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The Old Flute-Player A Romance of To-day   By: (1870-1933)

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[Illustration: Anna Frontispiece ]

The Old Flute Player

A Romance of To day





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Copyright, 1910, By



Anna Frontispiece

Almost instantly the Italian bully was sprawling in the scuppers and Vanderlyn had raised the old man to his feet

It was as if the "sweet birds singing in his heart" had risen and were perched, all twittering and cooing, chirping, carolling upon his lips

"She is not guilty! No; it is I I I!"

The Old Flute Player


Herr Kreutzer was a mystery to his companions in the little London orchestra in which he played, and he kept his daughter, Anna, in such severe seclusion that they little more than knew that she existed and was beautiful. Not far from Soho Square, they lived, in that sort of British lodgings in which room rental carries with it the privilege of using one hole in the basement kitchen range on which to cook food thrice a day. To the people of the lodging house the two were nearly as complete a mystery as to the people of the orchestra.

"Hi sye," the landlady confided to the slavey, M'riar, "that Dutch toff in the hattic, 'e's somethink in disguise!"

"My hye," exclaimed the slavey, who adored Herr Kreutzer and intensely worshiped Anna. She jumped back dramatically. " Not bombs! "

The neighborhood was used to linking thoughts of bombs with thoughts of foreigners whose hair hung low upon their shoulders as, beyond a doubt, Herr Kreutzer's did, so M'riar's guess was not absurd. England offers refuge to the nightmares of all Europe's political indigestion. Soho offers most of them their lodgings. For years M'riar had been vainly waiting, with delicious fear, for that terrific moment when she should discover a loaded bit of gas pipe in some bed as she yanked off the covers. Now real drama seemed, at last, to be coming into her dull life. Somethink in disguise Miss Anna's father! She hoped it was not bombs, for bombs might mean trouble for him. She resolved that should she see a bobby trying to get up into the attic she would pour a kettleful of boiling water on him.

The landlady relieved her, somewhat, by her comment of next moment. "'E's too mild fer bombs by 'arf," she said, with rich disgust. "Likelier 'e's drove away, than that 'e's one as wishes 'e could drive. Hi sye, fer guess, that 'e's got titles, an' sech like, but's bean cashiered." (The landlady had had a son disgraced as officer of yeomanry and used a military term which, to her mind, meant exiled.) "'E's got that look abaht 'im of 'avin' bean fired hout."

"No fault o' 'is, then," said the slavey quickly, voicing her earnest partisanship without a moment's wait. She even looked at her employer with a belligerent eye.

"'E doos pye reg'lar," the landlady admitted with an air which showed that she had more than once had tenants who did not.

"Judgin' from 'is manners an' kind 'eart 'e might be princes ," said the slavey, drawing in her breath exactly as she would if sucking a ripe orange.

"An' 'is darter might be princesses!" exclaimed the landlady with a sniff. Quite plainly she did not approve of the seclusion in which Herr Kreutzer kept his daughter. "Five years 'ave them two lived 'ere in this 'ere 'ouse, an' not five times 'as that there man let that there 'aughty miss stir hout halone!"

"'Ow 'eavingly!" sighed the maid, who never, in her life, had been cared for, at all, by anyone.

"'Ow fiddlesticks!" the landlady replied... Continue reading book >>

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