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His Triumph

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Alone in his little bare room, Hart zeil was playing softly, telling the story over to himself for the hundredth time It seemed almost too good to be trne and he oould soarcely realize that hi opportunity had come at last, and tha that which he had longed for all hi life had happened in his oíd age. It was really only a trifling incident the indisposition of the great solois and the substitution of Hartzell, but to the broken down little man it seemec the entering wedge of future fame, anc the melody he was playing that after noon thrilled with triumphant promise His life had been almost pathetic in its uneventfulness, rnarked by only one distinguishing characteristic, his love for music. Ever since the flrst remem bered days, wben he stood shivering on the street corners and played uncompre hendingly to an uncomprehending audi ence, his violin had been his ouly rea friend, listening to him, speaking to him, in sympathy with him always. Among men he had been a failure his abstráction of mind, together wit] an extreme diffldence, rendering him unfit both to follow and to lead. With in himself he raight lay plans for vigor ous action, for forcing the world to ree ognize the genius which he knew wa his, but when the time for action came he always shrank and waited tmtü i was too late. And so the dreams of his young day had nevermaterialized, and hewas stil almost where he had begun, an uniden tifiable part of that great whole, the grand orchestra of the Hyperion. Never at ease in the compauy of oth ers, 'he had drawn furthér and further away froin his fellow men, flnding hia only comradeship and the clearest ex pression of his thoughts in the clinging sweep of the bow upon the strings. He feil into the habit of putting all his doubts and hopes into the music which he played to himself, and it seerued as though the violin understood and answered him. It carne to pass that he rarely spoke in ariy other way, butwent through his work silently, uuheeding the presence of othnrs, unanswering their words. His fellows in the orchestra called hitn crazy and made him the butt for many pleasantries of a personal nature. The conductor aloné recognized the absolute certainty of time and strength and pur ity of tone which the little old man evoked, and when some one must be found to take the. solo part in the greal orchestration Hartzell was chosen. "We'll give yon a chance, " the f amous musician had said. "Remember your time and don't Irarry, and I am snre you will get through allright," and Hartzell had duinbly bowed his thanks and gone home in a condition oi dreamy exaltation to teil the glad news over and over again to the only friend whose sympathy he cared for. The distant peal of the tower clock roused him at last, and he hastenecl through his simple toilet and went out into the cold, drizzling rain of the autumn uight. The streets were crowded with people on their way to the various places of amusement, and he was jostled this way and that like a frail skiff among larger eraf t, but he noticed nothing, for in the glory of hope he was as one marching in the proceesion of his own triumph. In'the dim orchestra room nnder the stage Hartzell received his final instructions from the leader, and then, mounting the dusty stairway, found a quiet corner in the wings and gat down to wait his turn, hugging the violin to his breast. From the auditorium came the faint burr of mauy voices, mingled with a subdued rustling as the late arrivals settled themselves in comfortable antioipation. Suddenly there was a hush, and the melody of the grand overture burstforth in all its swinging, swaying rhythru. Hartzell listened intently. He had never before been upon the stage during a performance, and the music eounded strangely in his ears. He startsd apprehensively at the rattle of applause which followed hard upon the closing straius of the overfrure, and a wave of nervousness swept over him as he realized that he rbust face so ruany people. He was conscious of awish that his trial came later in the programme instead of búng the third number. The prima donna stepped forth from one of the brightly lighted dressing rooms and nodded smilingly to Hartzell as she passed. He envied her the confidence which he showed so plainly. A few moments later her glorious voice rang out as steady and clear as the chiming of a heil, but to him it was only as the running of the sand in an hour glass, for when it ceased he must take his stand on the brilliantly illuminated stage, before the gaze of 1,000 eyes. His heart began to beat wildly against his breast, and hefound himself tremblingly shrinking from the moment to which he had looked forward to confidently. Vague thoughts of possible flight flashed through his brain, lint he realized that it was too late, and vainly tried to steady his nerves for the ordeal. Again and again the applause rose and feil as the last notes of the wonderful contralto died away, and the soloist had to bow her acknowledgment repeatedly; then there came a pause, which to Hartzell seemed to last for hours. At leugth the orchestra played the introduction to his nrïjcber, nnd he etarted to his feetcouvulsively and stepped out into the glare of the footlights. The audience saw an undersized, gray balsred man, whose clean shaven face was almost childish in expression as he tood there, nervously waiting. Hartzell saw a shinirnering, changing blnr, froni which half indistinguishable forms started ont for a moment, and then faded away like phantoms in a gleaming mist, only to reappear again in different shape. A noise like the shouting of an angry mob sonnded in his ears, and he reeled and took a step backward, raising his hand to his forehead involnntarily. At last he caught the eye of the conductor, who nodded encouragement, and he raised his violin mechanically and made ready to play. The smoothly fiowing accompaniment began, but Hartzell stood at first motionless, his heart held in the grasp of a deathlike fear. He could recall no note of the air which he knew so.well. His memory, confnsed by fright, was at a standstill and wonld not respoiid to his desperate entreaty. Like one in a trance, he eaw the conductor give the ïignal which was fatal to him and his hopes. The accompaniment stopped abruptly, and he feit the wondering hush which came over the great audience. In his disappointment and hopeless■ness he could have cried aloud. This was the moment for which he had waited so many cruel, long years. This was his triumph ! The tears crept down his withered cheeks and his lips moved tremulously. He made no attempt to leave the stage, but stood with bowed head, while the hopes and dreams of his wasted life passed in review before him and crumbled away in the light of the consciousness that he had been found wanting. But all this while, unbeknown to hirnself, he had been drawing the bow across the strings iustmotively, unbeedingly, in unwitting disregard of his surroundings. The accustomed, caressing touch of the violin seemed to answer bis vague louging for expression. After awhile he noticed dirnly that the membersof the orchestra were bending toward him with curious intentness, and that there was a breathless stilluess throughout the house. Hedid not know or care what was the reason, for he was lost in the distant land of memory, draping the brightness of every recollection with the black of present hopelessness; rnarking the vainness of every hope and the futility of every sacrifice. The thoughts which were flashiug through his mind found an added bitteruess in the consciousness that all migbt have been so different if his courage had not failed him; if he could have shown to the world what he knew to be his real power. Was there yet time? If he could only have auother trial - one little opportunity - perhaps he could redeem this mistake. Hewassure that he could. Was it too late - altogether too late? Might not- He carne to himself with a 6tart and looked about him appealingly, mutely asking forgiveness and sympathy from some unknown source, then half stumbling turned to leave the stage. A murmur followed him, fast growing into a roar. The house seemed to tremble and rock again and again in a hurricane of cheering. He heard his name called by many voices and faced about in utter bewildermeut, his veins tingling strangely. He saw a wildly tossing sea of faces. The audience had riseu to its feet and was crying out to him - to hirxi ! The orchestra, too, was applaudiug madly, forgetful of discipline, and the conductor was smiling at him with shilling eyes. What did it all mean? For a moment he stood dazed and uncomprehending, then suddeuly he knew the truth. Uncousciously he had been playing the thoughts which were in his mind, and the sobbing, vibrating notes of the violin had told his story to every human heart in the vast


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