauty has not proved hereditary. 
Peter Graham's wit was not quick. 
" Oh • I don't know. Lady Carruthers is a cousin of 
you« isn't she? She was a very lovely woman. 1 knew 
her daughter." 

yi1'rv^':c:ept™fU me. I have also a second 
state onhTjonesmeMotint which is practically equa 
; *L fiit It is very rare in either state, and is not 
d°s^^l^by ChJonlrlmith. I was going to give it to 
t BriSh Museum, as they haver^t a -opyMiJyor^^^ 
Peter Graham knew all about his own collection whicb 
distS^shed him from the majority of vjealthy collectors 
S Lyssons expressed his gratitude suitably but 

declined the print. 

•' I'm afraid I must leave you now. 

Peter Graham had his reputation as a ho f to su tain^ 

Lord Lyssons seemed absorbed m the walls, as if be 

1^ i;««Ar nvpr them " You will excuse me , 1 see 

^t^eTenSa? I wish I could remain -th you- 

There is a catalogue." 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



287 



left 



the room Lord Lyssons said to 



When he had 
Manuella : 

" I did not know you took such an interest in prints." 

"^ Nor I that you did," she answered hastily. 

" You seemed to have got quite excited over them." 

" It was not about the prints." 

" I imagined not." 

Mr. Graham hurried back to tell them supper was 
served. " I had no idea it was so late. Will you bring 
Mrs. Migotti to the supper-room ? " 

He remembered now that it was in her sitting-room he 
had met Lord Lyssons ; the fellow was unattractive, ill- 
dressed, stil! . . there was no u^e pressing a tete-i-UU 
on her. 

" There is a seat reserved for Madame Migotti at the 
top of the table. I will be there almost as soon as you 
are. Prince Kapotsky is just going, I must see him off." 

"Are you hungry ? " Waldo asked ManueUa, when Mr. 
Grahair hurried away again. 

" Starving." 

" Come along, then." 

That is what it was, hunger of the heart. If both of 
them were conscious of it, were both they in hopes 
of keepmg it from the other. They were very silent, 
seeming to have nothing to say as they went into the 
supper-room. 

She sat silently, too, through supper, and Peter Graham, 
agam beside her, thought again that his words and 
himself had affected her, and was well satisiied. He had 
eyes for no one but her, his deferential manner made » 
conspicuous. 

Lord Lyssons was not a man of strong prejudices ; he 
Had traveUed too much, and seen too many people. But. 
watching them both, he allowed a hard word or two to 
escape him. 

" These damned Jews," he said to himself, " they can 
buy the earth ! " , jr <vii 

i ^ ^^ ^® ^^^ ashamed agam, for ManueUa was not 
w oe bought. That she was to be wooed he hardly 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



288 

bdieved; that s.>. ^,*^^,^1?X S^dlS^ 

SUton Migotti was m^p«ab^ ftom_^Alma ^^ ^^^ 

3^-'isto^^2::^„^|y^fS 

^^ ';Seri^r^Sr''^^V".nr«o™e„^bett., 

'« Graham wiU look after her. 1 na* >»« 

reported to Ws^^**^*^^« "^f peter was better than his 
W when the time ^^J"^?' J^f Jj^e doak-room. but 
word. He would not let her go up to tb^^ ^^^ ^^^ 

sent for her ^^P^' ,^^|i(id ^g earnestly. 

haJf^fh^rd a laughing comment ^^^^^^^^ ^^^ 

.. Peter never alters Co-res^ndent^ ^^^^^ 

mad-5. He has got hold of a oeauty ui 
fellow r' 



CHAPTER XXVI 



TWO days later, at twelve o'clock in the morning, 
Peter Graham was in the sitting-room at Circus 
Road, extraordinarily pale and agitated, and Manuella 
was standing Ustening to him, Uttle less pale than he. 
Her lips were tremoling, her eyes startled, and she was 
at firs'^ incredulous. 

" That I should be the one to bring you such news I " 
he ejaculated. 

" You say Madame Oriha told you herself that they 
were going away together ? " 

" Her words were, ' You can tell her that we have left 
for Genoa.' " 

'' Had anything happened ? Was there any ' «.son 
why she should have sent me such a message, anc smt 
It by you ? " -o . - 

He hesitated. 

" I happened to be in the Buckingham Palace Road, 
bhe pulled down the window of her brougham and called 
to me. ..." 

''I want to know exactly what she said. Was HarstoD 
with her ? " 

" Yes ; he was beside her. She said, ' Go and tell 
Her we have gone.' It seems, that night at my house, 
someone neard you say Ahna OriUa might sing your 
nusbands music, but . . . What you said was repeated 
to her. She is revengeful, bitter. . . ." 

289 19 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



290 

" What 1 said was that she was quite welcome to^mg 
his muLic and even to make love to him. but that .ho 
tournever get any further; she was too ugly to be 

""'a t'ri of dry sob escaped her as she repeated her own 
wo^dfu was'^rue she had said them, and to Mrs. Do. 

^''•''she got it into her head you despised her as a rival, 
thought because she was plam. . . . 

^oCSrS to be at Genoa on Saturday ; they want t„ 

.T^s?m there H they can see him before he mate 

S>" 'SgeiJeiu Vey may get him to put o„ 

"■'^Z ra^^dt/S mfbeheve they have oniy 

8°»-' *° Sd '?^'°leuer only came this morning. He 
had n^ttard oi it before h^ went out. He sent young 
strpatfield uo for his clothes, didn t he ? ,. 

^*'fYe' (irald told »« h' «*' '==^'«' ^^^ °" "uTbe 

• She won't be able to hold him ; how would it be 

■u! Xr after you ? TeU me what I cun do 

n* y^ Von oulht to' get away, not wait until people 

""lo condole with me?" She was almost beyond 
speeS^v^th her contempt and indignation, the hurt tohet 

'"^^Fvervbodv wiU be sorry for you and condemn bin-. 
She ^^ve L:: herself no good. I beUeve ter teband 
^d hTwould kiU her the next time it happened. 



" CONCERT PITCH 



»» 



291 



She sat down suddenly on the sofa, her courage 
collapsing, Peter Graham began half a dozen sentences 
without finishing them ; they seemed to have m them 
more r's than a.iy other letter. He, too, was obviously 
labouring under deep emotion. Through her own fury 
she became conscious of it, and supposed he was sorry 
for her. The other night he had said there was 
something in common between them, and he had 
shown his interest in her. He came over now and sat 
beside her. 

" You know how distressed I am." She saw that there 
were even tears in his eyes, she spoke hurriedly when she 
saw them. 

" I know." 

Not grief, but anger, held her ; she knew she had kept 
her vows, been a good wife, hved in repression, thought of 
nothing but her husband. 

" How can I help it ? To see you so beautiful, and . . . 
and wronged. . . ."' 

He took her hand, held it to his lips. She forgot he 
was there. Harston had left her—with that woman ! 

She went very pJe, and he thought she was going to 
famt. " What would Waldo say?" That was the sudden 
thought that paled her cheek. 

Peter Graham was sitting very close to her, and she 
could not bear him so near. 

" I wish you would get up." He rose at once. 

" Shall I go ? " 

There was silence again in the room, the clock ticked, 
a cinder from the fire dropped into the grate. Again a 
sudden passion of resentment seized her, a quick impulse 
of ungovernable anger, it died down, however, as quickly 
as It came. ^ ^ 

•' You don't mind me saying that I think you should 
get away ? ' Peter Graham went on : " The news will be 
all over London by to-night. Then the comments, the 
sympathy ; newspaper paragraphs perhaps. . . ." 
How can I get away ? " 

" Let me think." 



19* 



*^^^ 



292 



" CONCERT PITCH »' 



He seemed to be thinking. 
" It is impossible for me to go away. 
" You wiU have them all up here, questionmg, condoling. 
It will be unbearable for you." 
She. too was thinking how unbearable sympathy 

'^'^^OsSr wiU want you to do nothing. His wife will urge 
vou to take proceedings. ..." 

'' I shan^ do anything she advises ; she will gloat ovei 

it, talk to everyone. . • ." 
" You must get away." 
Now he spoke with decision. 

•• That is the only possible thing. Why not go South ? 
It seemed an inspiration, as if it had come to him 

'''"'\'am not going myself this year." he hurried on. * _I 
cannot leave London. Take my vUla. I have a little 
villa between Monte Carlo and Mentone . • • 

He^inted its deficiencies, deprecated, whilst describing. 
thrcSrms of its isolation. It was in a garden yellow 
!vlth Sn-trees and mimosa, hanging over the blue 

*'^' I^^end it you. if you will allow me. or let it to 
you. You will be quite alone there. and<^^;^ "L^^^^^ 
vour mind at leisure what you are going to do. There is 
no sunnier spot in the world, but there is always shade 
ST t^ gardeVand on the verandah. It is very quiet, 
out of the sound and sight of tramcars and motors- 

^thtSS ?old\^mrgTaway. but now in the eagerness 

^^.f-^oTr-tlnowLTI ^uld Eo feel I could be of 
use to you." He spoke emotionally. 

She^'Sved that he liked her and therefore ofiered 
her Uiis Sgn of friendship, that he understood it would 
Se im^ssible ior her to stay here to be sympathized with 
SlXthe comments and curiosity of their fnends^ In he 
eyes he was ahnost elderly, at the age of fnendship. She 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



293 



did not mean to accept his offer, or rather she was not 
sure what to do. So much would depend upon Waldo. 
. . . When she thought of what Waldo would say or do 
she flushed again and Peter Graham interpreted the flush 
in his own way. ..c was already beginning to thank her 
fervidly wher Lord Lyssons was announced. No one 
could have guessed Waldo's sensations on seeing Peter 
Graham here, traces of emotion in his face, storm of 
emotion in hers. 

All he said was : 

" Hope I don't intrude ? " 

Peter answered hurriedly : 

" I am just going," and made his escape, imagining he 
had achieved all his purpose. 

ManueUa followed him to the door, saying something in 
a low voice. 

Waldo remained standing on the hearUinig, his back 
to the fire, puUing himself together. He phrased it to 
himself : 

"Pull ymrself together, old man ; that damned Jew 
has got hold of her in some way, appealing to her 
feelmgi. You have got to look after her ; don't go think- 
mg of yourself, and how you'd like to wring his neck • 
say the right thing for once." 
VVhat ManueUa had whispered to Peter Graham was : 
'' Don't say anything before Lord Lyssons." 
It was only an impulse, but if he had not already heard 
she wanted to teU him herself, and when they were by 
themselves. In the hall she thanked Graham for coming 
to her. and for the offer of his vUla. She was touched 
by the way m which he responded that he had done 
J^^' wished he could do everything. 
When she came back to Waldo she was still convinced 
of Graham s kindness, but it had become of Uttle moment, 
wnat would happen when she told Lord Lyssons that 
tell h^r deserted her ? How was she going to 

She came back into the ., , ^ith these two questions 
paramount. For the moment she forgot to be angry 



•• CONCERT PITCH " 



»94 

with H«.ton, contemptuou. ol Alma Orito What would 
wSdo say ? That was the beginning and end. 

^J^avr^tSJyTin able to part with him ? AwM 

w«"h:?»pV, f««« Itri". nild'^nown.T 
not have interrupted for anything if I had Known. y 

' T«'u.ak.n aback by his manner, quickly in 

■^ofcouTi you can smoke. Mr. Graham only came . . 

°"'?'oSri'can mest whai he ca,,.. to teU you. Where 4, 
Oh I 1 can K»«» \"*„ „ searching the mantel- 

^Senr^r thflJox on":h: Uble and^handed i. .0 

■^Thanks, fine cigarettes these L"^!"*;, .^/"P^.* 
Mr. Graham does not smoke ; that sort of feUo never 

*^Whv are vou talking Uke that about Mr. Graham ? 
H. TLZZZ man to the world; he.only came up 

'^it^'^^Sr^e'^hat'^'rarup "here^this mo,ni„s 

cigarette was not so much to his lil'^ng *^ "^, ^ ^^^e 
fe*^:le'"a^^thefoSarairt!r:nd'... 

^^^t^ ie ta'iines himself in love wjth^you." 
She stared at him i utter surprise, speechless. 

:; S^'has pTo^W a lascivious and be^tly imagination. 
You are impulsive and practicaUy -inprotected. . . . 
Then he did know. 



CX)NCERT PITCH " 



295 



" Practically unprotected," he repeated. " Albert 
isn't here, although, of course, he ought to be." 

" I don't want Albert. I don't want anybody." 

" You have never been able to take care of yourself. 
You are like a child playing with matches ; you don't 
know your danger." 

Her nerves were fretted, fretted almost to breaking- 
point. What she had wanted and exp 3d from him 
was . . . was ... she did not word it, but "comfort- 
ing " was the word. Instead, he was blaming her because 
Harston had left her, because she had been unable to take 
care of him or of herself. She had never been able to 
bear injustice ; her hot heart swelled in resentment. 

" It isn't true. I have taken care of myself and of 
him too." 

She was speaking of Harston. He was thinking of 
Peter Graham, whom he had found there at twelve o'clock 
in the morning, the signs of spent emotion in his pallor 
and dark eyes reflected in hers. 

" For the moment, I daresay." 

For all his cool words and manner Waldo was hardly 
less agitated than she. " 1 suppose he has only left you 
for a time. I know the k nd of fe^'ow he is. 

" He is not coming back at all." 

" Don't you believe it. He will make an appeal to you ; 
I shouldn't wonder if he wept. You are as soft as a 
lobster without its shell. I shall find you drying his 
tears. ..." j j t> 

"^ I shall do what I think right." 

* You have the heart of a child and the knowledge of 
the world of a field-mouse. ..." 

"I wish you had not come here at all." she burst out, 
bitterly and utterly disappointed and unnerved. 

" Of course you do." 

He was labouring under an excess of feeling, accom- 
panied by an utter incapacity to express it. That Peter 
Graham should be making love to her was an unspeakable 
outrage ; that she should defend him, be his advocate, 
was mtolerable. In the misunderstanding, both of them 



i 



296 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



lost their temper, and said absurd things. What they 
were he was never quite sure, nor was she There was 
something about " crientaUsm" that she did not m the 
S^t understand but resented the more passionr.tely. 
and more about her childishness. *«„«.. 

" You only came here to say unkmJ things to me. 
He did not know anything about the trouble she was 
in of Harston's defection or her sensitiveness about it. 
" You are trying to make me lose my temper. ^^ 
" Well it has never been a difficult job, has it i 
She burst into tears and went on incoherently to 
upbraid him for what he had said and left unsaid The 
storm of her anger played about hi^«i like forked lightning 
He seemed to see in its flashes the justification for the 
ealousy that was shaking him. 

' She rushed out of the room when her fury had abated 
and he waited a long time for her to come back But 
when she did not come back he went away. He ^^as 
not surprised that she was angry with him for having 
pointed out that Peter Graham was making love to 
her; when he thought it over he was rather glad, lo 
him she was so much more than beautifid or attrac 
Te He saw her young soul white behind her lovely 
eyes' and that all her spirit shone. He knew her oyalty 
and courage, the fearlessness with which she would face 
danger. He had but meant to warn her. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

THE full force of her loneliness broke upon her 
that afternoon, when Waldo had left her without 
a word of comfort, and she had nothing to do but think. 
She sat over the fire and thought about her life. From 
beginning to end it had been a failure; she thought 
it would have been far better had she died with 
her mother. Her cruel childhood came back to her, 
her stepmother's dislike, her father's indifference, her 
own fits of temper. Perhaps it was true, too, that she 
had had a bad influence on Albert. There was nothing 
good or strong about him, and he had left England 
under a cloud. She began to cry presently, thinking 
how alone she was— what a muddle she had made of 
everything. 

She went up into the nursery later, and carried the baby 
off to take his first sleep in her arms, unheeding the nurse's 
remonstrances. 

If he cuddled down with his curly head against her 
heart, she might find solace. But baby, too, disap- 
pomted her this evening. He had a slight cold and was 
fidgety ; perhaps he missed his bed. She took him back 
to nurse, feeUng cross with him, as she had been with 
Waldo. But already she was sorry she had lost her 
temper with Waldo, and was wondering if indeed he knew, 
u he understood. 

How long the evening seemed I And all her days, 

397 



298 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



she supposed, would be the same. She could settle 
neither to needlework nor to reading. Were all her 
days and evenings to be like this ? It was not true 
that it was her own fault, and that she could not take 
care of herself. She had taken care not only of herself, 
but of Harston, been a good wife to him ; prayed for 
help subordinated herself, her baby, everythmg, to his 
well-being. That he had left her like this was a punish- 
ment, nevertheless; a punishment, because notwith- 
standing all that she had done, she had not loved him ; 
he must have realized some lack in her. She went to bed 
early, feeling vt ry forlorn, crying herself to sleep. Her 
last thpught was that, when her stepmother heard of her 
position, she would exclaim with satisfaction : I alway> 
said no one would live in the same house with her. 

She did not know how long she had been asleep, b... she 
woke with a start. , 

" Oh, ma'am, do wake ! do come ! Oh, ma am, ne s 

so bad. ..." , , . xu • 

She was out of bed in a second, her heart thumping. 

" I'm coming. What is it ? Wait ! " 

She was at the door in her nightgown, not staying to 

put on a dressing-gown, get her sUppers, or turn up 

the Ught. 

" What is it ? what's the matter ? 

" It's the croup, I think." 

Now she was flying along the narrow passage, liie 
n rsery door was open ; a night-light burned. Cook was 
sitting with the choking, struggling baby, a strange figure 
of a cook, fat and unwieldy in her cotton dress put on 
hastily, unbuttoned over her nightgown, a grey wisp 
of hair falling over her flaccid cheeks, but a good kind 
old cookie for all that, crying and distraught. 

" It's the croup, that's what it is. the croup. Oh, the 

poor dear ! " j v, <, 

In a moment Manuella had caught him up, and he \\a. 
gasping and fighting for breath in his mummy s aims. 
She was questioning, exclaiming, crying with hmi. tic 
could not get his breath, was almost black m the face. 



« 



CONCERT PITCH " 



299 



She did not know what to do, none of them knew what 
to do. It was maddening to be so helpless. 

" I've heard that a hot bath ... get a hot bath." 

" Or a sponge of hot water to the back of the neck. . . ." 

" For God's sake get a sponge." 

" And there's ipecac. Poor dear ! if he could bring it 
up, if we could get him to be sick. ..." 

They were doing all they knew. Nurse had called 
cook first ; they had hesitated to send for mistress, " know- 
ing she was in trouble." Manuella hated them for knowing 
it. 

In any emergency the finer faculties emerge. There 
was now no memory of trouble save this. She knew 
little of illness, but mother-instinct guided her, and soon 
the bath was ready. The hot sponge proved valuable ; 
a weak mixture of mustard and water served in place of 
the absent ipecacuanha. By the time cook had dressed 
hurriedly, and gone out to seek a doctor, his services were 
less urgently needed. 

When she tardily returned with a sleepy and unwilling 
person retrieved from a neighbouring dispensary, baby 
was no longer nearly black in the face and struggling for 
breath; he was very white and exhausted, he seemed 
to have shrunk beyond recogn;'ujn, to have fallen in at 
the temples and to be but a simulacrum of himself, but he 
was no longer engae^ed in that terrible fight. He was 
drowsy, inclined to Sicep. 

This local doctor, in the stress of his own fight for a 
living, had forgotten what little science he ever had. A 
man experienced in filling death-certificates, capable of 
vaccinating, or seeing a maternity case through if there 
should be no complications. " Never interfere with 
Nature," was his easy maxim. To do him justice, we 
must admit he rarely made the attempt. He hated 
commg out at night ; nothing short of cookie's dynamic 
energy would have dragged him from his bed. But she 
rang and rang, and shouted up the tube that led to his 
bedroom. He was overtired with the many hours' work 
that he had done so perfunctorily ; the work itself had 



300 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



u 



lost interest for him, so long had he prescribed the same 
formulae, given the same medicines. It mattered so little 
from which cask he drew the ingredients. When the day's 
work was over he drank whisky and water hot, and slept 
heavily. 

Now, here he was, a little fuddled, and coarsely jocular. 

" You know my charge is ten shillings if I am called 
out of bed in the middle of the night," was the first 
greeting. When he was able to realize that it was not a 
club patient, but a lady who sat before him with an 
exhausted baby on her lap, he tried to pull himself 
together, to be of some use. He wr^ not a villain, not 
even a drunkard, he was only tired and worn out from 
working under impossible conditions to make a liviig for 
his own wife and children. He approved all that had 
been done. But Manuella, realizing quickly what manner 
of doctor had been brought to her, would not let him 
approach the child for examination, lest he should disturb 
the quiet into which the Uttle sufferer had fallen. Im- 
petuously she bade him stay where he was. 

Because she was so beautiful in the blue dressing-gown 
they had thrown round her, he was amenable, staring at 
her, hardly seeing the patient. From his safe distance he 
asked the history of the illness. Manuella, cuddling the 
boy, trying to answer the doctor's conventional ' ques- 
tions, remembered how little heed she had paid to baby's 
fretting, or his symptoms of a cold. In her selfishness 
she had thought of nothing but her own troubles. 

" I didn't notice ; tell him, nurse. But it is over now, 
the attack has quite passed ; he has fallen asleep. I won't 
have him awakened." 

This dispensary doctor had rough methods. 

"Another attack will be coming on again, when he 
has gathered the strength for it. From the look of him, 
he hasn't much stamina. . . ." 

She looked up indignantly. " He has never had a day's 
illness." 

" He may pull through, but it's always a toss-up with 
the first attack of croup. Twelve months old ? Teething, 



".CONCERT PITCH " 



301 

too, I suppose ? There is nothing to be done. I'm sure 
I don't know why I was dragged out of bed. Nature you 
know ; you'U have to leave him to Nature. Keep hot 
water gomg ; don't give him anything but milk." 

He was really trying to remember all he knew about 
croup. He seemed to remember that the Madonna was 
fair ; but m her blue dressing-gown this young woman 
looked like the Madonna. He could not classify her 
His patients were mostly drawn from one of two classes 
and she was not oi either. He would know more if he 
saw her husband, a man is generally more easy to classify 
than a woman. ^ 

" Where is your husband ? What is he ? " 

There is not much time to be tactful or dehcate in a 
dispensary practice. 

" He ought to be here, you know." 

Her heart ran cold when he had spoken of another 
attack. She held the child always closer in her arms 
feehng his frailty, anguished lest he should be again* 
convulsed. ° 

" Her husband's abroad," answered cook to the doctor's 
question, whilst Manuella only held the child more closely 
and thought wildly how she was to save him 

" Oh, abroad, is he ? " 

The doctor wondered whether she was married He 
saw a good deal of irregular hfe in the course of his 
cheap practice. He was sorry for her. but it was three 
or lour o clock now, and he wanted his bed. 

WeU. I shouldn't worry about him any more until it 
comes on. Put him back in his cot and cover him up 
in send you round some medicine in the morning. I 
aaresay 1 11 manage to see him in the course of the day " 
.f.vfn ''''^'^ ''^''^l ^""^ imagined ho-v she resented his 
wfffjf..^"'' and everything he said, how anxious she 

wSnnif'^^'^u?^^^"^- She hated the man. This 
was no healer, no helper. 

When the front doc- slammed behind him the sense of 
nuiry camr upon her-the need for immediate action. If 
It were true another attack was threatening she must 



^1 
I 

Jl 
If 

I 
ij 



91 
■5f 



302 



« 



CONCERT PITCH " 

Her heart almost broke in tenderness 



be ready to meet it. 

over the baby. ^, . ., . 

" There must be something to be done, somethmg that 
dreadful man doesn't know," she said desperately. It 
wi now she wanted a friend's help. VVhat did pnde 
or anything matter? Waldo had said if she ever 
needed a friend she was to call upon him ; she was 
desperate in her need. The baby started in her arms, 

cried, coughed. t:- i t - 1 

"Go to "the nearest telephone othce. Find Loui 
Lvssons' number ; he Uves somewhere in the Albany. 
Tell him baby is ill, and I want the name and address 
of that doctor he sent to me once. He must come 
quickly \ . ." her voice broke. 

That it was the doctor, and not Lord Lyssons. who v%a. 
needed quickly, cookie might have misunderstood. She 
wi very fat and had exhausted her intelligence on the 
hot water and mustard. She got her message through 
not to Lord Lyssons, who at five in the morning was not 
vet awake, but to his sleepy valet, who dehvered it niuti- 
lated, but fairiy intelligible, an hour or two later How 
exhaustively Waldo cursed that considerate valet goes 
without saying. He dressed in record time, and was 
Sdering at Tom Shorter's door before that eminent 

nhvsician was out of bed. , ,. . j 

Meanwhile, back at home, cookie had the bhnds up and 
fires going, the house in order, and breakfast on the way^ 
M^uella was able to lay the child down, although 
reluctantly, whilst she dressed. She drank her cotle 

watching, her eyes on the ^ot^^^^ ^.«^^t '' Wt To 
every laboured uneven breath, bringing her heart to a 
standstill, driving the last faint colour from her face. 
SSchad got her message through to that httle doc^)r 
who was a healer, but how long he was in coming-how 
one I Before he came she was agomzed again wth that 
choking cry and cough to which the baby awoke She wa= 
quicker tMs time with her remedies, but could not bu 
see how frail he had so suddenly grown, and shrunken abua 
the temples, his eyes dull. She was holding him in his 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



303 

bath when they came in, but she was very near the end 
of her own powers of endurance. The baby suffered 
struggled, gasped for breath and choked ; she found it 
unbearable to see him suffer. 

The two men came together into the room Dr 
Shorter, without a moment's hesitation, took the child 
froni her. lifting it out of the useless bath, wrapping it 
in the blanket, taking immediate charge. 

" You look after her," he said to Waldo. " Lav her 
on the floor qmckly, she's going to faint." 

He mastered the whole situation ; all they had to do 
was to carry out his instructions, get the things for which 
he asked, constitute themselves his lay helpers. Manuella's 
attack of faintness lasted a very few seconds. The strain 
had suddenly become insupportable, the swaying room 
grew black before her eyes. The floor and the draught 
from the open door, with ths knowledge that the cfild 
was in safe hands, revived her. She would have held on 
if the little doctor had not taken the baby from her arms 
She said so, and afterwards Dr. Shorter told her it was 
probably true. In quite a few minutes the faintness had 
gone ; she was up, and the readiest of his helpers It 
W2^ extraordinary how the httle man brought calm with 
luni, and conhdence ... if not confidence, at least 
nope. 

Waldo went backwards and forwards to the chemist • 
the weakness had to be fought as well as the croup. All 
lorn Shorter s energies were in the fight now. for it came 
o a fight, a fight to the finish. He was not going toTet 
he chUd go. but it needed all he knew, every feint and 

havf si^cil'd."^" '"^ •• P^^^^^y - °t^- -- would 

backl'!°H/'''^^.*'**'^'T'^ ^^ ^°"^^^s t« ^^^ Chemist. 
know^H ^^ 1^^^^^ to the telephone, for they mus 
from hT« "?f^^y S^^^t what it was detained the cor^ultant 
rZ ilf r'^^^-r "^' tried to keep ManueUa's courage 

Sh the tr^I f^^ ^'^u ""^^^ ^^^y^ ^ ^ giri to him) 
wth the tragic face, who was watching her dying baby 



(( 



CONCERT PITCH " 



304 

He thought it was dying, although he kept tcUing her 

***f. YoT'"^ you wouldn't Uke a parson? " he asked her, 
abruptly 'when Tom Shorter gave the &st injecUon of 
strychnine, the oxygen beginning to fail of effect. 

For the moment she faUed to grasp his mearung. looking 
at him with those sombre, unseeing eyes He went on 
hurrierilv ' " I don't know how you feel about it, it can t 
dHny harm. He ... he hasn't been christened, you 

know ..." , , ^ 

She tried to collect her thoughts. ^^ „ ^ . .^ 

" I think I had better fetch one. Shall I ? It can t 

^°If^she^S^nd the baby's sufferings insupportable he 
was fetUng hers no less acutely. He did not know vv-hat 
to say. and none of the hesitant words that came to lum 
were the words he wanted. 

He wanted to ask Tom Shorter whether it woiJd not 
be as weU to have the baby christened at once, but he 
could not speak to him without Manuella heanng. He 
lowered his voice as much as possible. 

Dr Shorter had no opinion of :oligious ceremomes, and 
shared the average scientist's neglect of observances, but 
his reply was quite unhesitating : 
" You will have to hurry." . ^ ,u^ 

The paroxysms of coughing were under control, he 
forehead sweating; the child retained tb^ mjecte 
nourishment. But it was blue about the Ups, the ex- 
^SiS^ were cold; no one but Tom Shorter would 
have held on to his work. 

Zvd Lyssons was quicker and more succ^ful with a 
clerSman than cook had been with a doctor The 
atSc curate he captured was eager for his job. and 
hardly waited to hear it explained. u u o iiffi 

" Christen a dying baby ? Certainly Half a ]^ 
fan vou wait untU I change my clothes? He haa 
SenCmng a local divisioli of the Boy Scouts when 
Waldo encountered him. and v-s hurrying home. 
" I'm afraid there's no time t ^ lost. 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



305 

The athletic curate was as reverent in his flannels as he 
wotdd have been in black. The brief ceremony lost 
nothing in his reading. It was not a new scene for him- 
the d>ang child the half-unconscious mother, even the 
httle doctor, who said, under his breath : " Cut it as 
f*"""^.XS'' c\"' and don't stand where I can't watch 
turn When he had baptized the baby he said to 
Waldo : 

•' May I say the prayers for the dying ? " Before he 
had been answered he was down on his knees Then 
Waldo moved over and stood by Manuella. " It can't 
do any harm," he said again, apologetically 

It was strange to see him kneeling too. presently, side 
by side wi h the young clergyman. She had no stub- 
bornness of unfaith to conquer, only indifference, and 
after a moment's hesitation she knelt with them 

There was silence in the disordered nursery-no sound 
now but the fervent prayer. Dr. Shorter thought, per- 
haps a httle contemptuously, that it might have been a 
scene out of a novel by Hall Caine. During the prayer he 
sterilized the tube and prepared another injection He 
never doubted it was that last injection, and not the 
prayer, that brought the pulse back and set the heart 
beating again. The young clergyman said a word of 
sympathy to Manuella. who seemed as if she had not 

^nf '-^M ^^°"' ^°"°^"^ ^"^ °"t «* the room, return- 
mg quickly. »-«.uiu 

" Seen him off the premises ? Now just keep absolutelv 
quiet for five minutes if you can." But the five^nuS 
were not up and Manuella had not stirred, when h^ sa ? 
in a voice of tiiumph : " Come over here " "^" ""^ '*'^' 

It was to Manuella the doctor spoke, and she obeyed 
him qmckly. "Put your finger there, on his S 

i^ .1, ° T *^"^ °^ *^** ^ H« h^ ^ome backus 
P^ through now. Another minute and he'll open his 
SVk \rf^ Heavens ! what's the woman cryingfor ? " 
know S".^"^ *^'"' ^""^ "«* ""*" afterwards did she 
'SZ'l^ ;:^^- ^^^' ^-' -^ t^^at it was on his 



20 



3o6 



" CONCERT PITCH '* 




\h 



S; i 



Tom Shorter was so proud of what he had achieved that 
he wanted an audience. That was his fault, if he had a 
fault. After he had fought death at close quarters such 
close quarters as this had been, and won his bat le. 
he was apt to look round the arena for applause. Waldo 
would have applauded, but he hac his arms about 

^*"oh^ my sweet, don't cry. I'm holding you ; it is all 
right, the Uttle chap is going to stay with us He hardly 
kSew whether he said the words or thought them. 
'• Thank God you sent for me I How can I let you go 
aeain ? " That, at least, he did not say, although he held 
her against his breast, laid his face on her hair. Tlu- 
tension was but for a moment ; she di-^ngaged herselt 
quickl^r and dried her eyes. What had come to ihem 
had always been there. . 

There was still much to be done. Dr. Shorter insisted 
uoon a trained nurse being sent for at once, one of his 
oVm choosing ; he paid not the sUghtest attention to 
Manuella's protest that she was quite able to nurse the 
child herself with Mary's help and cook's. 

" There is some bronchitis, the distance between the 
bronchial tubes and the lungs isn't worth speaking about 
We might have pneumonia to fight. He has got to \x 
watched every hour, and it needs a trained eye.' 

As he talked, he was putting up his case of drugs clear- 
ing up matters generally, giving instructions. When he 
^ saying good-bye to Manuella, almost casually, he 
asked as the dispensary doctor had done : 

•• Where is his father ? If I were you I should send for 
him. There must be a certain amount of anxiety for the 
next few days. Where is he ? " , . ,^ u 

Perhaps the moment when she cried on WaldoJ shoulder 
had not^caped him, although ^e was occupied >^th the 
baby What was Lord Lyssons doing here ? Dr. bhorter 
was a trained observer with an exceUent_memory. ^ne 
flushed when he repeated : 
" Send for your husband," and started to answer, but 

shut her lips. 



" CONCERT PITCH " 30- 

wlw "^^?* """"^ ^between them ? " Dr. Shorter asked 
NValdo as they went downstairs -^"wier asjced 

diffefentit"^ BuV L ''"'^ "/'' ' ^^^ ^^^^^ »"«>^«d in- 
uitterently. But, of course, he was not indifferent 

^J" tT:'1^^^' ^^'^ *^ '^' """^O' whenThe doctor 
moLn?' ^"t^^ ZT 'i^P'"S' ^"'l MaJuella w^ for the 
moment seated idly by his cot. looking forlorn He 
beckoned her out of the room *"norn. He 

sat'isfieV' Nu^^'u' u^ P*"'^"*' ^h^^^' '« "»ore *han 
satisfied. Nurse will call out to you if he wakes ir^l 

breakfast on your account, you know " ^ 

He put a gentle, famihar arm throuch hers maH» h-,„ 
dowi^tairs with him and sit in the^Si^n^'.^^" ^X 
he ate. making her eat with him. AftewSd^ inlhl 
sitting.room he forgot to be whimsical Siritked ^ 
young, so unhappy ; it was so long since hr^nSd hS 
m his arms, and they ached for hi. He did not knnl 
how It was he found himself on the sofa, holdij^ h^ 

Wm cwTo'hhS mt ^'" '" *'°""^' ^^ ^°t ioi 

" It has been hard ? " 

" I thought you were not sorry. . . " 

TiS ?^^n », ^ *^^*/ ^P^ ^*"»e together, and clune 
and again she was ashamed, hiding her fice. ^ ' ' * 

I only want to be comforted." 
Her voice was stifled. 

I only want to cherish you." 
aUence again. 

;; Why (^dn't you comfort me yesterday ? • 

What was he saying? He only knew that his arms held 

30* 



i-.: 



m 



308 " CONCERT PITCH »» 

V wi ««- .fin throbbed from meeting hew, her head 
^ „^lU?*.4'Sdr»d hi! .«e among her hair, .gains. 

her soft check. , „ 

" Did I disappoint you yesterday ? 

•• I was very ^^^fW" . , p rtear heart. 

•• Because I scolded you— did I scoia you ^ 
I was only trying to take care of you. 

:: fZXo 'Xt^ I -nted to take care of youj 
SincTl met you on the boat, your hair flymg m the wind. 
your eyes glowing . . .' ,, 

•• I mean about Harston. „ 

•• What about Harston ? He didn t exist. 

" You' know he has left me." 

Z"^ f:,'^tXr startled .ace, ga«d a. 

**^But**^dn't you know it y^terday ? " 
•• It isn't true, it isn't possible ? 

"That is why . . ." , j ^ shoulder 

She would have sought the sneiter 01 u« 

Mr. Graham to tell me. I thought you knew. 
" You thought I knew ? 
»X°wW 'them had forgotten what he said, they 

even cross-questiomng her. ^ 

" But if this is true • • •. f , . ... qi,. belonged 
He could not hdp tds X"S oTllv fandts'^ti^ 

to him by «^%"6h ^*hi sf hed her to him again. 

ness for her. He told **®5^=?; ," , ..v v^e saw the white 

looked deep into her eyes, behind whicn ne saw 

soul shining. „ 

*• If this is true. . . « 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



309 

K.^*\ *H°' *^ *! °T' ***^^ *^ the bottom of his 
heart lay ^s rhiva^ry. he left off thinking of himself and 
began to thinit only of her. What was best ? He saw 
quickly, and unhappily he saw clearly. They might 
wade kiieeKieep in mud. he and she. aid all of th?m 
ajid m the end find themselves swimming in cleaner water 
He was her guardian as weU as her tover. Again he put 
her away from him. ^ ^ 

" Let me think." 

They were the same words Peter Graham had used. 
No, let us leave off thinking." 

perforce!"" ^ "*" ^"^ *^** ^ """ "^^^^ **~"^ ^' 
" It has made me feel free." 
"..^^ freedom for you means my tyranny." 

*ir . ?»^** *° *'"^** *"* ^*^^ * c*»i^d- I have grown so 
tired of being treated like a woman. Take care of me a 
iitUe. I am lonely without you. . . ." 

'' Dear heart, you will always be a child." 
I wasn't a child when . . . when 

•• TeU me." ' ' * 

"When you kissed me . . . that evening. It seems 
centun^^ago. when y.. said you . . ."^you' ^^ 

mv^t\^^^^\^ Do you want to hear ? Never in 

you tL 2ht ^"^T^ 1? ^""^^ or girl as I kissed 
you that mght. as I kiss you now. You believe 

" I want to believe it." 

" It all went wrong between us. Fool that I was I " 
me nni'l '\^°"^^"6 "ght now. Harston never cared for 
me, o^^y for his music. Nor I for him. Now that he hS 

Again he loosened his arras about her. 
loved L^'iL"'*"^ TT ^^ ^°^^' ^^ i" ^ o^ them he 

^ih^f u u ""^ """^ ^ underetood her. If it were 
true that her husband had left her. a way out might^ 



r\\ 



fi ' 



<< 



COi^CERT PITCH 



»> 



1 t 




310 

found, a muddy way for slender feet, and one he could 

not easily see her treading. 

And her story had left his mind unconvinced. 

" You have not had a word from him i^ 

" Only the message Mr. Graham brought me. 

" That he would come back ... ^, u x 

She was hurt by his change of tone, almost more than hurt. 

He hardly 4cnew how to go pn. 

" You hadn't had a row ? " 

HfsllieXtiowed down, his mind seemed now to be 
kefpfng^tter pace with it. and took a strengthened leap 

*'"fcan'V^tve he has left you. not like this, not in 

%V:Toum'L\"m1ow^ working of his mind she 
w^ wounded. sUenced. thrown back upon herself, her 

^"" Wl"?tlf ntw opera ready^? Didn't he say they 
were to meet some one about it ? ' ^ • <- „^o 

^' He Sid they were going to meet Stollmont m Genoa. 
But. of course, that was only an excuse. 

" Tf if he had not gone with her. not in the way 

you thinlc.but only about his opera ? You say that young 
illow Tommy Traddles, when he came for his thugs, 
^Tli wrb^siness." He was speaking slowly, thinking 
and speaking at the same time. „ 

" Gerald would say anything Harston told h«"- 
She felt that he was trying to make e> cuses for H^i.ton 
ima^ned that, because he was no longer kissing her. his 
s^athy had ebbed; and she was. as always, quickly 

'Taldo. so full of his love and care for her. never do^^^^^ 
that she understood. He said he had to think a^a 
could do so better alone. She had had a disturbed n'gh^ 
looked pale and worn, she had better go upstairs and e 
d ot^^Sd deny herself to visitors. He -"t away qu^e 
soon ; not kissing her again, nor even touching her hand 
The next day and the next visitors came to that Uttie 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



3" 



house m Circus Road, everyone came but Lord Lyssons 
There caine Peter Graham. fuU of concern at the baby's 
lUnesF cy.; -aoidinanly tactful, and staying less than five 
mmu*<is ; Oscar De Voeux with his wife, full of chagrin. 
expla:at;on and runosity; Lulu Marston. warm-hearted 
quite . :,.r^di!ous. full of Sympathy and quotations from 
Russell. 

" Russell says I am not to let you stay alone here, 
thinking aU sorts of absurd things. He is quite sure it 
IS aU a mistake. And Russell is never wrong. He says 
you are to come to us on a long visit. Now, just go and 
put your thmgs on. I've got the motor. You'll feel 
as^ different as possible when you are up at Gloucester 

Lulu had on the biggest hat Manuella had ever seen, 
with more ospreys. a veU that was neither on nor off, 
a dress of the fashion of the year after next, all the scents 
of the Levant. But her heart was even richer than her 
clothes. She caught the girl in her arms, kissed her 
cheeks, said not one word that could hurt her, but found 
all the right ones. If it had been Harston who was 
responsible for all Manuella's trouble, she might have gone 
\vith Lulu, been warmed by a rare friendship, made whole 
in the fine atmosphere she created. But it was not 
Harston and Alma Orilia. it was of Waldo and his imagin 
ary defection, that her heart was full. 

For. after that time when he had held her in his arms, 
and said he would cherish her always, told her he had 
never kissed anyone else and never would. Waldo stayed 
avvay. ihat is to say, he came when other people were 

^Pm'",!^fl?^ '"' t""^ T[^"* ^"^^y ^^^'"' saying only incon- 
sequent things : he talked of going abroad ai soori as Dr. 

tndhlJ'^'Tu''^^ ^^^y °"* ^^ ^^"g«^' ignored aU that 
had happened between them. 

her^hl°J *^^ end. of the week, like a flower after rain. 

he m.f v^ upraised proud on the stalk of her neck, and 

W h.cli f ^' 'i ^'' ^^'^ ^""^ "ever warmed her Ups nor 

nSded ro^^^^"^ ^" ^t ^^°"^^^^' ^ if she had never 
needed comfortmg. nor had comfort from him. 



¥^ 



312 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



She went about her household duties. The hospital 
nurse wanted a great deal of attention ; there were long 
hours when she went out walking, recreated or slept, 
all according to the regulations of the Institute, most 
religiously kept. Then Manuella took her place in the 
nursery. 

When Waldo would have spoken to her, and given her 
the result of his deep thinking, she was ensconced behind 
her defences, inaccessible. The day Dr. Shorter said 
he would come no more, because baby was no longer 
convalescent but well, was the day Waldo started for 
Rome. He knew he must confront Harston, if necessary 
Alma brilia. This was not a case for lawyers, not yet, 
it needed delicate handling, clear explanation ; they must 
know where they all stood. 



11 



liii 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

HE did not dream she would resent his going, never 
. guessing his destination. He had made up J^ 
mmd slowly, never thmking hers was not marching 
mth It. The telegram he sent her only said : " Goinf 
abroad ; destination uncertain." ^ 

mf ! ^^? ?ieanwhiie been making inquiries, using ail the 
S, n^ .^"^r"^' ^".'^'^S not Harstin and X^! 

No .^''"^- ^r^l ^^? Naples? Rome? 

^d wouid?; T'h^^! '^' impresario had left America, 
and would be found at one or the other city When 

t'u'^J' ?^ P^P"^ '^^"^ Stolhnont's hrst p;oduction 

rM u , *^*^ ^^^^ ^"^a would create the title 
r61e. he knew his quest was ended. ^"^ 

To Manuella. the telegram was hke a blow in the face 
And she wanted to strike back. That is on^ expW 
t on of what followed. The other is that th! h!?^ 

Dri^^^'Z^n'^^^y' -^"-' i^t^L^one'S 
yr. bhorter paid his last visit. *^ 

to keen S'^i' 'lJ^^ "^"^^^ '^^' ^ ^^^ ^^« to do is 
he woL^,,!?K«^'^^^ ^^ ^ter in front of us; 
ne woi^d really be safer m a warmer chmate. " 

alwavs outrt^"^ T' '"^^ ^°^ ^^^^i^^^ ^^ ^^^r, 'he was 
hefe was SSLI^ ^ overworked. And aU he could d^ 

" Get him out of London if possible." he said as he 

313 




^fllf ^'^ 



I .- f I 



r '■ 



314 



<< 



CONCERT PITCH " 



shook hands with her, noting that she looked wan and 
unhappy, thinking the prescription would do for both 
of them, 

Peter Graham, coming in opportunel}', heard that Dr. 
Shorter advised a warmer climate. To urge the Riviera 
scheme again upon her was therefore clearly his duty. 
She became aware that, if Waldo was unreliable, and 
not there for her to lean upon, Mr. Graham's kindness 
towards her had not flagged. 

Dr. Shorter was scarcely out of the house, certainly not 
back in Harley Street, before it was decided that the 
advice he had given should be taken. He had said nothing 
about the Riviera, nor a long journey ab/oad ; but Peter 
Graham, and under his guidance, Manuella, took it for 
granted. " Out of London," could onh be "out of 
England " ; "a warmer climate " implied the South. 
The villa was ready. 

Some misgiving Manuella may have felt about the 
long journey, for she went up to discuss it with the hospital 
nurse. At Peter Graham's suggestion she sent the nurse 
down to him, that he might give her details. When she 
returned to the nursery the nurse said she had no 
doubt, no doubt at all, that it would be to the child's 
advantage. 

" It isn't, of course, as if you were taking him alone, 
or with an inexperienced person. I shall wrap him up 
well for the journey, keep flannel or wool over his face, and 
shelter him from draughts." 

The hospital nurse liked the idea of getting away from 
London in November, with the prospect of a long engage- 
ment ; she had never been on the Riviera. She and Peter 
played, perhaps unconsciously, perhaps not, into each 
other's hands. All was to be hurry ; baby must be " got 
away before the fogs came ; " " there was no reason for 
delay." 

Manuella's hurt feeUngs, characteristic impulsiveness, 
and passionate anxiety for the child, we^e all worked 
upon. Peter Graham made all the arrangements, or 
helped with them. He was indefatigable in helping, 



it 



CONCERT PITCH 



5) 



accentuating her fears, scenting fog like a hourd with a 

Once Manuella made up her mind that, if Waldo or 

finTwff "* •*°"'^ ^^"^ ^^'^'-^^y they should not 
t^t n^'^ r!J'"^ ^°' *^""^' '^^ ^'^^ all anxiety to be 
gone. But each day. secretly, owning it not even to her- 
self, she watched the post for a letter. And each day 
when no letter came from Waldo, she feli his neglect 
more acutely. Her hands trembled with indiSfon 
when she thought of the words he had said to hS^. and 
h,i™.H "^^SJ^^l^^^^f of her own admissions her cheeks 

waT^' .Z^r^^w ''"' r^^i ^" ^'' *^^^^*' ^«d shame 
was as a livmg thmg when she thought how she had 

thrown herself into his arms, asked him fo^ Smfort 

a most offered herself to him. Now she had to show 

him she could think and act for herself. She could nol 

clSVwnd""'' "°* "^^ ""*" ^^^^ '''''^' ^-v-g no 
a hfifn" Graham s vUla presented itself to her as a refuge 

hid?" F^r P.tp7r? '"''"^^"^ ^"^'"^' «"^y ^^*ing to 
unaware of it, that was because h s vanity stood lik«» a 

auS tefwlt*r" ''™^.'"-'' "'' '"t'Cct which 
at Its best was but as a musician's intelligence oi crotchet 

He wS j^kf.""* * "<""^' «f8». he never would. 
S h^ his H^ ""r "° P"'«*ations, no scene of passion 
m her husband s house, in these inappropriate surrount 

a wealth onnl'lT' •'^^™.^ ^'^ m^o^.Vnd time and 

the":u™undLT Ae wa^' nolo? Uh hi ""^ ^^ 
in love aU that tva? J^^ • ° ^""t^' *^"t ^ S-o^me^ ^ 

antici^itS the en? Twr'^''"^'/" ^^' ^"^^^ P^^^*« 
better th^ hi h« J ^ "^^^ "°* ^ '"^" "^^"g knew 
To Sm iSnuen.^, "" ^"^'"'^"^^ ^ ^^'^man's ^virtue, 
that it wf a^-i^^ "^k"" ^'^ t^^ "^timate charm, so 
had no do^bts^'^^^ "^^'"^ *^ ^^' *° ^™ ^n^^' ^nd he 



3i6 



« CONCERT PITCHj" 




li: 



I I 

If ' 



! f 




There was not one of Manuella's beauties that escaped 
him He realized how well she was formed, the graceful 
line* from hip to ankle, the small bust and slender arms, 
the dainty, delicate ears, the ivory skin with its warm 
underflush, easily provoked. He knew much more about 
her extemaUy than Waldo did, although Waldo .had been 
her fiance. But he knew less perhaps about her strength, 
or her courage, or her loyalty. , .u u 

Cook and the baby's nurse were dismissed, the^house 
dismantled and closed, the key left with the agent, and 
no address given. ManueUa and the baby, with the 
hospital nurse, were on the way to Paris before Waldo 
had been gone a week on his quest. 

Peter Graham sent his motor car to take them to 
Folkestone. The sea was cahn, and ahready at BoiUogne 
it seemed as if she had left half her troubles behind her. 
TraveUing on the Continent was hke renewmg her youth. 
So much of it had been passed abroad, she had been happy 
in continental schools, far happier than under Loetitias 
surveillance. There came to her again that sense ot 
escape she had always had when out of reach of her step- 
mother's cold and disapproving eyes. Then she had only 
been unhappy m leaving Bertie behind; Bertie, whom 
she had always mothered. To-day she cuddled her baby 
in her arms, and there was no feeUng that she had le t 
behind her a feUow-prisoner in bondage. Every trouble 
was taken off her hands by the admirable courier Feter 
Graham's forethought had provided. They were not 
travelling by the train de luxe, so she had not the dis- 
comforts of that overrated method to overcome. Feter 
told her that the man would pay for everything, ana 
give her an account at the end of the journey. She was 
only practical in strata, so to speak, and was quite 
content with the arrangement. Having stipulated lor 
economy, she rested content that it was bemg considered. 
When she found herself in one of the garden suit^ 
at the " Ritz" she had no thought of extravagance to 
mar her enjoyment of its luxurious quiet. When, tne 
next day, she was ensconced in a reserved compartmeni 



" CONCERT PITCH 



»> 



* 



317 

in the C6te d'Azur. she looked upon it as a happy 
coincidence that in a compartment for six people only 
two should be travelling. At every stoppage tea or fruit 
was brought to her ; she was advised to leave the carri^e 
and take a turn on the platform, or told to retain her seat 
as the ca...e might be. The courier was an excellent 
specimen of his class, and had been well-instructed The 
nuree was equally competent, and the baby slept a great 
part of the day. ^ ^ ° ^ 

At Mentone they found a swift car waiting for them • 
there was no delay for luggage to be cleared. All possible 
fatigue of travelling had been spared her 

They arrived at Mentone too i.ate to see anything of 
the viUa. but a simple supper was served to them by a 
want^but'^S^d'^^ *° understand how little Manuella 

rJJf^T"^'" "°°"^^r' ^^'^^' ^"^' ^0^ a French bed- 
room, luxurious. There were French windows and a 
balcony, she could see that, and hear the sofTmurmur 

IVon'thetS ''-' '^^ "'^'^PP^^^^ --<^ *° «-[ 

She woke up after eight hours' dreamless sleep to find 

the sun streaming into her room. From the openjdousies 

V^^^nZ.f'^^l'^l ^^"^ °^ *^^ Mediterranean 
she stel^H In . °1^^K ? ^^' ^"■^"'^■''' ^^^ hair floating. 
oranteZlT k*^^ ^^^'^y- ^^y°"^ ^^e lemon and 
cTea/grlen ^^ "^ ''^^'' ^^""^ '^^' ^"^ ^^^^^« ^^ 

it l^iToveXr *^? ^'*''- ^" *^^ S^^d^"' although 
ln7^ J>'ovember. yellow roses grew amid the oalm.- 
and oleanders ; mimosa scented the air. and in the^eTn 

pnk fnd n r-'"^^"S ^"^^ ^""^^^^^ «^ bud shS 
wougnt possible forty^ight hours earlier. " 




« CONCERT PITCH " 



PI 



f ruTacrrrL'rVhr^oSf h^an, ^i .bought U was 

real- » .ju Ky an English noble- 

The villa had a lusto^^ ^d wonderful woman and 

man, shared "''h a ^e ^ ^^ 

^S.rbS^'-e'S' to be known as the ViU. 
^^^rShan, bought the '-hold ior a s„„g w^n the 
EngUsh nobleman married and the French 

tou^d asphyxiated w^^^f^^^^'mo^^" t"- were 
architecture and UtmtM ace ^eluding three 

been a studio ^ut w^ easUya^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^ ^ ^^^^ 

Peter Graham kept two servajus > j^j^ ^^^^^ 

manservant and his >^^*^' ^"Jf^SJ^ ete Se household 

visits, what was "^^^^^ J the s^plicity of ManueUa's 

for his comfort Knowing the s^^Phc^^ ^^^ ^,,^d 

tastes, he thought that, for the ^^^^^^ ^^^ 

be sufficient for her. All his plans we y ^^^^ 

She had spoken of expense, and he meant n 

she was living economic^y^ ^ ^r in the 

For a few days she sat ^^ou^ »" "*. .^^ ^he baby, 

garden, in the continual sunshine P^^V^^g j;^^^^ .^.e blue 

Ling gladly the brown «>f ^.f^^'/t^^^; commencing 

^rSa^i! T^.'^Z'Xr^^'^V^''^^--,^ as yet 

^tatrurshrr:-<^ ^^-^:?s^;;ai^d^TciS 

^ ^ SWi^d nor^^artl^^at ^;eg 



" CONCERT PITCH 



M 



that would prevent her thinking always of Waldo and 
wishing he were with her. 

" / have come south, after aU. I caught a bad cold the day 
you left and my doctor insisted. May I drive over this 
afiernoon? I should so like to see how you are getting 
on, 

"Of course. How can you ask? You wiU find me at 
home at any time." 

When Peter came, she was on the verandah in the 
long, cushioned lounge-chair ; she had not expected him 
so early, and may even have been dozing. The idle 
sunny days conduced to somnolency. She sprang up 
hastily, but he had a swift vision of her sleeping there 
and It mounted to his head a Uttle. He was less calculated 
m his warmth, and his r's were more pronounced. 

-. u ^^°^ ^®" y°" ^"^^ looking!" This was true. 

How glad I am to see you here." 

'' Here in my house " was what he meant although he 
did not word it ; but she saw what was in his mind, and 
perhaps for the first time, some slight misgiving touched 
ner. That was why she began to express her thanks 
quickly. 

"I have been weU ever since I came here. So 
nas the boy. It was so kind of you to lend me the 
villa, perhaps I oughtn't to have accepted it. We are 
^0 comfortable, everything seems different. But if we 

Ln' w!rf "'^ S"" ^^'^ ^ ^^y ^^°"^^ yo" ^^ve to be at 
tnti •/ ,. , question rushed out as soon as it pre- 
sented Itself to her. 

ha.^iv^ w^^i, ""^ difficulty in reassuring her. He said 

in Znf^^r ^^ M^'^^l "^^ ***^ ^^^ ^^en ^^ was " alone 
m Monte Carlo." The relative truth of this made him 

** They are used to me at the ' Paris.' " 
tJrLT'^^ °^ ^^ Sood food at the hotel, and the sub- 
lerranean passage to the Casino and the Sporting Club. 




m 



i Vi 



Hi 



320 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



It was unnecessary to tell her that he avoided the one 
and was rarely at the other. The Monte Carlo of news- 
papers and novelists had no attraction for Peter Graham. 
He did not care to gamble, in the foetid air of the over- 
crowded rooms amid the Germans whose guttural accents, 
hideous clothes, and worse manners jarred his sensi- 
bilities. If he wanted to gamble, although gambling was 
not among his foibles, Nice suited him better. 

Until he bought the villa he had sometimes spent a 
month or six weeks at Nice or Cannes. After he bought 
the villa he generally arranged his winter accordingly. 
He had never lived there alone. This winter he wanted 
Manuella to play hostess to him ; he had never wanted 
anything so much in his life. He knew it whilst he .as 
expressing his satisfaction with the H6tel de Paris. .M 
the " Paris " there were German officers with slashed, 
spoi':!'^ faces, women whose profession was written on 
th?ii expensive clothes, illustrated in their flashing 
jewellery, colour-printed in their many-scentednesses and 
easiness of approach. Manuella Migotti, in her white 
dress, here, in this quiet hidden pleasaunce, was infinitely 
more to his taste. He asked her if she would give him 
luncheon and all the afternoon he lingered with her i'- 
that garden by the sea. 

The first day was one of many. He proceeded to his 
objective very slowly ; there seemed no occasion for hurry. 
Her address was unknown and she would have no letters. 
There came no other visitors. No one knew where she 
was hiding from gossip and the ignominy of being a 
deserted wife. He did not go into details even to him- 
self. It was enough that she was here, and so was he 
Always she was grateful to him, glad that he should 
come, greeting him without guile. By subtle indefinite 
hints and innuendoes, by an attitude of solicitous and 
sympathetic wonderment that such a state of affairs 
should come about, he kept before her the remembrance 
that her husband had deserted her, and that she was alone 
in the'world. . 

At first he sat wit' her on the verandah, lounged witn 



'•ml! 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



321 

htj in the garden. But. before many days had cone bv 
he ventured to suggest that, since she was here ft w.. .' 
PJty^she should not see some of the beau":; ' of'"h: 

^hl If"" ^A^2 ^^PPy "^^^^'^ ^ *^"' I ^of^'t want to Ro out " 

^w from the Hdtel de Pans to the viUa and back 

"J "»"' y™ to go up La Turbie. If you would r-.fl,., 
go by yourself, I shall be quite satisfiei to Remain her. 

vfew Td^Xw^f.^li '^" -"' ""at you tS'of'S: 
View 1 aon t want to be in your wav but r*^aiN, t ♦k- T 

y™ should go out somettaesU sef wha"t [h:^^^ St 

^^'JZ t^Z^ halt.Iy^t'.he-tS.t^"" 

to sTartle 0^/1 "■'"•™8'"y /nioyable. He said m ' '„g 
ic starUe or alarm her, and when he sur»e«t«l ih. f 

ThenheiV'^*?'"' ^' Beaulieu':h:"S:^^d'a'o';S^' 
S™ S""!^ "V^ "^'""y' '"""ed down on the 

««ected"„t-th"et'^s't:dTo-wC^'^ ""^ " "- 

Cap Marlin id to nL 1 *°^'*^''- ^^^^ ^^^t to 

the CoSe Road\''rThe^L7ertr/f^^^ " '^"^""' "P 
"1 the Casino once i^ihT^.T - i to afternoon concerts 

To Manuel!;. fK ^"^^""""^ *° ^^^ ope^a. 

shehadSefro^^^^^^^^ ^"?. ^, "^^'^^ ^°"^^ "^ which 
no word from WaL ^K^'^l-^i'' ^'T ^^' ^'^^ ^ bearing 
that he wT^ut' ^^^ "^'i "°* ^"«w where he was! 
occurred The? h! h^ ""J'^ I'T^'^ ^^ ^^^'^W neve; 
gone awa/^'tiout : word '' ^'' *° "^*^' ^^ ^^^^ 



az 



3" 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



li 



Presently it became part of Peter's method to tell her 
that the noise of the hotel, the sound of the tr^ncars 
outside, were getting on his nerves, depriving him of 
sleep, to hint that there was room for him as well as her 
at the villa. 

" Nurse would be a sufficient chaperone," he said onco, 
half in jest, " always presuming we were conventional 
people needing a chaperon. I suppose if your husband 
were here he would treat me as if I were Gerald StreatfioUl, 
and keep me to play with him of an evening. ..." 

When he spoke of music now he spoke of himself as 
an artist, not as an amateur. Professional musicians, 
like actors and actresses, have, of course, exceptional 
social latitudes. He, too, it appeared, and he had 
no doubt Manuella agreed with him, despised con- 
vention. 

" Of course, 1 know you are above such things . . ." 

Why should he not stay at the villa ? There arc 
subtleties of method difficult to combat, and Peter Graham 
was master of them all. He said he understood women, 
and, indeed, there were many of whom it was true. 
This one was impulsive, emotional, not without tempera- 
ment, but ignorant, innocent beyond anything he had 
met. He learnt all that, although he had only suspected 
it before he brought her here. He knew now that he 
must find her in the mood, wait and watch. 

He was walking so deUcately, by such war>' imper- 
ceptible steps, it was natural she should not see where he 
was leading her. It was not within her understanding 
or knowledge of the world to perceive that she was being 
" compromised," intentionally compromised. She was 
bitterly hurt by Waldo's absence, Waldo's silence; 
resentful, too, of her husband's desertion. She was of a 
generous nature, yet could not but remember how much 
she had given, and for how Uttle it had counted. Both ot 
them had left her, Waldo and Harston. that much wa> 
sure. She was sore and wounded, unreasonable, perhaps, 
still very young. 

" Let me tell my man he may move my things over. 



" CONCERT PITCH 



>> 



3*3 



«i* 



CHAPTER XXIX 

T ORD LYSS6NS meanwhUe was P^-S^^^T'L^] 

L an indifferent ^^^^'^'^^rt l^oii.ior. He 
what he »»8W, an eve^ JO ^ ^^^ 

journeyed '""Genoa to ^^^ information He 

to Milan, on the strengtn oi ui jj^^^ 

was ten days away '"■" If "^"^ttf^d Wma Orilia, b„t 
where, it seemed, not only M got" an ^^ 

StoUmont i^'^^i .^f^^^ZZl^ stotoont ha? secured 

-V^» '^n^f.TS^bersee^iS 
rionsly famished f ""'J^nX^U; certainly they 
farther in his quest for H^*";! . tlg^tre there was no 
were not together. »»» !^ .*^;,fXess ; the theatre 
^^tSJ'"v^rSltSn^S-t of the lorthc„».n. 

3S-^-C.K».f.rt.rde.: 

•• Obviously » mistake. Not together." 

H. sent tb. tdegr^n to Circus Road, but Manu* 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



325 

never rweiyed it. She had left for Peter Graham's villa 
on the Riviera before it arrived ^ranam s villa 

Migotti was in Rome and at the Hdtel Marini but it 
seemed he was never at home. Anyway. Waldo was 
engaged nearly a week in securiiig an intei^iew a^d he 
did not succeed even then xvithout great difficulty. 
B„f T .r' \ ""^"^ yesterday, and the day before. 

I I'oc'cupSi.^"' ^""P"'' ^^^"^ "^^-"^ -^^ -ght 

L^^^IT' P^."te incurious as to the object of Lord 
Lyssops caU. obviously impatient of interruption. 

My hands are so fuU. There is nothing like sufficient 

mmp'led ^''"^"" *^^ ^^^^ ^^^ excessively 

clJs^hofT'^H **1^ bare 5a/on i'a«.„/, of the small third- 
^Pt hiS" ''' ^^"^ ^° ^^ ^^'^^ »^-' ^«^<^^ 
h J ^1^ "''* ^""^ P^P^® ^* *"• But they told me you 

SlS^ Jor me. . •''^' ^"* " "^'^*^' Madame'^OriUa is 

wltt* wh.?^LTf ^' °"* ' ^" ^^^* embarrassed, and 
iS7words. "* "^""^ *° "^y ^^^ impossible to put 

" I come from London." 
From London ? " 

,^ bhe IS weU ? ManueUa is well ? " 
Quite. But the chUd has been very iU " 
scene '"'' ''^'^^ *^ *«^ ^' ^Id hair.' weep, make a 

•' No" ^^No'^?? l^ *^" "1^ *h** '"y son is dead ! " 
" But' vou L^^ . "^^^ ^ complete recovery." 

that?" He w^'tak"^ ^T "" ^' ^^^ *° *«" ^^ 
" V..* taken aback, puzzled 

««u;V^^';-„^° P"* l^s glass back. .No, 
y. narston became more imoati^nf 



'N 



f- ' 



326 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



lir 



1 !' 



" The child, for the moment, is well . . . for the 
moment. But the attack may recur The doctor said 
Syour wife : ' You had better send for your husband. 
So I came." this strange ambassador fimshed lamely. 

"I have had no letter, nor telegram." Harston said 
shortly. Now there was a gleam of understandmg or 
doubt; but there was still the attitude of impatience. 

"I was coming this way." Waldo contmued. as if 
from London to Rome were less thaii a step. 

His eyes were quite steady, but the other's were flicker- 
ing and uncertain. In an altered tone Harston said now : 

" Did she send me any other message ? 

" No. not exactly a message." They began to under- 
stand each other. " You see she did not know I was 
coming. Would you care to hear what she said to the 

doctor ? " ^ J X :> M 

" What did she say to the doctor i 

" She said, in effect : ' My husband has gone away 
with Madame Alma OriHa. and has not left me his 

Harston's face grew very pale, and the light in his 
eyS went out suddenly, as if it had been turned off at 
the main. 

" She said that ? " 

" In effect." 

"ItisaUe!" „ 

" I thought it might be a he. 

::jrL;;°Ii'Sbfio secret. Madame (Mlia's broth. 
and sister-m-law. and many of your friends, have been 
to Circus Road to sympathize with her 

" It is a Ue." he said again. And then suddenly be 

was irresolute. ^^ ... „ i^. 

" Of course I left London with Ahna pnha. ne 
shouted " What of that ? What of that ? 

° mt is L question." repeated Lord Lyssons easilj 
He ^w the^aSge in the m^n's face. " Do you njjn 
if I Ught a cigarette? It is aUowed here? Yes. tuat 
is the question," 



" CONCERT PITCH " 327 

But Waldo was prepared for that inquiry 
"I am representing your wife's brother, who. with her 
father and mother, is m South Africa." He spoke quite 

h^ h ^ '* ^^'^ "^^"""^ ^^^^ ^^ should represent 
If Harston Migotti's conscience had been clear he might 

have answered differently; as it was he said angrUv • 
We came to meet Stolhnont. Ahna will sine' the 

title rdle in // Traditore." ^ ^^^ 

The door was flung open, and Alma Orilia superblv 

u-^nTh^cotq^^^- ^"^ ^-^^-^^ '-'^ ^^ 

haifL^w'^".^^'*'''^ *'" "'^"*''' *^'"*y "^^"t^^' 

She stopped short on seeing he was not alone. 
This IS Lord Lyssons. . . ." 

yjvt^ArJ^^^I * f^f"" acknowledgment of the introduction. 
WaJdo said politely that he was sorry he was the cause 

i whethr^M^^n '^P* ,T*^^- ^ ^- interest3"t': 

:S?aftheKofrti.r^ ''' P---^ '"^-^ 

He has come from England, from my wife " 

Sr^e^lcT!' ^"^^™-*' -th an eJrt.'L 

hard]?"hirT- ^*°""^°"t i^ co"^ing at three. We shall 
hardly have tune 10 get through lunch." She ignored 

^Your wi^l; ^'V^' ^^^^^^' ^d retumedTk 
Your wife has. perhaps, sent for you to return She 

mi'dr?''"shi ?'f J"^*%*^^ '''' ^' QueeTcart^s! 
Twer^d grave"; :'"'"" '' "^''^ ^^^^^^ ^^^ W^<^o 
^^^'^I beUeve Madame Migotti is most grateful to you for 

Sh^wS^i"^ *^" '"'" H^^ton mterposed. 

duct^n?'^ ^° ^^'^^ ^^" ^1 ^b^don the pro- 




328 



« CONCERT PITCH 



>» 



" It could go on without me ? " 

" Or me ? " 

" You don't mean it ! " 

She shrugged her shoulders, but there was battle iii her 
eyes. 

" My friend, if you go, if you go . . ." she made a 
dramatic gesture with her hands, "it is finished. It is 
I who have persuaded Stollmont ; he does not believe at 
all in your opera, nobody here believes in it. Go back 
to your wife, or to nurse your baby, or what you 
like. But if you go, the opera goes ; I shall not stay ; 
your opportunity goes ..." She went toward the 
door. 

" You see . . .'' Harston said. " You see ... I have 

no choice." 

But what Lord Lyssons saw was different. She showed 
iiim by her rage that she was not sure of Migotti's 
allegiance, that she doubted her hold on him. 

He followed them leisurely, and was in time to note 
that she was leaning forward in the carriage, talking 
passionately and quickly, that Migotti still appeared 
irresolute, and as if he were defending himself. 

They passed him again later on, seated side by side. 
Now she had a proprietorial air, and it was as if Harston 
Migotti was a captive in her chariot. 

Waldo had a restless day, a wakeful night. The posi- 
tion was quite clear to him, not what he had hoped to 
find, although he hardly knew for what he had hoped. 
He was sufficiently conversant with the divorce laws of 
England to know that one stepped into them as into a 
morass ; the parties must walk gingerly together if they 
would skirt it. Harston Migotti was not a man in the 
throes of a passion, who would do anything, that he might 
indulge it. He was only a composer who wished his 
music sung perfectly. 

Harston Migotti came to him in the morning, and 
showed himself still irresolute, irresolutely explanatory. 

" I have written to Manuella. She knows how im- 
portant this production is to me. ... I have told her 



" CONCERT PITCH » 



329 

sne must not be iealous Yon unii e» u 

her. you wiU expliin ? •' "^^ '^^ ^^'' y<^" ^ tell 

Wddo asked him what it was he wished explained 
Is It your relations with Madame OriliaT tr!;' • 
me my bnef. teU me what I am to sTy '' " '°' ^""^ 

i5ut Harston found it diflfirnU '«* 1 
appeared he coufd not do withou" Alma ^P^^^^T" ^' 

t.^^ .ere was only ot t^t 1^^1.t-orrh^ 

to teii me that I musfcome back th.t '"''* ^^" *° '"'' 
minute, I must give ud Tr^^ p . * "^'^' "°^ ^^ ^^is 
my music as she^I^ ZgT ""' ''" ^'^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^"g 

Waldo, unhke himself from the effect ni Kic u ^ • . 
forgot It was a genius to whom he ^? f .1- ^^^ '''^^^' 
between a child and a mT not «^!.ii^^^^' ^"'ething 
answered impulsively : ^""^ responsible, and 

She did not send me at all • t ^ _ ... 
own responsibilitv I am ?: ' J .^^ entirely on my 
friend." He stSed fo^i. . 1 ^"''!?' ^^' brother's^ 
"She is alone.'::;f^ows?oril";itS'A^^^ "ght phrase, 
need not remain alone You Ta J !k ^""^ 9"^'^- ^he 
There is another man ^ **"** *"' ^^^^'^ you ? 

H "sU'mStim^ '^""^^' ^^^^ ^-t -otion. But 

don^X^y^rby'trTde' th' ^^^ ^°" ^^^ -»>-^- 
give her back happiness t' I ' "^^* ^^^ ^^«"«i» her. 
only if he can tffi?^ho' !h ^^^ /^'^th flower. But 
her honour. . .- honestly, without hurting her or 

;; You are teUing me this ? " 

.. tr^ "}^^ loves her, not seWshlv 

f™ priS5:tlhe"^'^^* - ^- neglected, 
th^-thi. other woml!??^ SeT^^orgro!? "^^" ^' 




" CONCERT PITCH " 



'i' 






I. I' 



330 

Haiston reprated s*»P''"y = .^ , a.^ hearth ! But 
no'-^rtTnor^'^blM^^^a then with a sudden 

toW me. It is Mr '^'f'f'fL^^^i I^derstand now 
seen them together? I ""'I'f^S,.; it is not true, it is 
qmte vreU why you have come ! But '^ -^J"^ '"„• ^^^^ 
Sot possible. My vn£e lov^ me ^he »°»1^"° j^^ ^^ 

l^': S rd^or tl tJ r to me, I^shaU tei, 

%^5S not bring ^-U t-y^»<.i5 J^tvS 
of Peter Graham ,that he ^ad^P",^^: "*He wrung his 
Uke a l-/«?;,=' ™^?J-H°;i r^^SSie Z incredV, 
ha^ds and ^; >'* ?f ^^Xn^^eve it. Mr. Peter 
S^^wStweU'Ut—washis wife, and they 

would not spoil his opera. ^ ^ ^^ say that 

Waldo had to calm ^""^ P^^^^^^^ ^^e nothing had 

r*'^d'"t^?'er™d Mm'^^ Z^ q^te I long 
happened ; he mereiy """'~^^^^^.. -jta and reassure 

tliSto restore the V""-* ""P^^' foT^t^owed turn 
to. Waldo «5kened^v« tte t^k,^or^^_^ ^^^^^ 

a sterner one. In .""»°f ""Ij ^ad ckuse ot complaint. 
let fall the adm.ss.on ttat she tad^^ o, ^^p. ^^ 

„"-Un'^mytn!tow^"^-5ated^^^^^^^^^ 

tZ:t r ^.rZ^P -& -V. until .y 
opera is produced. ... ^, ^ ^adly to ManueUa. 

"="4''o one else can sing my >nut,»tif be^'uSet i 
she knows that »""«"? f'iJf.^era^Xtbat 
. win make scenes, her voice wdl suner. =ne 



(( 



CONCERT PITCH 



>» 



331 



opera is produced. 



we shall be alone until after the 
Manuella disturbs, distresses her." 

Nevertheless, in the end, but not until further days 
had sped, and Lord Lyssons' irresolution almost rivalled 
Harston's, Alma Orilia herself decided that Manuella 
must be sent for, must come to Rome. For only a week 
before the production Giovanni Orilia telegraphed to his 
wife that he intended to be present I She knew enough 
of Giovanni to realize what that meant. He had heard 
something . . . that he had heard all, and more than all 
was also possible. Only three days ago she had dismissed 
her maid, having quarrelled with her. Alma Oriha knew 
and feared her husband's temper. 

" You had better send for your jealous wife since my 
jealous husband is coming, unexpectedly," she said sud- 
deiUy. " He will see you are together, and that it is not 
with me you are here. One must be circumspect." 

Impelled by that new desire of hers to be circumspect 
Harston came again to Waldo. 

" I shall telegraph her to come to me ; you agree that 
is best ? She will know then that I have not deserted her 
that it is only my opera." ' 

Waldo had no choice but to agree. It was clear that 
whatever had happened or was happening, ManueUa was 
not to be free. He saw clearly that if that were so. it 
were better that she should be here. There would be the 
need of a great giving and forgiving, but she had told him 
tnat in all her married hfe. when she gave most her heart 
Had the greater ease. She was generous and just, above 
all things loyal. When she saw, as he saw, that her 

«nH tw ^? "^.,.°^ ^^'' ^^"g ""fit to stand alone. 
tn„i?^* Alma Onha had not courage of her crime, she 
would come. Alma s fear of Giovanni Orilia would make 
ManueUa contemptuous, but not cruel. 

As for himself, there was nothing to do but stand 
aside, go on for ever standing aside. It was to be the 
straight and narrow path for both of them. He thought 

a uS?l*^* ^ff" *^ ^^ ^y ^^ '^^' i« it .' ^t list 
a little way, until her own feet were firm. 



( 'I 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



33* 

T^d Lvasons sent the telegram in Harston's name, 

"°^- XaT7^X K H«td Marini I .m uncomfortable 
Ana, anerau, indigestion. You wUl 

not weU liaced. I ^™°w and that I have missed 
tdl her that, when you meet her, ana tnai ■» 

tier. • • • 



CHAPTER XXX 



THE telegram was sent off, and Waldo awaited the 
result. He would not leave Rome until she came. 
She would face her life bravely, of that he was assured ; 
and he would stay beside her until she knew all that she 
had to face, helping her if she needed help. 

But one day passed, two days, three days, and there 
came neither reply, nor ManueUa. It is impossible to 
deny that Lord Lyssons was more disturbed than Harston 
lugotti. Five and even six hours' rehearsals took from 
the latter the necessary capacity for exc* -♦. They 
left him mentally exhausted ; he ignored the j assmg days 
and that he ought to have had an answer fr >m his wife. 
On Wednesday, Waldo met him coming home from one of 
tnese rehearsals, and asked him casually : 

" Have you had a wire ? " 

The same question on Thursday made Harston brush 
ajs hand across his forehead in an attempt to remember 
ttom whom he expected a wire ; but he was quite sure 
ne had not had one from his wife. 

M ^%}^ most probably on he^ way," he said comfort- 
awy. He^rasgladof the delay; nothing more had been 
^d from Giovanni Qrilia, and Alma was more exacting 

ai**liif?iS*i?'^*^? ^ ******»°' "^ «^"y possible 
^ impossible tram. It was nearly a week befMThia 

«»«suies. overwhelmed him. That day. for some reason. 

333 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



334 

i« r*hparsal and he found Migotti at 
there was no early «^«*^' fCj- oerturbation : 

"^.^eV";or^-:-"^e'' "fi^^ -t have 

^'"^""oTrv^Sf torC"fti that he. too. had 
He had not P'/^*°^, ^ -.p^gd to make no impression. 

wired ; but the ^'^^^^^^^^^^.^^Ster V the baby woVse. per- 
" Something must be the jnatier . lu 

haps, or ManueUa »^^^" '"' Seating his own uneasi- 
5e did not suo^d 1"^^^^^^^ ^s Waldo almost 
ness to the comP<^/.„ J^^'^t triun to England to find 
expected, suggest ta^^gj^^r^^^d • nor did he propose 
out for himself ^^^*^^.°S^^oh" answered reassur. 
that Lord Lyssons ^^^^^^^^^^ 's^^eatfield would have let 
ingly that he w^ s-e^^^^^^^^^^ and. vaguely. 

bim know if there ha,a ofe"^ *"y^ better not to come lo 
that perhaps ManueUa though it better no^^^ ^ 

Rome. He seemed in a ^^y^^g^^ was leaving he 

subject: * Graham. of whom you spoke to 

.7.^^Vil-^at"3f^^^ '' °" *^^ ^'''''''' 
""'Se'^rrl^'t^m'n the least to re^^^ -y--* 

anxiety, he wished only ^f jf ^^'^f ^id not und himself 
But Waldo when he -^^. ^^^^^ ""^cute. and hourly 
reUeved; his anxiety ^'^^'^J^tiieTad acted for the 
gathering momentum. He thought^e ^^ ^^ 

best in coming o^* he^^', /^^Le He sent a " reply 
She might be iU. or t^^^^y^ he could bear it no 
paid" wire to Dr. Shorter wnenuc ^^ saw 

^ous to know the »«« »' f ^J^ Tdoubtedly 
gether about his prince in Roj^. ^he ^ ^^ ^ 

in fear oi her h«sbMd andtte^d^i« ^^ ^ 
S^^^srhaftS^^-^l'^egard Oiovao.. 



" CONCERT PITCH 



»» 



335 

long as baccarat was played at so many clubs in Paris 
trente-et-quarante in Palermo. San Sebastian, or Monte 
Carlo, roulette in San Remo and other Italian health 
r«orts. But she knew better now. If this Lord Lyssons 
who was making himself troublesome to Migotti. who wai 
so cunous, and persistent in remaining in Rome, was a 
fnend of Giovanni's, it was better she should see him 
know where she stood. 
She was aU graciousness at the beginning of the inter- 

Tn^x J '^' ""*^^y characteristically-Italian flat 
full of bizarre ornaments, generically caUed art nouveau 
angular in contour, crude in colour, without any mystery 
but the mystery of wonder as to why they had been 
brought there, without beauty or utility, formed appro- 
priate background for the superb ugliness of the popular 
singer The Erard grand piano was httered with music 
and the singer seemed littered with clothes-clothes of 
bright colours, loosely hung about her. while the jewellerv 
she wore was incongruous. She had evidently made her 
toUette for him. She talked with amazing freedom of 
tne opera and its caances. and was obviously on the most 

l^V. f r "^^^ ^S^**^- ^^"^*i"« him to do this or 
r^m llu-^' cigarettes or .ne hand-bag out of the bed- 
cSn ^/"^ him Migotti without prefix, making a 

Snn. w'^ °^r^- ^^^ ^^^'"^d to flaunt their 
^tTn kI * ""easily, watchfully. Waldo had not the 

the^^ '°"^"'*' ^"^ ^^ P^^^^^ hy it. At the end 
we hive 2?^ "^^ ""y ^'^^^"^ ^ You will teU him 
^He could only disavow any acquaintance with Signor 

heblTto"^n? ^^ '^"^^^ ^^ disbelieved him. which 
int^L 1 l.^^*'" '^^- ^"*' hy now. he had littie 
m^lli^^ i/ ""■ '"[ Harston's relations with her. He 
^coTnL^^^r fhe ''^^7^ °^^ ^"^ the station! 

o4 tS?4 wSfe^L^fn' w ^°""^ '' ^"^^^^^« that for 
or Oie dSd *^° '"^^^"t news of Manuella 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



'1 Shorter's «.wer w^n at length it can., w. not 

ol a nature to reUcve him. ^^ ^^^r 

- House shut up. J^*^' XwaT not here 1 What did 

She had left home and sne was u 
it mean? He vnred again. 

.. ^vVhen did she leavej^ traveUing slowly. 

It might be she was »« *^«^ 7*^. i^en . When he knew 
Slight have met with ^ ^^^^'^ ,^^ her forthe 

she had left ^^^""^^^.^Xi new fears. She nught 
last time. ^^^^.^^^'^.J'Jnt,^ the chUd having perhaps 
^ve gone to seaside or S^^^^'^^^know his whereabouts. 
S^UkeniU again. . Ste did^ot^ ^^ ^^^ 1^, 

^ could not send or ^m ^ ^^^ ^ 

^e A wUd thought that s^« ™»", ^^ be dismissed. 
SSith Africa shot across his "n^nd^ o^y t^ ^^ ^^ ^^^ 
l^'^ould never luve 10^^^^^''^:;^^^, and her hold 
i,,r. Alma Onha >v^ ^Sed All Rome was talking 
^^w^SV^ntnldt^aiedafewweelcsago. There 

was no time to be l^t. ^ „ inquines, 

with their presence. j^ ^th you. 

'^«' After that, after t^*' ^,"^ second to the opera. 
ii.lt was obvious that ManueUa came ^^^ 

IJ ^ith Waldo she -f '.^^"^tck trEngiand o^y 
Hp took that wasted journey, u* ^^^ge. 

to'^dTo news ^i^^^^ ^^^^l?; tl the ,»a^ 
Instinct, impu^. ^^.^Tir weeks on the Riviera h^^^ 



" CX)NCERT PITCH " 



337 
die sea. When once Waldo knew ManueUa was on *h« 
Riviera, the rest was comparatively easv pLtTrroK 
^uid not be inco^niio atThe mL' df Pa^^.^t^ 

mI^c^^ ^'"^ ^^^"^ ^"^^ ^t SiTiith's Bank that 
Mr. Graham was at the HAtel de Paris was the Zr., 
cUy Peter Graham left it for the villa HHaiarS 
ManueUa into the state of nund in which she saw thLTn 
fairn^s of keeping him out of his own hoiL She h^ 
meant to pay him rent for it. but this was a^arenUy n^ 
yet due. It was his own house. He comDlained of 

fme^^Sfr."?^ 1 '^' ^«*^ »^^"5 noisy And it wi 
S ^ui'^^f ^^' ^"^ ^"^ «^"s she would h^^ 
said although nervousness hardly expressed it 

talted'it'ovli'* '^l ^^^ ^"^ °"* °^ ^ °^ house ? She 
S f^r fh. Q ^^^ °'^' *"^ "'^ saw no vahd reason 

st^nJlo^ltt ^ *^^i..*nd brought them over. 
in^tiL foTiZ^H '^v'" his rooms. Peter arrived 
veran<S^ in w^nSerful ST^h^ ^""*?' *^^^ °" *he 
more than on^how Id^^^^ ^l J^*^' ^« ^'' ^^ 
to the hotel and thaf h! ^5 ^ad not to go back 

However subtle '^1^^-^^^'*"^^ °^ ^^^^"^ 

was vaguely i^ h^ Z^^' '^l °^^^i*y of repelling it 

pleasure in her sodSv^i^l; ^L'^^u^ "° ^^^ "^ his 

in fact, of w^t J^S^.'^ L^^*"?^^' ^^*^ calculated 

" iiut we^e ^hi ^^^* '*y '^ *hey knew. 
Andthisp£aS%,^^---...we can please ou^|v.s. 

Until then she had not thoughtjof what people might 

32 



"CONCERT PITCH" 



'' . A ,^A startled before lunch 

„v She «a» already »larmrf ^* ^^hat for escape 
«S over, already lo»'»"e.,??er^mp«lsiveness or impru- 
Sn the Witton into which her .m^ ^^ ^^^ her 
^-.^'•^Sttg^ddSraS; arousedjer.^e seMo 

rnTless™ rately to^X 'l^JpelSfy com 
Pion pleased ^^ J^' aid ntd tendern^s, co,«o^ 

r^te'Sran'^i— ^eUe. in ^^^a'sUaati^ 
«:er o'coS-Ung a V-^^ n^^v^easily mowd. 
STUs emotional, pas5>o'f«'f&, «,„ri„g here. She 
U w^pity "^ "" nl knew i«st the scene he 

S;rug^e toe^ too, t^t ^^™^^rra°wUd thing 
But ^ could not «cape she w ^ ^ and 

f^ie?^ whatever J-^j'^H'li^^^^h that .lunch he « 

"We must dnnk cnarop-s ^ ^^^^ ^/*°1, 

XV " was another of the things " she w« 

together, was au«t ^g^re herseli, because 
^,U <^^^"^P^ltortaSr^nd felt she was to bUm^ 
uneasy, or uncomfortawe. 



" CONCERT PITCH " 339 

She tried to persuade herself there was no foundation for 
thinking Mr. Graham's manner had altered, and that it 
was just as it had always been. She drank wine to steady 
the unevenness of her pulses. Nothing had happened 
nothing had altered ; her imagination was playing tricks 
with her. After lunch she would go upstairs, go into the 
nursery, play with baby, talk to nurse. There was nothing 
of which to be frightened, no reason why her heart should 
be beating unevenly. 

Peter made no effort to detain her ; he was in no hurry 
He went to the piano when she left him. and began to play 
?;• Y', ,***® ^^^^^ atmosphere of this adventure was 
delightful to him. There would be no scandal ; none of 
them would wish it. Her husband was in Rome with 
Alma Onlia ; he could not have expected her to remain 
by herself in Lonu^n. Peter did not look very far into 
tne future. There is always a way out of such an adven- 
ture for a nch man. Alma would look after Migotti 

Of couree he was startled when Lord Lyssons' card 
jras brought to him, wakened rudely from a pleasant dream. 
He ceased playing abruptly : 

" You told him I was not here ? Surely you had the 
sense to say I was not here ? " 

wish^'t: ^ z r^' ""' '"'^ ^'' ' ^^" ^- ^^^- ' 

^.^TltTi"^ """v*^?^ ^°'' ^^^ "**" *« *eU Ws master 
,TiS f ^^"^ ^"^ ^^^> ^"^ what arguments he had 

^JLT'^\^^ "^^"^^ ^^ deUvered, for Waldo 
was already m the room. 

diatel^'mSf ^"H^^^y ^"^ *^^ P^^« ' ^« ^came inime- 
dwtely master of himself. There were a thousand things 

t^m IS^"^ "^S?* ^^* *° "^y t« ^^' none ?f 

out fc ""S", ^ ^"^ see you ; I had no idea you were 
V^at^Ll I flllT^''"^ ?°iS °"* ^^'^ ^^^^^ or later. 
-Tmon ? w!?i ^ T *° ¥"^ you-whisky and soda 



aaS 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



340 

Led Lyssons w^ in no humour for feinting : he started 
the attack at once. 

Tar'"l'--* '"i^* the conclusion; it is 

^^S-il^er-SrS^taH^.^^ew.he.e, Uwas 
'"rst'^^wtt^t you?" said Peter pleasantly, fami 
''"'*• 11 ,t nnce quite deanitely, and without 

Tline'^^X'. 'Th^e \«tirrumstances under which 

^e take things easdy here. ^« /^ -^'^ U you-di" 
But 1 daresay you have been m g,, ^^^ 

What he impUed was unnustakaDie. 
standing 1 " 
.?rj:.rn::y1i'to my ^om. ^ut ^J^^^^^fS^^^^ 

^i,^^,i,oTsT.s;t:::i. - — ^^^^ ..o .. 

room, asked abruptly: 

^.^fvery charming yo-g lady.^Ueve -. We l^^ 
been here nearly a month. Have y 

arrived ? " . Mannella Migotti here ? " 

" I want an answer. Is ^^""^^"^^^^^ me to it • ; 
•• I am sorry, very sorry .. • ^T^Sd I? MigotU 

I cannot answer your qnesuun. Why snou 



" CONCERT PITCH 



>> 



341 
»m Rome with Alma Orilia. By whose authority do you 

" I will show you my authority in a moment I nnlw 
want to know if Manuella is here ? " "'°™^"^' ^ o^^V 

HnnJ^""^ ^J f ^ y^^*' ^ ^*y *^at Madame xMigotti has 
done me the honour to accept my protection ? ''^ 
1 should reply that you are a liar " 

Peter smiled, shrugged. 

'' As you please. You would perhaps prefer she had 

a ^ot m the dark, but reached home 
How the scene would have ended is difficult to sav 

^Ltd swr *'""^- ^^"^ ^*^ -^y sS ante 
snrugged shoulders was impossible to believe v^f H 

traces ! He knew her wild impulsiveness. 
notlTiS^Cre^f'^^^^'^'o.ly. He could 

^w f^l «f ""f "^^ ^ ^^^t vision, and a cry • 

alwavsaffi^!^ '^"^ l''.^* *^^' ^<^^ doubt fled. He 
WiU^pleSr ^? ?r' ^^^ ^ ^^'^^^^ Her face was aUght 
Me at the miexpected sight of him. somid^of 

;; How wonderful you should be here ' " 

The iLi; Sucji an out-of-the-way place ! " 
Wlf tsXrf wi^ llT ""^ .^^ P-tection against 
had to hold hLLlirha^^"^ ^"^^^ "^^ ^^^^"y^ H« 

'^rdnn'f "^^ ^\^'^^ ^ ^h«" She was a girl 
howdi^^JouSl^L htS^^^ ^^^ ^- ^^' - -. 

" Yo!^ ™'^,* ^ ^ * ^^et. then ? •• 

^'^yo^^lX. ™.^Twh,^?-• ^ ^^^ -^ ^ow 

gladto^'sSwm^^^atleTn,!;!!"' f ""^«g"«<«y. genuinely 
I" a moment^e had for^? not maintain his cynic tone 

^- ^ unk^^^s^ 'Ss^^f, ^^t t^u^iin:; 



« CONCERT PITCH 



» 



alone. AU s.e re^^^red - t^^^ 

quick change of mood w^ ^ o ^^6 ^^^^ j^^ j^ ^ 

§he felt that about ^^^^^f 'i^p^sive in acceding to 

v,pen imprudent m coming, m y ^^ -^ ^^g all 

To^'^ «^^ve at *e v^^ • -^^^ ^^,„ ^, 

right now, everythmg was au 6 

"^e togot her host, unsmiling nov,. pale, leaning np 

against the mantelpiece: ^^^ „ot ^t hmi- 

%aldo did not forget tarn, =md^r^^^ ^^„„3 

seU be forgotten. He buwo ^ ^^ poation. 
blunder of ^ We^«,*"^Xg here >J«s a secret, that 

'■ I told Lord LySson^ yuu' o protection. . . 
you had been good enough to accep^niyP^ ^^ 

M"1:^---""'^ do«i before he. 

SSshed and horrified e,^. ^.^^ ,„, (,. h>s 

Peter madejio defence, ttere w ^^^ ^^^ ^ „^ 

head struck *e »d«m ^tS?. exclaiming : 
to succour him, to Kneci uy 

" T^nw could you I 

w" do put lumself l»f f*» Jf^^for you to touch. Go 
"Leave him alone ; he ^ not ttlo^ 3^ ^ 

u^t^ .P^ten^' sl^ty g^S «"» one man t. 

Sotter. >>ewil-^*^- . . 

;; B^* -If you don., y-t P-J^-^rnlt w'Sf ; 

Cnour. •■ Damn you, to^t dare to ., ^^ ^^^ ^^, ,p , 
Peter who made an enorx lu 

Than knock you down again. „ ^^^^^ ^hen he 

^Are you alone with him here t 

nnened the door for her. ,, 

°^CS and baby are with me. 

" I thought 80." 






" CONCERT PITCH 



»» 



343 



It is not easy to thrash a man who makes no resistance. 
Waldo did his best when the door closed behind her, but 
made a poor job of his task. He thought of strangUng 
Mr. Peter Graham, but refrained before his pallor ; the 
lack of struggle made it impossible. He kicked him where 
he lay, finally, contemptuously, not even violently. 

" Don't dare to move until we are out of the house. 
You hear that, don't you ? . . damn you ! He could 
not trust himself with the man, and went out into the 
hall, where Manuella joined him quickly, 

" What happened ? What did he do ? He has been 
so awfully good to me. ..." 

" Oh, yes ! A sweet fellow ! I'm sure. Where's the 
nurse and the boy. You've a train to catch." 

" A train. Where am I going ? " 

" To Rome, to your husband." 

" To Harston, but " 

" Don't argue." 

He was not himself at all until she was out of the house. 
They waited in the garden for nurse and baby and 
luggage. She questioned him, but his answers were short 
and impatient, unsatisfying. 

" I can't talk to you here," was his apology. 

" But what will you do if I say I won't come away ? " 

" Carry you out, make you." 

" I can't understand. ..." 

" I know that — that is why I am not trying to explain. 
How much longer is she going to be ? Can't she hurry 
up ? " 

Manuella, with the instinct that she had been in danger 
and escaped, that sense of reliance and belief in him which 
she had always felt, said little more, waiting with him. 
One sentence escaped her. 

]| Does Harston really want me ? " 

"He telegraphed you ten days since to go to him in 
Rome. But we could not find you." 

" He isn't ill ? " 

" No, he is not ill." 

There was an hour oi two to spare before the train was 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



344 

aue to start. He tooU M^ueUa th^^^^^^^^ 

could for their ^^^'"J^f j^^f ^^d see that Peter Graham 
them. He must stay here ana sc ^^ ^ 

pSd no tales, tf - more 1.^^ A ^^^^^^ ^ ^he 
from Manuella ^^^/^J^P^foipv ^bild ; the promise of 
fog in Lo"^°\^^V J'^^^^^^^ desire to get away 
sunshine and warmth , ^^''"^' She was not fit to 

niisapprehens^on o hj^s ov^ sUe^ce^ ^ ^^ And he . . . 
take care of herself, sne wouiu 

anything impulsive. , Wait unm 

:: irso^:: rAlve settled up here, settled Mr. Peter 
Grah"^.-' His voice was vindictive. 

k?hS^'h^t"S^;. bis eyes did not leave 

her face as he repeated ^^ q^f^^^^" j^j^y. turning away^ 
'« You need not answer ..^^^^jf^red over to him and 
" But I want to answer. bne move 

he waited. 

" WeU ? " , J „^ ,^ke in a voice so low he bad 
She hung her head and spoke m a vo 

to stoop to hear it. 

of a child. x«„i;ch vou have been ? " 

" You know how foolish you i»av 

" Don't scold me.'' 
" You deserve it." 
" That is why." , , ^ , „ 

" Where did you thmk I was f 
. .' I didn't think." , this restraint upon hiiDsett. 

" Nor trust me I He Kcpv u« 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



345 



went on quickly : " Perhaps you were right. I suppose 
I am rather erratic. I might have gone questing, looking 
for windmills ..." 

She wanted to know all about Harston, what lay before 
her in Rome, and he was glad to change the topic from 
Peter Graham and her imprudence. 

"I will telegraph to him to meet you. If it misses 
him, if by any chance he is not at the station, you 
go there." He gave her an address. " They are com- 
fortable rooms, and they are being kept vacant for you. 
About Harston . . ." he paused. " WeU," he walked 
towards the window, looked out on the blue Mediterranean, 
tried for the best words. " They are not together, not 
in any sense of the word together. But she has some 
sort of feeling, blackguardly feeling, for him, which he 
does not return; he would be glad to be out of her 
toils. He only wants her to sing his music. I think 
you can help him. He is weak, you know. She will 
throw him over eventually, as sure as possible she will 
throw him over. There is her husband, too, to be 
reckoned with. It is quagmire for you . . ." he paused 
again, "but it is the right thing "—he was talking 
with his back to her, practically to himself—" I suppose 
It's the right thing. ..." He broke off. 

Again she came over to him ; she was a creature of 
swift movement, and put her hand on his arm. 

" You want me to do this ? " He looked down on her, 
on those questioning eyes, those quivering lips. 

"Is there any choice ? " he asked slowly. The lovely 
flush mounted, darkening her eyes; her breath was 
uneven. "Whom God hath joined. It isn't just a 
clichi, I suppose ? " 

" No, I suppose not." 

All that was unuttered between them he saw in her 
dejected eyes, she in his. Then very gently he took her 
hand from his arm. 

" It is time we were starting." 

If he sighed she hardly heard it. She was going back 
to Harston, to her duty ; she herself had made the choice 



346 « CONCERT PITCH" 

between the two men. On W^do she could l^vel-ned. 

Harston would ^'-'^y\^Z Zi^ '^^^^ ^^ ^^ ^^'^''^ 
strength. Afterwards at the^ation ^ ^^^ 

the carriage for them ^f J^^^^f ^^e had escaped, 
seemed to understand ^"^j what sne y- 

.< If it had "o^^^^.^^^y^^'^know'' HesWq^i^^^y- 

" That is what I want Y?;? t^/'J^'^^ ".. ^ ^iU never 

and for once ent-dy -^o^^^^^^ , ^ g,i ,o 

agam be a case of » J fj^^t to be from a distance. I hope 

lS)k after you. even if ^^f^Xioti^tto be unnecessary. 

not. I think I ^,"[S",^ntne ag^n To me your im- 
But you wiU not be ^eft alone again^ y^^ ^^^^ 

pulsiveness and Y^^ ,^°^'tSnf Altered But . . • they 
li you ; I would not h^e t^^™ f ^^^^^^^^ quagmires. 

'^^.^Z'^^^r^ -Hsh in Ko.e. 
I'll be there as soon as possible. 

'xS^^h^S: Sun'^StWag «aved. the train moved 
off. 



CHAPTER XXXI 



SHE was to travel all night and be at Genoa in the 
morning. The next evening she would be in Rome. 
It was a corridor train ; the compartment, which she, 
with the baby and nurse, was to occupy, waking or sleeping, 
during the next twenty-six hours, contained only three 
seats. Nurse was in a condition of offended dignity, having 
been unduly, and, to her mind, needlessly, hurried. She 
intruded her sense of responsibility, and spoke of the risk 
of moving about in winter-time with a croupy child. She 
would not allow the window to be opened. This circum- 
spection, with which she could not quarrel, drove Manuella 
out of the carriage to where, on the narrow wooden ledge, 
miscalled a corridor seat, she was able to obtain the 
questionable advantage of a shght draught, combined with 
the soot from the engine. To be uncomfortable, however, 
suited her mood. Neither backward nor forward could 
h vu "^^^ satisfaction. She had been a fool ; her 
cneeks burned when she thought what a fool she had 
D3en They burned, too, when she thought of Waldo. 
He had knocked Peter Graham down ; to think of the 
reason of his doing so was impossible. Then there was 
ner meetmg with Harston to face. What would he say 
10 iier, how excuse hunseH ? It would be horrible to 
n^ hun excuse himself, and to know how Utile she 

,T«^J[«??S' ^^® '^'''^^ ^®^P **"" " ^e needed help, but 
n would be dreary work. But Waldo would come soon 

347 



348 " CONCERT PITCH " 

more important, on his mind. .^^ 

At sev«n o'clock dinner was served. Nurse was siui 

sulkv and said slie did not want any dmner. 

Having overcome the difficulty of progressmg along the 

naSrSor of the qfkly-mo^jlg trait. Ma^^^^^^^^^^^ 

found herself in the ^pa^ y^^^^P/,^^^^^^^^ 

TnyS Americans, shrill and assertive ; and there were 

appraising eyes, 
^^oron" "'fnd indicated a seat at the table near 

the door, where aheady there ™^°f J'^,^^^^^^ ^th 
As the meal proceeded, she looked at ^er tns-d-m wiid 
a^ght'^uriosit^.findingitdiffici^^^^^^^^ 
The black morning-coat and grey trousers m ^ . 

tr^'veUed showed he was ^^^.^^S^t^rs^Jde ha^^^ 
they were English clothes ; his fine and slender 
proved he was no German. Manuella decided jhi^t^^^^^^ 
the soup was served. She wanted to think oi^^^^ 
but that which was before or ^^^^^^^J^Z, a 
spoke to the waiter, ordering a }>«"1^ °* ';;2t ^^ either 
N^^era. his bad French ^^f^^^^^^i^^l^^^t she learned 
Italian or S^h^ It was -t unUU^^ that^sh ^^^ 

he was a Sicilian. He was o»y*""3 Americans, and 

lufK^r r^". t;' IX -ot 0... o« 



" CONCERT PITCH 



»» 



349 

that had only just occurred to him. and this time it was 
certamly an infallible one. ^" 

Before dinner was over, the infallibility seemed less 
certain, and. m any case, he did not propose to trv'Ss 
fortune agam ; he had. indeed, no fortuneVo try Then 

efrl^rn 7^^^^ T^'' ^^^' °PP^>t« t° him was the 
gn:l who had sat so long on that uncomfortable ledge in 

stilLn"i h'' ^!;^ ^^' '^* ^^'^ ^'^ y«""g and beauffful 
Sicilian ladies do not travel alone. Giovanni Orilia oiSv 

^Z ° V"^r*' °* *"^^^ •• ^^'^^ -1^° traveSed Ifone and 
hose who did not. He was ready for distraction on the 
long journey before him ; the steady purpose of Ws iournev 
was not one upon which to dwell. LTad nonL ohE 
resources m himself " which nake soUtude pleasant t^ 
men of greater intellectual endowment. He rarehT^ead 
'mns'''::;!S"'*^°" ^^'■/'^"y y«^^« ^^^ been limit^ to 
cemed a S ™'' f"^ ^r^^*'^°"« °^ """^ber«. con- 
t^amoJit ITfS'fc^P^''^^/'' ^^"* *h« ^^S"o«e and 
succSri/ • l^'^?' ^"^ *^^ays hopefV of a 
succ^ion of eights and nines. He had a oalate anH 

r He' hat T "^""^ ^ ^^^ *-i" inadeqL'e toliaSy 
iftni in ^ ^"^ ^" eye-two. in fact-black, capfble of 
sottness in expr^on when they were not on a crouoier 

decLn 7'""' *^' *"^" °' * ^he«l ^^ a card uSl 
a man who' T- T?k* '^^^ ^"'"^'^^ *° «'"^« decis^^^lo 
have b^n hanH ^^^T^l^^^'^^^^^' ^^at he would 
if his iSe haS^n '^ ^ '^^"°* ^^^^^ «° ^a^eworn 
fuiTows Lmhi^ un urrowed. They were gambler"; 

buHe dirnnt'' ''""^''' i:°""^ his handsome eyes 
hayetdtouul'''"^"^" '^''- ^^' ^°"«^* ^^ ^"^^ 

fii^i^ttT'jH'' '' '°^*^°6 ^or something?" was the 
^^Fr ncl*bu S^^^^^^^ H^pot 

;; Only for tte^t.'-^^""*' ^' "^*^^" ^°"S"«- 

^^^^s^iJt^J^ ^* save him it was easy to 
She had ordered wme. if she would aUow to to 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



350 

suggest. . . . Hehadthe mann-o^-^^^^^^ 

Ste had the manners oHhe rf'^^^ world. There was 

he«elf since her "ff^f ^' ^^^.'^'n she was spoken to. 

no reason she shodd "«^.^"^^^'J„ot^^^^ of the '' young 

or even initiate tallc. There was n^tm^^^^^ ^^ ^.g^ ,, 

man " about her ^'"■^-Sf ' VearTold He had. neverthc- 
toseehimasl^thj^^fittyye^^^ ^ ^,, 

less, an air of distinction, nothing of zero, of 

v^ghty affairs ManueUa knowmg n^ J^ ^^^^^ ^^^ 

un apris. or of two ^ '.^^ged he mSst be a diplomat. 

upsetting all c^<^^*^°tHththf Vatican in his mind, or 

aTltaHan «t^t*«SfrLt^Utidar concerned with the 

perhaps a ,J«P«^^^r,H^ch a one. since he seemed 
Dcople's welfare. With sucn » ""^' ^^ harin 

n on making himsd^ ^^^ 'iX Tpress train. 
l-^tSf rthl^td o.X«; ventUation .or ... 

^^■?ri.ve been at Monte ^.o, ^ -^ -^ 

personal question. But she ^as P H 

S^ountains and the blueness of the ^J^ „ ^^^ ^„. 
.•And what sort of lucked VO^ ^^^^ j^ ^^.^uy 
expected and nested ^^JP^^S^^ J^^^^eTa sou, never 
shfrnade him l>el»eve^%^^,^t J the dinner-hour was 
been inside the rooms. J^^^;°; ^er all that she had 
spent in an endeavour ^^^JP^^/h^d lutd an op^^^ 
^ssed. He said that he wished he h^d ha^^^^PP^ ^^ ,^, 

of meeting her there of »~^^**^"8 f '^^ geii^ne in his 
proverbial l«<^k of the novice a^dj^^ J ^^ 

regret that he had had no oPl^^i^iy j^ ^e had htUe 
S^was really q^ite attrac^ve ^^^^^°^^^^^ few hours 
time for women nor inchnation, during xne 
there would be nothing better to do. ^^^ 

U was not until the end of tne meal tnax 
,^:^i she was not travdUng ^one^i^^^^^^ ,,, 
only a nurse but a baby vnth ter. ^/^^^^ i^ his com- 
and a suggestion t^at ^^^^gM care to ^^ ^ ^^^ 

C^C ^^4Wm r Sriinpr^on had heen a 



" CONCERT PITCH 



)) 



351 

mistaken one. He was reaUy a gentleman except : . 
money matters. ManueJla said she had no thought o 
returmng to Monte Carlo. * 

It did not seem indiscreet to tell him she was goine 
n r T! ""' c?^ production of hn husband's opera* 
U Tradttore. She was surprised at ihe interest he took 
m the news. 

hnlK^^H^M''^"' ^^'^^ndl Harston Migotti is your 

?ong^me "^^ *^* " *''*'*' '^'^"* '"' ^"^*^ * 

nJi^"* T ^?"' *°°' "™"^<=^ ' ■ h^ '^^^^' «'''f^r. h»= could 
no longer be silent. 

She answered that she sang a littl.. . hcsitfttingly with 
a smile, she admitted she had once snug m tJri He 
did not requite her confidence with hi. „wn ; he was not 
proud of being the husband of Madame Alma ^"t 
But he was very much interested to know that this wi 

o^ ;^e n^r^^^^P^"^ ^*^ '^^' ^^ ^^^ Orilia Ss 

unlSppy. ^^^* **" ^"'^ "°^ ^^y ^^« looked 

de^r' '' * ^^"^^ *^*^ "^^^ °* "^^"^'" ^^ thought ; •• a 

ovT'L^^llfr. T* 1° ^^"^ ^^^^■'*' ^ft^^ dinner was 
shTi^ stiU t^!;, '^' '^'? ^*^ *h^ ""«« ^"d baby, 

accommX?n?PP°^*K^ ^J *^^ "^°^ insufficiency of 
oSuS ?h^ i"""" ^^t sleeping-car, and decided^ on 
'oTbSth vJi>h ^T-^i- ^^^ clambered into the 

the shelf Snea^Vh/K'? ?'^'" ^ '^^ ^ *ble oS 
fellow-Savdl^ i ,^. ^"^ *"^' by talking to her 
aU I^e«1l ;i7f^'^t V^ background of her mind 
bacfS £^„:^^ *?,"^t^ thoughts, but they thronged 
of the eagin^ The L ^,*^ompamment of the tiSob 



^.:«^ 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



35* 

^ fH* future What wotad have happened if Waldo 
pureucd the future. WMtw ^^ ^^^^ have hap- 

*^^ r oT^ou^e « woiild have happened. But 
^""fu ; wLchTwa^^ffic^t to beUeve. it was impossible 
not to IweU Sh? ttned uneasily on her narrow bed 
not to ciweu. ^"^ 4.-orV Waldo had neither tor- 

and went off on another ttack. W^^o na ^^^^^ 

gotten nor "f ^t^'t h^d happe^d Ktween them; why 
She wondered what, had happenea ^^ ^^^^^ 

Waldo thought she ought %^ ^^^^^^ good wife to 
Harston had telegraphed ? "^^^^^^^^^^^^^ not love. 

if she got up. ^»^^^^Ps^f,„!;fM'he still, think of 
shade, nurse would sulk, bhe ^ ua ^^^ 

nothing, count sheep going thrv. J.a a gate, 
self to sleep. „«*wifhstanding the sliriek 

She had alm»t !";^^f^^' "f Xu "" the rails, the 
„{ the engine, the iron ""1/ °' ™^'^g° bearing noises, 

'="„ti:LtHThe"nraif:S''«vag«d^^^^^ 
n^"Sy'2l^nce%hen she wa. brought back abrpUv 
£,meone was knocking, knocking at the door^ __^ 

rr^:Vitr«-as\ras:n'Sk.ng. S. 

called out : 

" Wait a minute." ^ , slinDers, 

Whilst she sUd out of bed. and sought ^'^^f^^.i 
she wished whoever was ^nc^king wf d be m^^^^^^ 
a^d speak low to avoid waking baby. It was p 
for the examination of the luggage. ^ 

The conductor of the sleepmg-car ^t^od at je 
, without his distinctive cap. -th al^-e^^^^^^^ and^^^^gj^ 
so agitated that it was difficult »* J«? ^^j^ ^ quite 
what it was he wanted of her. His Frencli wa. 



" CONCERT PITCH " 333 

fluent, but he was a Swiss, and in his agitation he spoke 
a patots. *^ 

" Madame will be so good . . . Madame has with her 
a saeur de charitS. There is no doctor on the train A 
gentleman m the next compartment has been taken ill • 
If there is no help for him he will die. If madame would 
spare her saeur de chariti. ..." 

The nurse's dress had misled him ; she was not a scmr 
(U chartte, she was an EngHsh hospital nurse, with an 
uncertain temper. 

" I don't know if she would come. 

Manuella was doubtful, but. fortunately.' nurse woke 

Tu* .u ^^H'J*^*"^® ^"^ ^S^^^' i^ Manuella would stay 
with the child, to see whether there was anything she 
could suggest. /^*"»i6 auc 

" Come back and tell me. . . ." 

They were ah-eady out of hearing, and she was left 
aJone-alone with the sleeping child. She knew it was 
the man with whom she had talked at dinne. that had 
mrt.^'!^ ^!1 ^^»^^"*- She pictured him in the next com- 
partment. dying perhaps. She wished she could have 

Sn^ '^' ^^^ ^f ^? "^^^"^ ^^'^ doing nothing. 

nignt aiid the darkness made everything worse She 

Slt^w^ the^Sl: ^^"^ ""^^ "^'^^^ ^"^^"^ ^-^' 

the Sy?^? :^^rjzL il?"^^"*^ *^ '-' ^^^ - 

What was it ? " 
'' He has cut himself." 

^^^t^et.^^^^^^ '^- ^^^' ^o commit 

throthX^ ot^n"'^^™'"* ""*" ^"" «* *he scent of Wood. 

lighXe?3 flT^T."^^ * "^** «^ <=old air. and the 

w^ glS^ortj^'fl"^ ^Tu***" *»^°^«" l^P- There 
«^ on the floor, and blood, cverywh^e blood; 

«3 



« CONCERT PITCH " 




and there «is a smeai oJ •« °" "^.'^jt there lay the 
was made up -, *.^^X7„tr to hU, already 'dark 
nioarang man. * ^"^'<J".%„t i, was the smell of the 
with a darkness that spreaa , i"" ' 
Sood that made her feel faint and s.ck 
"■^hatisit? Whath^happe^d^ 
e^^lar-StSitSetJ^Sgir^f the lamp was re- 

^•^.tfrnust have struck las head ag...t .^^ 

Llrriu^'^heid^r^me'i/ He ^would have 
S^d to death I7M-D.W howhe bled' ^^^^ 

The broken glass had <:'"^» J*^^^,^ had been lost. 

^^ l^Clonfrrsit ^ ^" ? 9> --'^ -^ 

out again. I'm ^-^l^^^^^^^^ back to her l.d. 

A'^enTwernTadvtturS 'to Lr, only ordinary 

ilSS^^nhe^ascol^^^^^^^^ She 

ManueUa. of course ^^t ^^6^ £ble at dinner ; she 
could not sleep ; he ^f ja^^^^^her UWe ^^^ ^^^^ 

had, as it were ^"/X^TtWs time there were other 
not let him bleed to/eath By t^s tmie t ^^^ ^.^ 

people in ^^^.^^^^^^i 7^t^t useSs in the. 
bevelled, cold, or ^fg^^'^^^T,. ^^s no doctor amongst 
pyjamas and n^^^'^v^^^tnoJledge^ were best to 

them, nor anyone wila 3™^^^ ^^^v. They were 
do. They glanced m and ^^!^^\^^^^ ^^^y f/om the 
anxious to avoid any ^^PX^^^J' 3 °^^^^^^ X blood had 
dreadful sight. It was a dreadfvd ^ght^ J^ 
splashed everything-coagulated ^^^^^^'^^as fortunate 
\anuella. as they scumed away thoughUt wa. ^^^^^, 

that nurse had been «^;j\f Ji^^^^^t^ d^^^^^^ ?«; 

There came a time when she thougnt a ^^^^^^ 

Z present, she was quite -Umg^^^^^ ^\^^Z courage. 



Mui^i^.. ..^'w^^Jii iifiW'wPWIi 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



s^*:»t"bj:f fo "bTThi ^ r?" -^^ — • 

Cha^e the bandage wh^ittak^^hSugT" " ^"""'• 
iu^XTu-S^rX^^^. "r-^ >^s e^usted eyes 

had admiredTdSn^ ^St" "T '" '°°'' "•" 'hose he 
■ You are not to S;alf v "" ■«<'e"i«»" " his. 

the brandy i^,«K- ^°" "« '" «« still, and take 

accident,!; yTu '^rLrbe""^,'? riir. ^r.'"'' ■" 

slowing down." "S"* ' *^e train is 

" A railway accident ? " 

or ha';?ho?o„"?rshdr. "^ '^'"^ "? *" P»t a bag 
.. ^h. yes ! I remember." 

we tS.%rh?vet f ^ '''' ^^^^^ '' *h^ bn>ken lamp 
artery. Bumrhi^l^^-V^^^ of blood ; it was ^ 

olL^leTZrlll ^°" !? ^ ^-- -th me." 
noonehadrerCi^d'^Si,^^^^^^^ ^°"^^ ^^ "^^t be. 
f hose mamiers of his had rlt yTV^"^^^'^ "^^n«"- 
Pnma-donna ten long yeai Z'^'^'k''^ '^' ^''' ^«"-b^ 
<i^but in Rome and bin 3. ^ ' ^^^" '^^ ^^ ™ade her 
was the same sto?J wiiTfin^ ^'""^ P^ ^^^ attentions. It 
Harston Migott?. ^ He had nor ^'^\^ ^* ^^ "^^ with 
but resisted them. Even iS r '"''""^^ *° ^^^ <^harms. 

--. -^ that -^!:;.xs^--, -P^v j^ 

33* 



CONCERT PITCH 



»» 



immsi 




356 

t. * .. xu. TraveUers' Club " in Paris had begun, 
complete what ^^ Vv^Tafth^becinning of her career. 

Ahna Des Voeux ^^f^.^^'.^'^id^'^^efs was the voice 
barely twenty. AVRomrha?gon7mad over her. and 
of the century ; f.^^^ice of lovers, even of husbands, 
she could have had her cj^^^^ ^^ '^^^^ ; he wooed her 

Giovanni Orilia did no woo her passion^t^y. ^^^ 

indifferently, or ^^^^Xth^h^^^^^ ^^' °^ ^^^^• 
„,ake up his mmd rs o w^e^her h^ w ^^^^^^^^ ^^ 

The gambler ^^/^f/^J^^^^^^^^^^^ she wanted him. There 
indecision made her certain in ^^^^ ^^^^^ 

were so many other m«^ -^^^^^\;,rbefore his mind was 
cool but Giovanni. She ^arne ^^^^ ^^^^ 

really made up ; he ^^f ^\y j^^'^i-^t two years, and she 
She loved him violently for ^t le^t^^^^^^ satisfaction 

cannot truthfully Ije -J^J^^^X- t^^^^ their honey- 
for her love. Their Q^^^f %^,^ ^ g^and voice a 
moon ended. She was g ^ ^^^ ^,^^^ 

capacity for acting, ^^.i,"^ But socially she belonged 
might have been expected But ^^ V^^^^^ ^^^ ,,, 
to the lower strata of NeapoUtanm ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^ 

side her music ^l^|,f?,^";/^rm"'the better for this m a 
her inferiority. She loved mm ^^^^ ^^ 

tiger-cat. inconvenient way. But she na^ ^^^^^ 

tiLs. even more fiercely. I^the^^^^^^^^^ ^^^ 

^er rrso^^rf f ^^^^^ si rtrn 
^^^ hTd^ ^^vf p»ifc - rr ^; 

Sa;^ro^SHKft^^^^ 

from Nice, and fought » ^™'. '"'Jj °„tions conspicuous 
Bemheim. of P««. J^^^,'^ j^Se him that P^ 
r r hSSSylr* Se" And Wle Bemheim ,«ea.a 

"°* ':! SrS'^i^^^?-' to prove to Igr .^ 



« 



CONCERT nrcH 



>» 



written to her to that effect an-< ck- u j 
he was mistaken, t^t W ^^' ^^ .^»''«^ that 
his wife. Now the Ik wrnro!^ f T*" "^ ^**"^« ^th 
wife ; they had sent forlS Hr^ to'2''' T ^^«°'*^'^ 
he was not deceived. She^s n^i??*^v'''*^- ^«^- 

little carpet-sto^rby ^^Z ^L^-^'^l ^' '^' «" the 
spoonfuls of brandy Lfwater .^k^ ^"^ ^^**^ *^« tea- 
Every time he woke he found Jl '^^^ ^'' bandages, 
him with solicit^e thel wl^^T ^'^ "^^^ ^^^^S ^t 
he knew whv they :^erl^s J cl '^''' ^^ ^^ ^^^^Vt 
prohibition to talk^ iTasked h-^''^^ "otwithstandin,^ her 
because she had Ured «? M /*"" ^^ «°^S *° ^-™e 
answered : ' "* °^ Mentone, and hastily she 

_My husband sent for me " 
there fTaU^ rhifdl^r^^-^ '' ^'^ ^^ ^ ^ 

"Pon the banl^es f^ul f/r^-'^! ^"P* ^'^ ^ands 
«"t again. Bw k w^"L *^^ bleeding should break 

-d When the\rte^"|^1^-\y a T^^^^^ ^^"^^"*' 
to fear ; the shght ^r„7^ ' *^^'^ ^^s nothing 

bleeding. ^^^ concussion was relieved by the 

and^reS:li^|^,rsr| ^gToT " ^*" ^^"^^ --* -' 
encompassing kindness Qi,r^?"' "^^^ conscious of he^ 
own bed to fuppiemeni 1 a'v?^^**^^ P'"^^^ ^om her 
he told her she cS fafdv I^^k* ^^""^ ^" **^^ "doming, 
"ot thank her adequate k^^ qk'^ ^T "^ ^^^ he couW 
"o thanks. anyS wouW if^ '7^^^ '^^' '^^ wanted 
^he said she Zu n^uLe hL^?' ^ "^"^*^ ^« «he. 
^«>Pen ; she could sj^„ « n""' ^''' *^« ^««nf^ might 
^;^ in the next comLnmen 't^ "^ ^^^^ ^ ^5^4 
h le more brandy and wat^^ !n li ^^^" '^^ ^^ve hiii f 
P"* a hand on his pX ' ^^' ^' ""'"^^ ^^d suggested. 
IS reaUy getting stronger." 




jjg " CONCERT PITCH " 

" I Imovf madame. You can safely leave me." 
■■ Hmh*' It fe I who am the nttise, and so most judge. 
She"mW do« on him Oriy that hngemg sense o 

stni"^"t: Tunr^n's^new^'usT^i^tio. 
:^| W^soufude .in Js weatoess. He only slept 

'^.^l "aS. WS:«e?tw 1 rus talk a Uttle," he said 
later oTSi^t was full dayUght. Soon they would be 

"■^don't think it wiU be very good for you," she 
^swer'jLtS^Uy. She - «aUy gettin| sle^y, - 

r.S'irtlS^^Trafn^rijrnJ^.- heM 

to explain " The boy stood on the burning deck 

Tarn going to ask you a strange question, the strangest 

possible question." 

"I shouldn't if I were you. .^ 

That is what Waldo would ^^.^^^^^^^^^^ ^^veV wn 
she uttered it ; if they had J"^"^^^^^^^^,^^^^^^^ her 
like him. She was very sleepy, losing conrroi 

thoughts. ,, 

" Are you unhappy / ,, to ask 

Giovanni Orilia f ^»^<i, ^"J^^, ^^^/Sd break 
her ; and she was alarmed lest the bleedmg ^no^ • ^, 
out again. But he would not be put off. repeating 

question. ^, 

" Is anybody happy ? ^ . ^^^,^^ ^r,g„ jt seemed 
She evaded a more definite answer wh^i^^^,^^ 
thit he would not be put ofi. He lay without -pea«^ 



s^;<J '^*^^^ 



(( 



CONCERT PITCH » 



359 
came to herself ^hTlt^ '"'^^^^ carpet-stool. bu? 

tat now was b'oad awate ° '''^" """ => ^««t! 
doy^Cw"""' ""^-loyouknow? How on earth 
sent for"you f •"« '" '^»' "> *<"" h™. because they have 

you^'^No, to'rmo«"''7!, ""='* "■= "y -^air. to 
the bandage ' ^"^ *«*" her hand was on 

iil S^jI.'""* °^'*'= husband." 
'or him haXn^Sa a per^nahty ; her care 

i:^; *^,^'"^'' « him:'r;irj>^nra fc 

now^tatt"crtenr'*y„rK"jr'"'PPy'" •« «^<1. "Go 
'^ve everytlSig to'me." *" ""' ^"^y" ^ »"happ^ 




CHAPTER XXXIl 
T^HE rest o. the journey -^J^'f^J^^I^^. 

It was raining, and on ^"^ ^^ ^es- the glimmering 
were facchini with their ^^^'"'^^^^^^rv^ss.ngers. She 
lamps shone on shivering '^^^^'^^^^^y the luggage. 
looked up and down bade ^^^^^^^ ^t^ notwithstancling 
and went ^^^^^^^ .,*,^,^ .f^^Xht ^d she could see the 
the rain, it was b^^iV^^^y ^'^ road, the waiting lines 
large buildings opposite, the broad roaa. ^^^ ^^^ 

li 'carriages and cabs o-^^J^^^^^^^^^^^ tdeg^aphed 
could not see H^^^^^Xf husband had not come to 
rttrnrw£'a;:^'^^sSf'with fatigue andt. 
depression ofit ^eart-ack too ^^ ^^^^^,^ 

&omg back to ::^^^^^.°^pp,oval on her countenance 
with baby in her arms ^^ fX^P'!: labelled '• Interpr^i^' 
she was accosted ^^y,-^P*^dTo^dt^ ^at. He s^.^^ 
and wearmg a Look s °~; j^ ^ible. and bis otwr 

interpreter's Eng i^ barely ^°?;^^^f^,i« out that be 
languages were littk better. Stmsbe^^^. ^^^ ^, 

was- asking ^^^ " ,^*^*i ^J^^Se tr^ul^ were over. 
replied affermatively her inuneOiate 

360 



*MrV. 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



361 



The man was fuUy instructed ; there was a cab waiting 
tor her ; rooms had been engaged. * 

inJJifi"**'* ^^^ "?.' ^"^ ^"^^ *° ^sk ^^om whom his 
mstnictions came. The rooms to which he took them were 
in the Piazza Barbenni. large and airy, but to Enghsh 
eyes comfortless, one room opening into another, without 
pnvacy or warmth Waldo had engaged them before he 
left Rome ; the telegram to Cook's was an afterthought 
He had done everything possible; foreseeing that her 
husband might be too much occupied to meet her. That 
Alma would make it impossible, contrive and intrigue 
that she should go without this attention, he may also 

an^,!f *^?- ^^"""^' *^*«^ **»« fi^t »"o»"ent of dis- 
appointment, was too tired to care. All she wanted 

fati^e "^^ ^^* ^"^^^ '^^**' *"** '^^^P °« »»er 

JnJnriJ^T"^^ .'^^ "^"^ * ^^^^^' *° Harston. merely 

"Tr^r^"' f"^,^'. '^^^ ^^^^'^ ^^'"e back quickly : 

this ^L^t' VT" ^ "^^^ y°" ^^ ^«" as possible ; 

tW H. ^ **" ^'^ y°" welcome. But there S-e only 

?n my hea^lff "^^ ^^'^'"'^ '^'^ "^^- ^ *"^ ^*»» ^^^ both 
and ri,*IS*' *^^* everyone was working night and day. 
w^'lJhJnd "'^ "^'^ **^^"*"^^ ^"*«^"^' <^verythi/g 

momiiJ^^'^nn^T"- 't?*! *^" "°"'"^°" concentrated. From 
hid SL^i in'^^*'> **^' ^^* ^««k and more, people 
fl^we^TrnW ^.H "^ fT^' "^'^^^' telegrams. ]Sm^?s. 

the costumW iwlt^^- Now ^* ^f ^^e scenery, and now 
could i^l' "^y^t^f^/ere the artists whom nobody 
playing Snnt 1 ^^* foment. Fadini. who was 
repffi^^^^f.^J;^ "P ^^\P^\ De Ochoa. who 

privately a^weU as ^^1? V "''^'f ' ^''^ *° ^ rehearsed 
how difficuir^if.K *^' f*^«- It ^as dilBcult music- 
weeks^^ M^'tV/-^^^^^ *°^*^- ^"* ^*^^ tbree 
them who w^^i li !^ "^^ ''''^ ^ musician among 
^'as not devoted to him and his music. tS 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



3 g^t ior the choruses 

chorus-master was another devw . prima-donna. 

Sd the orchestra ^^' ?Xvrdeepened to despair. As 
iioUmonfs anxiety ^P^^^^^^^^^t^^and only outwardly 
it was he was secretly exIuiMai^. »^ ^^e.machmery 
Vrng, gesticulatory and voejfe^u^ ^^^^^^^,, stUl 
'wTllkborate. and tl^ee days ^J^^^ ';,^r^Ue in Pans, 
imperfect ; an ^sscjitial pi^e aO^^y V ^^ ^^^ n^^shaps. 

Zvet arrived at f"' J^^J^^^^^'^ere strong enough to 
and no words o< StoUmont s we ^^^.^ ^^^^^. 

Saracterize the urb^^J^^^,^^^^^ confusion became ever 
men He swore and raged mvam, ^^^^^ ^j^y^ 

wor^ confounded. The ^^^^^ ^^^ \j^^3, ^ee days 

I^ter Manuella arnved m I^m^-^^^^d. 

three months of workjnus^^cro ^^^ ^^ came with 

So Harston told her. when j^ ^^ ^^ g^^^ .he 

S^'SS dever in securing thm ,„, d 

■".. ShaU I come over *»,*« J^^^UasuSi him. Humedly 
r^^e^Tuftt^U^f "^-. alter a.., to suy 

"tJ'Sfy and night, too. h. - ^^J^'^ SS^^^UiS 
aC had heard no further ' r<"»^?i^"'t^ his suspicion' 
SS letter in which she had t°».Tard unjustified, and 
*i^.l'S>ioundcd, f^y^l^^. h^d"us""vJ«e with ^ 
that the composer of II TrM' 

^could not do without tarn .^^^„ consultat.^ 
tuS Jtted to his Hf ^ii^^^ith chorus-..^ «; 

S^f^n^ ^-en ^» «-*»" -" " 



.iAa 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



363 



the theatre he was at the flat. The flat was near the 
Costanzi, and his hotel near both. All these things he told 
Manuella. but not that Alma Orilia was passionately jealous 
of his wife, and it was necessary, even vital, to keep her 
in good-humour. He would have told her even this if 
he had understood her fully. As it was, his idea was only 
to keep the two women apart until after the great event. 
^yhat would happen then he had no idea, he did not 
wish to think. There were times when he adored Alma 
Orilia, those were when she was singing his music. 
There were times when he had no feeling for her at all, 
but something very like dread ; those times when she 
made scenes, spoke virulently of his " drag of a wife," 
and showed her coarse vindictiveness. Because she 
knew how slender was her hold on him, she flaunted it for 
all Rome to see. 

It seemed plausible that he should not wish to 
move until after Friday, reasonable even that he 
did not wish Manuella to be present at the first per- 
formance. 

" I shall be more nervous if I know you are ther«," he 
said. But he meant that he could not risk Alma seeing 
her m the house. Once Manuella saw them driving 
together. Harston's face was alight, he was talking 
eagerly, and they were sitting very close. If she was 
depressed when she got back to her rooms, it was not on 
that account, but because she felt how useless she was 
here She was doing nothing, making no efiort, such as 
Waldo expected of her. Waldo meant her to fight this 
mfluence to which Harston was submitting. But she 

Ai "r?!;,- y^^^^ ^°^^ ^^® S^^® ^"» »" compensation for 
v^u ^Jas glorious voice and power in the musical 
world ? Nothing, not even love. 



w^ Ti^t ^^ ^^^ ^"^^ * «^«*t d^ o^ Wood ; he felt 
S ri '. *^^?^^ ^* unstable for his purpose. He rested 
wee days m a chmc. not informing his wife of his where- 



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« CONCERT PITCH " 



the gates «* j*}V<S^ng with Harston Migotti. « 

there the next > ' j^^^^nce of f' /'^^J ^oo late to 
^y f .0 \o to the theatre. ^^^ ^ was ^ .^ ^^^^ 
meant to go to j^^^ever. "^^ny tneno^ 

«™. tor the Overture. . ^ undecorated, it is 

*'^i Ttaatre Costaim is l»re ana ^^^ „( j„ 

nofSvided So stalls and ^^^^f ^^olstered chairs, 

^■^^""rfu^Xtnie'^u::^ oi}^^r^T. 
there IS ■«• '"^t a"»"^ *" *"? ^^ from one to 
'^ }"IVZ p^ visits to them, to P^ ""^ajflerent 
*!.lt'"'m orreservedior fo^fa Umself in the 

^^^ 'k^:^ -^"^^5: s^rr^t 

S^i^'n^rmed ome^^^w X^'a^U - -^S 
CO"S mj^-^ «rth v-as knovm. but 

S^^ notvrittetandi^^ ,,,„ tor your wife to 
,. Tl«,y »y the music 



,. They say tne mu,.. - 

''■^:vanni acknowledged the^ c^P^^-^g U^ per^; 

^-y- *«?hJri^shtd ^ here In R°-^^^"n t * 
strange that f^J°°^^ „ot in Sicily. St^fSe know 
may have a !°^"' ^^^^man. Ludim might have 
vriie of a Sicihan genUem ^^ ,*^1 «eathet. 

that, he thou^t;j But^^^^^ ^^^ ^^e cold 
. *^'" f 1. C^iK.'. the coming races- ^ b^* 

"^hfR^^^i'^f.SSS-^W listened.. 

of then: entry being soon q 



" CONCERT PITCH 



»> 



365 



the Overture. Everybody had come to listen. The 
papers had paved the way ; critics, who had been present 
at the rehearsals, or had read the score, were enthu- 
siastic in praise. They said it was an advance on the 
best ItaUan traditions, that the music, passionate, precise, 
and profound, was of an enduring character. 

From the opening the result was never in doubt. There 
were three acts and five tableaux, all of them spectacular 
and dramatic in the widest sense, the interest ever cul- 
minating. With the scena that signalized her first 
appearance, Alma Orilia, as Queen Cartismandua, captured 
and held the house ; the whole of the first act wae a 
sensation. After her second song there was a murmur 
among the audience as of leaves in an autumn wind. In 
the boxes one heard it said that nothing in modern music 
could compare in intensity with the Trio at the end of 
the act. The clapping of hands and bravas was as a 
tempest raging. The singers were called and recalled, 
and from the critics one heard " E magnifico," " Un nuovo 
Maestro," and unanimous praise. 

The second act was, if possible, more brilliant than the 
first ; the sparkling opening chorus went to the head like 
champagne. It is unusual for such an audience to inter- 
fere with its own pleasure by premature tribute, but 
throughout there were indefinable approving murmurs ; 
enthusiasm was pent up, to burst out in vociferous 
hravi and bravissimi and continuous clapping of 
hands. 

The last act was introaaced by £. mournful orchestral 
prelude, a complete change of key. Men held their 
breath, " Un trionfo I " " Un miracolo t " One caught 
the words on moving Ups. When, at the end. Alma Oiilia 
sang the prayer cavatina as only she could sing it, the 
murmur and sound in the audience ceased as if auto- 
matically ; they were spellbound. Then, whilst they were 
still breathless, came the wonderful quartet leading to 
the superb love-duet and the grand finale. The opera is 
now as well known as The Chariot Quern, but one has to 
remember that this was the first presentation. 



« CONCERT PITCH " 



366 

_x • foil anA an almost indescribable scene 

The curtain fell, and an ^n«» shouting themselves 

followed. Men stood on c^^^^^^f ^^ed to tear 

hoarse ; the noise reached t^e ^^^J^^ ^^ volume of 

l^J^ tS;^-- were thrown on to the 

stage, and even leweUery. ^ed 

The ?-^'^^'^J^,t^'^'SLlZd be nothingleft 

tumultuously . \* ^^^^^^lU curtsied and smiled, and 

for the Pni^c»P,tfl2p^T?e gentlemen in their togas 

were pelted with A^fSwed Ld^a^d their hands upon 

and filamenteu heads ^^ea ana lai 

^^^^' „„A rnrfsied low : the curtain fell and 

Alma came on. and c^^^^^J^'^^i.e ^^3 before them. 

was raised five ^P^^^^J^f-^t their applause, which 

deprecating, accepting, smihng ^^^^^V^^PJ' ^he sixth 

igSn broke and '^e^«;^'^^*l. confer by the hand, 

Sne she was seen l^oj^^?;? Jj^/^^^ Z due. She 

indicating that i*/^ *° ^^^ L^^y. she kissed it ! 

held his hand. and. all at o^<^' ^"^^^^^if naUans. who 

And that was wonderful to ^^^^^^^^^ ^raes and 

responded with a sea of waving pr g 

recognition. ^ ^j j^ the composer's 

When Giovanni Onha saw ms wn m-ew very 

hand before the whole house befo ^^Ro^^'^^ f^.^ J, 

white; when she let go h^s h.^^ ^^^^have knelt at 

sweeping curtsey to tom. as it sne wow ^^^ 

his feet I , ^, ,«^t4 hardlv heard amid the 



" CONCERT PITCH " 



367 



must be for him. He had bowed and smiled, and smiled 
and bowed and even shrugged, for what more coSd he 

« f ^^Y ^ ^\^"^^^"^ ^^ ^^^ be«" hissed, humihated 
neglected; but here in Italy they understood. This ™ 
his moment, the fruition, the acknowledgment of ]Ss 
work. Now he could afford to be modest 

JflLr^A^l^'' you." he said low to AJma. who had 
interpreted him so grandly. 

"I want not your gratitude, but your love " 

Their simultaneous words were simultaneously arrested 

It^P^r'7^ ^^^ ^^^ °^ ^^^"^' th« sJ^«t for only one 
Afterwards it was sail that he saw the aised pistd 
and flung himself in front of her. The buSet was 
not intended for him. but it was him it reached Th^ 
composer fell forward on his face ; the great singer reeled 

WerlS.'"' '^^^ '^^^" ^°^- ^^^ -^^^ ^ quicWy 
hao^nld^ "Lonient no one in the house knew what had 
clkkl -fe" *^'? "^^ ^"°*^^^ ^h°t' or ^as it a 

away suddenl^'N^^f^K^"^ ^^*PP'"«^ °^ ^^"ds died 
*way suddenly. Now the house was fuU of fear mnnpH 

and paralysed. sUenced with fear. ' ^^^^ 

Una Bomba. Una Bonibal" 

bomb'^A'^^lH^h- "^^^^^ *^! detonating somid was a 
An hd '^°^^,*^^^'^ ^^ent through the audience. 

te^ble^Sil'f r^" '^"^^^ "^« ^«««/" and a more 
S tS! ^"' ^ ^"''^*'^ hush, full of horrorTid 

hush Shinrwb'h^rL^T JL^dei^tood. in that 
hurried eXn^p^nf ?i? ^^^ .sobbing, there came the 
^^^^^^^t^^L^^V;^'^'"'^ Carabinieri in their 
knots cSLpTuom in thr^^ /^''"^' .*^ ^^*^ shoulder 
seized the sSr^^t J^ ^^'^'^' ^ ^t once, panic 
panic andlSet^^T^b^T'' ^^^^^^^' ^"rea^oSe 
from choked tW^ thrK ^,^- ^" hoarse whispeis 
Pelting. Cr^ttr:;^^ ""^'""^"8 ^^' There >^re 
and ^i;-or^S^!!!;P^*"°€^' struggling people, groans 

•• ^ Queeli'^^^^n ^SSI'P'"^ •• 



"CONCERT PITCH" 



368 

•' Someone tlirew a bomb. • • • ^^ ^ others. . . • 

Two had already exploded Ther^ J ^^^ .. 
.. Run. run. run Get out ^t the bur^^g ^^ ^^ , 

The house of ^o^^^' ^^^ had been left up instead of 
safe and solid. U^^l'^'f:^^. t^e orchestra had played : 
being so qf^y ^nie pr^nc^ oi mind to turn up the 
if someone had had tne jn averted. But it 

Ughts. what followed nug^it ^ve d^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^ 
X in semi-darkness and silence t^ ^^ ^^^ ,, 

-f a-r i- c^^«~ ^^^ llldi^e 

''"^Ha assassinate la R^na I '^ 

" Una honiba ! "^ 

•• La Catnorra ! ' , ^^ Ughts were turned 

Before order was '^^^^^^^ J^^ surrounded. 

up. or the soldiers ^^^JT re U was realized that Uiere 

W the truth know"' j^^u, diraster ^ad come about. 

niXt Of /f TradUore be remembered m^ ^^.^e 

PANIC AT THE FIRST PERFORMANCE OF 
.. IL TRADITORE." 
MANY LIVES LOST. 

T.e« we. not -V^sTa^- "H^ ^^ 



" CONCERT PITCH 



)) 



369 



midnight before the reporters had got to work, and the 
neadhnes had been corrected. 

MURDER OF THE YOUNG COMPOSER. 

SUICIDE OF THE MURDERER. 

DRAMA OF LOVE AND JEALOUSY. 

There had, of course, been no bomb, nor attack on 
the Kmg and Queen of Italy. The Camorra was not 
responsible for the catastrophe, only the Latin tempera- 
ment. The King and Queen had left before the applause 
changed to panic with such appaUing and dramatic 
suddenness. 

There was tragedy behind the curtain, tragedy in the 
pnvate box, where Giovanni Orilia lay with a bullet in his 
brwn^d the smoking pistol still in his dead hand. 

iJut far more poignant was the tragedy in that atparta- 
mentom the Piazza Barberini where Manuella, waitine to 
hear the news of his triumph, heard instead the tr^p 
be t di*^^''^ "^^^ ^^ou^^t her young husband back to 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

WHE T the truth was known, a chorus of pity and 
imor^ation broke out. There was bound to 
>v. «n owStive tor it since Giovanni Orilia was dead, and 

°'^^'lhole"Xw was in the Fantutta the next morni^ 
S««K«, with ?PIT'I^??« ~Z!?^vei J^-^d «om», 

k ^hed voic^. lay Harston Mi^^^^' ^ot tough the lung 
The Chariot Quun and H ^'''^♦^^'n hooeXt he would 
bleeding intemaUy. There was no hope ttot ne 
Slough the day ; his wife was ^t^^^^^!"3tood to 
w^ a dSfd toot The f ^^^ -^t^^was^^r^^^ 
be prostrate with gnef. But it was mw^ ^^ 

^t the authorities had akeady ^^^^' ^^ lef^ 
JSoner ihe recovered from her prostration ana 

370 



" CONCERT PITCH 



>> 



371 

-^e^the sooner would thdr anxiety on her behaU b. 

te«. retrained than the CUmcZi^f^^'^'*'^- 
<or instance, and the Tribuna. might Son 7^.^ °' 
torty and attack the Go^ =r,i„"nf ^a * rSuttrf^'; 

SMrStTa^JeSs^^rS- - hrst 
itself ^kJ' '''^^''^'' ^^^^ ^^^ t^at this story concerns 

» »r»r 3*tf 5,-^ sirs 

to the OsDeSt! ^' * «"» U>ey were for carrying him 
thearSi^h' '* T \^«« who had given ^h^ 

i« the S houn of. ^ '^'S^ "^^ '«=«»«» hi" 
of waiU^ MaTait„\. "'"«*''« "WW, and instead 

herself c»l^"p^tSl*f!rir""l?*™ *"'«• »^>»"«> 
»d hurriedly-sSS ^'rT^ **"*» »<• *««»" 

laid liS on"C n."*"' "*"'»" "''* '» >■" "'»>' they 

hi' ov^"eL7t,f JT' "" '" "•« *^«»y 'hat 
heart and ovSedh^ e^ '^1"^ °' ^^^ '""« he, 
succ^ Of the o:r^£lS^-4^J^ told of the grea. 

•««- saM^ '^N^" f ' ^ there i ■• one of th. 

yo« could have ^^h^*.*"* been seen Uke^ 

"^-"theroof'^tc'SL'S'S* two streets away; 

S-*».»n. applause, suc«s, had «,« too late. 



« CONCERT PITCH " 




37* 

iTaf'^t^'^'wrburhrwks the .ather . her 

'"'"you mustn't die, I cant !«' you *.!; sh..xdajn»d 

through her iaUing tears, passionately . it can 

like this. . . ." „„\»A the wound, gave him 

T^^ tC^to^^ts'^S actaowledged' §«y ««« 
opates, then stmiutews D ^^^ ^^ q„,^, 

helpless. Aiter the docton i» ^ streatfield sent lor. 
^„^r.pokfonro«Ataa OrUia .or .horn his hfe 

WrsS.^L'Jo't; °4»r everybody. n,ou..,, 
"^^°;^«it*AJS::'^Xridon.n,ind. Shall. 

"?.V:'anTc^^'ald." He ^ v«y Mtk v^ic. le.. ^^ 
„;;]'ow^''c:rrf ?nA -'do A ^ant to tell »e 
-X^!.!t ^meone v-ho c3« wri.- "^c. Listen ,h^*> 

-rg/^rco.^H'^-Sf----" 

^rsU^ed-Ta ^ttg- posiS:!:; panting, f^ 
"'^w'^rSe'said again, and his Ups ratted as if h. 

"'^'^Yofgave heard it, taken it iowa ? ^.^ 
His eyes were Ut up; harsh sounds now came ju 

^'^it/frg.r^^anT "^ Tvouhearit,yo» 
KrTht"irt-SeSrict.ay..« 



« 



CONCERT PITCH " 



373 



have been, and his soul escaped in thf swell of its 
harmonies. For prespi.tly. as they stiffened, there was a 
smik on his dead lips. 

Reverently the Sister, watching with M.innella, passed 
her hand over his eyes. With the smile stifit-ning on his 
lips he looked inconciiivably happy. 

Manuella, sinking on hei knees, sobbing, said : 

" I am sure he is hearing it." 

" He is with the good God." the Sister answered. 



Waldo was not there until the next day. Gerald 
Streatfield, broken-hearted. . was in time for the funeral. 
AU Rome followed Harston Migotti to the grave, and 
the prelude to the third act of // Traditore was played 
as his funeral marc"^. Gerald was always convinced that, 
had he arrived in lime. he would hive understood and 
taken down what Migotti had tried to sing. This he 
says m his biography, that aU too short biography, in 
which he likened Harston Migotti un his death-bed to 
Mozart, and speak-, of the Requiem, 

Manuella cried from the day Harston die until after 
the funeral. Every hour it seemed sadder shf reproached 
herself that she had done so little for hiit' wthine' at 

all :.^r him • mII U«._ _ _ ^ ^: 



all *or him ; all her prayers and promises h 
avail. He was too young to die. It seem 
nothmg so sad had ever happened. She cu 
and cry. Waldo did not even try to comfm 
knew It was too soon, and that he must let her 
sway Afterwards, when the time came. % 
oe glad she had been here. And there would 
things he might say to her. Now she could only 



of TlO 

n r th.it 

only cry 

her ; he 

-ief have 

wotild 

other 

for 



har 7. ----0-" ""J '■^ "«s». A^uw wif coma omv 
TK.T'? ?"^^>^<J. and wish she had loved him br 
ihe dead leave always this behind to deepen th 

mJr? T ™^® ^^'^^ ^^^ tender the hear 

SesTllT^ ''"^*'"*' "^ t'"^^ sympathy not siK>^ 
suences that now can never \x broken. She could oniv 



r 




iS ■■/i 



37^ - CONCERT PITCH " 

cry for aU these, and cry. beUeving it would never U 

^^^^t' tt toJeral was over, the inquiry opened 
anf rdioSied'^Sd^adiiun.ed again; after the ^pers 

!Sd found other ^ov}^'Xli'^\l^i^'':iZ^^^^ 
England, she was still crying. The tears cam 

a^umbed heart, ajid a n-^"1^^5^J^i3^^^Jj Tm^^^^^^ 
girl in her weeds, but so ^^^'i^f.^'^'^'^i^^Z difficult 
Siat no beauty of youth ^^JfJ^^JJ^^^^'^Jri^^^ 
for her to get away from the ^^^""^^l^^^' 'sp^-ators 
of her going wa» known, and emotional sp 
crowded around and cned with her. ^^..,., 
•• OA. te Povera, la poverttta / cotne * ha amato I 
" E cdui, ha amato un' aUra.'' jf^niore I " burst 

•• Oh, la poveraia. la poveretta I muore d^amore / Dursi 

^M^hr^statiSn it was even worse, a larger crowd ex- 
d^^y of ^ty%ries of sympathy a wom^ d^-^ 
forward pressed flowers into ^^r hand She was wo 
»Sd by her tears to see anythmg clearly, her sobs 

choked her thanks. . , . , . . ,^ , ., 

" Ed anche il bambino I che irtsiaza I 

It would have gone hard with Ahna Onlia had sbe 
a^J^ at this 'moment; they woiUd^ave ton^ h 

Sa^^^^sicih^-^Th:^^^^^^^^ 
^L ^f'c "uld have killed. C--s were h-p^ 
u^n her; a she-wolf of a woman. Maledctta. 
" Infame I " ^ 

in Circas Ro»d. Lulu Marston came to M«.u*^^ 
«,vdd see no one el«. ToLulu she decUraJj^* ^ 
sobs, that she could ■'«'" 8«* ^f )!•,? ala sinpng- 

Me:^^:.rj^e5tr\^t^ii: 

^». and what RusseU had said about it. 



" CONCERT PITCH 



>• 



375 



•• What am I to do for her ? " sl ; asked Waldo. 

" Give her time," was his sapient answer. 

It needed time, that was all. But longer than either of 
them thought possible. Many months were to pass 
before even Waldo could reach the source of those tears. 

" I could have done ^o much more for him. If I had 
stayed in London en there when he tel. ,raphed for 
me ... if I had j •« gone to Men tone, or met Giovanni 
Orilia; if I had lovcu him better, or at all. . . ." 

" He would always have loved music best," Waldo 
answered soberly, glad that at last she voiced htr feelings. 

He was very gentle with her, although peinaps it hurt 
him that she should cry so long for Harston MigcUi. He 
spent hours at the house, playing with, or ta'king to, the 
baby, avoiding any reference to her futu which, at 
present, Manuella only saw in a penitent's cen, in which 
she would sit all the rest of her life crying for the husband 
she had not loved in his hfetime. 

You are glad at least you were with him at the last," 
he \id to her one day. Harston had lain four months 
no ji his grave in Rome, and spring was on the way. 

I rie only wanted Gerald." 

"It was not your fault that Tommy Traddles was in 
England." 

/!v^*?'** ^**~*n a way, it was. I wanted Gerald out 
01 the house ; if he had been more with him. and known 
what was gomg on . . ." 

"He would have made more notes." 

The tone was dry, I ut he altered it. 
^«ve. If you must grieve." He went on hastily. 
aL^^'Z y°'' "'''^*- Although, in a way, it was a fine 
Si' 7f ^* *^® ^^^^^ °* ^ triumph, saw the shot 
conung, and flung hmiself in front of her, gave up his life 
for the woman who loved him. But don't paint devils, 
no M^of ^:^* "^ reproaching yourself for what was 
^' He did not iove her. I asked him if he wanted to 

"\lit J7J?^:^^' *°^ ^« never even answered." 
wataer did he love you, Uttie Iri." He thought it 




376 " CONCERT PITCH " 

i* " There is no room for love in the 
was time to say it. Thwe » ^" ^ ^^ ^ angry, 

love me," she answered forlornly, wiinoux 
eyes, or the anger he expected. j ^^^^^ 

" No. I don't suppose it does. But i xn 6 

remind you. . . .'' , j^^ ^jeen free that 

That was the first time sin^e she n.^ ^^^ ^^^^^^ 

fh^ Xe '"tT^-diSyl the l^^ess in^.^ He 

^^nt JS?^rtxiect:S^r ahout her wa.t 

and drew ^^^ t^.f"J^ ., . you belong here, in my arm. 
" Hush '. don t struggle , yuu pnoueh ' " But she 
Haven't they been empty long enough . 
struggled against Wm. ^j^g , .- 

'■"^.fnever make anything but mistakes," she burst out. 

"'..yj^^n't want you to look at -e/' Her face wa= 
hidden more willigly now, on his shoulder, 
grown old, ugly. . • • noticed it myself- Vo" 

^•'Hideous, I know. I l^JJf=/°*^^ge 'Everybodys 
will have to go m for face massage. 

doing it.' " 



« 



CONCERT PITCH 



j» 



377 



" And there is baby." 

" I really don't feel inclined to trust my godson with 
you any longer. You give him all his own way and spoil 
him frightfully. You don't think you are fit to bring him 
up without me to help you, do you ? " His voice was 
low, and his Ups against her ear ; he was always a tender 
rather than a passionate lover. 

" Do you think you will have finished all your crjdng 
soon ? " he asked her presently. 
" I shall never have finished." 

" All right. But I am getting so damp. I feel it 
trickling down my collar ; it is a lucky thing tears are salt, 
otherwise I should fear rheumatism." 
She tried again to disengage herself. 
" Don't be silly ; go on crying if you want. I can 
always change my collar." Now he had her more 
comfortably in his arms. 

"I am going to marry you whether you Uke it or not. 
You need not wriggle ; I never supposed you would like 
it. But you must be kept out of mischief. What, more 
tears ? The November floods are nothing to it. Manuella, 
Uttle girl, httle donkey ! My God ! how fond I am of 
you, although you are such a responsibihty . . . and a 
termagant." His arms tightened. This time he kissed her 
eyes, found her lips too. " You have never really belonged 
to anybody but me. You are worse than the Inland 
Revenue in the way you are keeping me out of my own 
property. Lloyd George isn't in it with you. Kiss me, 
and say it is all right. You may cry again afterwards 
if you insist." 

She made many protests, then and later. It was " too 
soon," and she " did ""* '^^'^'^^"^ *-^ ^- i " -' 



had 
her." 



no fortune, 



not deserve to 
and he could not 



be happy," she 
afford to marry 



He agreed with everything she said, cheerfully. But 

u T*°* °" ^^*^ ^ preparations exactly the same as if 

she had not spoken. It was true that they would have 

to Uve quietly ; he was Uttle better off than he had been 

two years ago. 



378 " CONCERT PITCH '» 

» t\t r'r^ur^ Peter Graham is much richer. ... 
bS^ STw^ f sSject on which she cou^l mt b^ 
.»,;« When he found this out he pursued it , he hk^ 

eyes fl-l'«l.-'t*^fSo^e^ Si^-sTmf When 
not aUow him to '"«»*'h.i^d was v^ near. She forgot 

better than he had done »' fif^J^^^^^'j^turJof child 
bad ever undergood^r. She was stm^ ^^ U„, he 

and woman. But "«. Pnue s. ^^^ 

^'^Z Zt »- f d iSt^ thatlve, a great 

^t '^X 1o 'li^^ic ^ wUspered to him 
one d^afS an exhibition of childish rage which he 

-i;rtaSstter"S5fh^."" l"^ve c^o'^f t.tes,1 
■^^ou'^n^Cit^r'wife who ihes into ungovernable 

'^^l';o. I admit it is a strange aberration of mine. 
How soon are you going to gratify it ( 

;7r ^ot S^risli you think so. No. don't hit 

"^^Her helrt shcK>k -hen ^.^r^^^ Lf t^^^^^^ 
his Ups strayed from her hair to ^r a ^^^. 

'• Manuella, you dear l^^l^^^^^^^o^w at t^^^ latest 
if you don't marry me to-day. ^to-«^°^°^^^^^^^^ drop 

within a week. I shaU ^^^^ J^^.f .\S,e Xre is not a 
down somewhere on a desert island, where tner 

parson. . • •' 



"CONCERT PITCH'* 



379 



She said afterwards that he shook her and called her 
names when he asked her to marry him. 

" I am not going to do without you another week. I 
am going out now to get a special licence. . . ." 

" What a funny way to kiss roe ! " she said, a few 
minutes later. But he had felt the response. 

" I suppose it was," he answered, as coolly as possible 
imder the circumstances ; " let's try again. ..." 



Loetitia expressed herself shocked when she read that 
the Earl of Lyssons, with all his titles tacked on in the 
South African paper which recorded it, had married the 
widow of a musician, of Signor Harston Migotti ! 

She has not been a widow six months ! It is positively 
indecent, in such dreadful taste. ..." 

" He's a ripping good fellow, mater," Albert said. 

" It is still one of the oldest titles in Great Britain," the 
half-paralysed Sir Hubert reminded her. 

But it was because she had naturally a forgiving dis- 
position, and not on account of her son-in-law's pre- 
cedence in the peerage, nor of the letter from Lady 
Sallust, with the hint about a peerage for Sir Hubert, that 
made Loetitia write to her stepdaughter. She wrote quite 
warmly, and said that she was glad to say Sir Hubert, 
under Providence, was progressing towards recovery and 
that (P.G.) they would be in London in time for the 
season. Stone House would be reopened. 

To Lord Lyssons she wrote also : 

" Sir Hubert wishes me to say that he has not made 
any different disposition of his fortune. The arrangement 
ongmaJly contemplated wiU be confirmed. As far as 
Manuella herself is concerned, I am sure this will all have 
been a le^n to her. We are quite ready to overlook the 
past, to let bygones be bygones, to receive her as if 



jgo "CONCERT PITCH" 

nothing had occurred, to look upon her escapade as 
merely a girlish indiscretion. . . . 

.' When they dc get tnjt peerage I ^PPo^th^Y^^ 
call themselves Lord and Lady Cbch6 was Waldo s 
^ent. He was then on his honeymoon, and not even 
Loetitia conld ruffle him. 



FINIS 



^ prmi4datTluCkap€lKiV0rPr*ss, Kingston, Surrey. 




m