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The Second Violin   By: (1866-1959)

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THE SECOND VIOLIN

BY GRACE S. RICHMOND

Author of "Red Pepper Burns," "Mrs. Red Pepper," "The Indifference of Juliet," "With Juliet in England," Etc.

A. L. BURT COMPANY PUBLISHERS NEW YORK

Copyright, 1905, 1906, by Perry Mason Company.

Copyright, 1906, by Doubleday, Page & Company Published, September, 1906.

CONTENTS

BOOK I The Second Violin CHAPTER I CHAPTER II CHAPTER III CHAPTER IV CHAPTER V CHAPTER VI CHAPTER VII CHAPTER VIII CHAPTER IX CHAPTER X

BOOK II The Churchill Latch string CHAPTER I CHAPTER II CHAPTER III CHAPTER IV CHAPTER V CHAPTER VI CHAPTER VII CHAPTER VIII CHAPTER IX CHAPTER X

BOOK I

THE SECOND VIOLIN

CHAPTER I

Crash! Bang! Bang! " The March of the Pilgrims " came to an abrupt end. John Lansing Birch laid down his viola and bow, whirled about, and flung out his arms in despair. "Oh, this crowd is hopeless!" he groaned. "Never mind any other instrument, providing yours is heard. This march is supposed to die away in the distance! You murder it in front of the house. That second violin "

Here his wrath centered upon the red cheeked, black eyed young player.

The second violin returned his gaze with resentment. "What's the use of my playing like a midsummer zephyr when Just's sawing away like mad on the bass?" she retorted.

The first violin smiled pleasantly on the little group. "Let's try it again," she suggested, "and see if we can please John Lansing better."

"You're all right," said Lansing, with a wave of his hand at Celia, "if the rest of the strings wouldn't fight to drown you out. Charlotte plays as if second violin were a solo part, with the rest as accompaniment."

Charlotte tucked her instrument under a sulky, round chin, raised her bow and waited, her eyes on the floor. Celia, smiling, softly tried her strings.

"That's it, precisely," began the leader, still with irritation. "Celia tunes between practice; Charlotte takes it for granted she's all right and fires ahead. Your E string is off!"

The second violin grudgingly tightened the E string; then all her strings in turn, lengthening the process as much as possible. The 'cello did the same the 'cello always stood by the second violin. Jeff gave Charlotte a glance of loyalty. His G string had been flatter than her E.

Lansing wheeled about and picked up his instrument, carefully trying its pitch. He gave the signal, and the " March of the Pilgrims " began in the remote distance. The double bass viol gripped his bow with his stubby twelve year old fingers, and hardly breathed as he strove to keep his notes subdued. The 'cello murmured a gentle undertone; the first violin sang as sweetly and delicately as a bird, her legato perfect. The second violin fingered her notes through, but the voice of her instrument was not heard at all.

The leader glanced at her once, with a frown between his fine eyebrows, but Charlotte played dumbly on. The Pilgrims approached crescendo ; drew near forte ; passed fortissimo ; marched away diminuendo ; were almost lost in the distance piano pianissimo . Uplifted bows and silence.

"Good!" said a hearty voice behind them. Everybody looked up, smiling even the second violin. His children always smiled when Mr. Roderick Birch came in. It would have been a sour temper which could have resisted his genial greeting.

"Mother would like the 'Lullaby' next," he said. "She's rather tired to night. And after the 'Lullaby' I want a little talk with you all."

Something in his voice or his eyes made his elder daughter take notice of him, as he dropped into a chair by the fire. "Play your best," she warned the others, in a whisper... Continue reading book >>




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