“Impossible. For me music is a thing of the past. I haven’t touched a violin these two years. I shall never touch one again.

“Bah, bah! Excuse my frankness, but don’t be a child. If you haven’t touched your violin for two years, you have allowed two precious years to leak away. All the more reason for stopping the leak at once. Come in.”

“We had arrived in front of 杭州洗浴大保健 an English-basement house in Seventeenth street.

“Come in,” he repeated. “This is where I live.”

“It is too late,” I said.

“Nonsense,杭州按摩地址 ” he retorted. “It is 杭州洗浴24小时 never too late. Advance!”

I followed him into the house.

The room to which he conducted me was precisely the sort of room one would have expected. It was chock-full of odds and ends, piled about in hopeless confusion. The walls were hung with a reddish paper, and freckled with framed and unframed pictures—etchings, engravings, water-colors, charcoals, some suspended correctly by wires from the cornice, others pinned up loosely by their corners. The ceiling was tinted to harmonize with the walls. The floor was carpetless, of hard wood, waxed to a high degree of slipperiness, and relieved by a sporadic rug or two. Bits of porcelain and metal ware, specimens of old Italian carving, 杭州夜生活西湖阁 Chinese sculptures in ivory, rich tapestries, bronze and plaster reproductions of antique statuary, and books of all sizes and descriptions and in all 杭州下城区丝袜会所 stages of decay, were scattered hither and thither without a pretense to order. On the whole the effect of the room was pleasant, though it resembled somewhat closely that of a curiosity-shop gone mad. My host informed me that it was Liberty Hall and bade me make myself at home. Producing a flagon of Benedictine, he said laconically, “Drink.”

We drank together in silence. Turning his emptied glass upside down, “Now,” he cried, “now for the music. Now you are going to play.”

“Oh, I thought you had forgotten about that,” I answered.

“‘Tis not among my talents to forget,” he declaimed, theatrically. “You must prepare to limber up your fingers.”

“Really, Mr. Merivale,” I insisted, “you don’t know what you are asking. I should no more think of touching a violin to-night than, than—no need of a comparison. The long and short of the 杭州丝袜小姐matter is that I have the best of reasons for not wanting to play, and that the most you can urge to the contrary won’t alter my resolution. I hate to seem boorish or disobliging, but really I can’t help it. Besides, my instrument is a mile away and unstrung, and it is so late that the other occupants of this house would be annoyed. And as the subject is extremely painful to me, I wish you would let it drop.”

“Oh, if you are going to treat the matter au grand s茅rieux,” said Merivale, “I suppose I must give in. But you have no idea of how disappointed I shall be. As for an instrument, I’ve a fiddle of my own in the next room—one that I scrape on now and then myself. As for the other occupants of this house, I pay double rent on the condition that my quarters are to be my castle, and that I can create as much rumpus in them, day and 杭州spa油压night, as I desire. If I were disposed to do so, I could make this a broad proposition of ethics, and maintain that as an artist you have no right to decline to exercise your skill. Your talent is given you in trust—a trust which you violate when you bury the talent in the ground. But I won’t go so far as that. I’ll simply ask you as a


favor to play for me, and, if after that you are still obstinate, I’ll hold my peace.”

“Well, I am forced to be obstinate. Now let’s change the subject.”

“I bow my head. Only, perhaps you will make a single concession. As I have said, I am the possessor of a fiddle. It is one I picked up in Rome. I bought it of a seedy Italian nobleman; and he claimed it for a rare one—a Stradivari, in fact. I’m no judge of such things, and most likely was taken in. Will you look at it and give me your opinion?”

“杭州桑拿按摩双飞 Oh, yes, I have no objection to doing that,”

I said, glad to prove myself not altogether churlish.

“Here it is,” he continued, putting the violin into my hands.

It was a beautiful instrument from an optical standpoint. What remained of the varnish was ruddy and crystalline, and as smooth as amber.

The curves were exquisite.


It was also either genuinely old or a marvelous imitation. Its interior was dark and dirty—an excellent condition. I could descry no label there—another favorable sign. Was it indeed a Stradivari? Formerly it had been an ambition of mine to play upon a Stradivari; an ambition which I had never had a chance to gratify, because among the dozen so-called Stradivaris that I had come upon here and there, I had found not one but betrayed its fraudulent origin from the instant the bow was drawn across the strings.杭州丝袜养生会所 Something of the old feeling revived in me as I held this instrument in my hands, and before I had thought, my finger mechanically picked the A string. The clear, 杭州spa按摩会所qqbell-like tone that responded, caused me to start. I had never heard such a tone as this produced before by the mere picking of a string.

“I believe you have a treasure here,” I exclaimed. “I’m not connoisseur enough to say whether it is a Stradivari; but whoever its maker was, it’s a superb instrument.”

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