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The Way of Ambition   By: (1864-1950)

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First Page:

[Illustration: "CHARMIAN, WHAT'S ALL THIS ABOUT AN EXTRAORDINARY CORNISH GENIUS? D'YOU LIKE HIM SO MUCH?" Page 76 ]

THE

WAY OF AMBITION

BY

ROBERT HICHENS

Author of "The Garden of Allah," "The Fruitful Vine," "The Woman with the Fan," "Tongues of Conscience," "Felix," etc.

WITH A FRONTISPIECE IN COLOR AND FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS IN BLACK AND WHITE BY J. H. GARDNER SOPER

[Illustration]

NEW YORK FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY PUBLISHERS

Copyright, 1913, by ROBERT HICHENS Copyright, 1912, 1913, by THE BUTTERICK PUBLISHING CO. August, 1913

ILLUSTRATIONS

"'Charmian, what's all this about an extraordinary Cornish genius? D'you like him so much?'" Frontispiece

"'This is the last thing I've done'" 40

"'Of course we wives of composers are apt to be prejudiced'" 242

"At her feet the crouching Arabs never stirred" 258

"'Claudie, I want you to win, I want you to win!'" 378

THE WAY OF AMBITION

CHAPTER I

"We want a new note in English music," said Charmian, in her clear and slightly authoritative voice. "The Hallelujah Chorus era has gone at last to join all the Victorian relics. And the nation is drifting musically. Of course we have a few composers who are being silly in the attempt to be original, and a few others who still believe that all the people can stand in the way of home grown products is a ballad or a Te Deum. But what we want is an English composer with a soul. I'm getting quite sick of heads. They are bearable in literature. But when it comes to music, one's whole being clamors for more."

"I have heard a new note in English music," observed a middle aged, bald and lively looking man, who was sitting on the opposite side of the drawing room in Berkeley Square.

"Oh, but, Max, you always "

"An absolutely new note," interrupted Max Elliot with enthusiastic emphasis, turning to the man with the sarcastic mouth who had just spoken. "Your French blood makes you so inclined to incredulity, Paul, that you are incapable of believing anything but that I am carried away."

"As usual!"

"As sometimes happens, I admit. But you will allow that in matters musical my opinion is worth something, my serious and deliberately formed opinion."

"How long has this opinion been forming?"

"Some months."

"Some months!" exclaimed Charmian. "You've kept your new note to yourself all that time! Is it a woman? But of course it can't be. I don't believe there will ever be a great woman composer."

"It is not a woman."

"Was it born in the gutter?" asked Paul Lane.

"No."

"Don't say it's aristocratic!" said Charmian, slightly screwing up her rather Japanese looking eyes. "I cannot believe that anything really original in soul, really intense, could emanate from the British peerage. I know it too well."

"It is neither aristocratic nor from the gutter. It is of the middle classes. Its father is a banker in the West of England."

"A banker!" said Charmian in a deplorable voice.

"It is Cornish."

"Cornish! That's better. Strange things sometimes come out of Cornwall."

"It has a little money of its own."

"And its name "

"Is Claude Heath."

"Claude Heath," slowly repeated Charmian. "The name means nothing to me. Do you know it, Mr. Lane?"

Paul Lane shook his smooth black head.

"Heath has not published anything," said Max Elliot, quite unmoved by the scepticism with which the atmosphere of Mrs. Mansfield's drawing room was obviously charged.

"Not even a Te Deum?" asked Charmian.

"No, though I confess he has composed one."

"If he has composed a Te Deum I give him up. He is vieux jeu . He should go and live in the Crystal Palace."

"And it's superb!" added Max Elliot. "Till I heard it I never realized what the noble words of the Te Deum meant... Continue reading book >>




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