A STORY BY JOHN ORTH.
I was once sixteen years of age. This was some twenty odd years ago, and, I am sorry to say, may never happen again. It was about this time that I was presented by a very dear friend with a ring, a very charming amethyst ring. Naturally enough, this gift was highly prized by me and was my constant companion by night and day. It did not seem to interfere in any way, either with my piano practice, or with any other duties which devolved upon me during the years of our companionship, and as time went on, we remained the best of friends.
During all this period, however, there was one fact which was to me a constant and growing source of care and anxiety. It appeared as if one finger, in spite of all the practice, including even much extra attention, which was given it, lagged behind the others in growth and development.
This became to me, especially during my years in Germany, a matter of no small concern.
All that we accomplish in this world, you know, is done in spite of obstacles, so I plodded on, doing the best I could, under the circumstances, to aid the finger with the weak constitution in keeping up with his brother digits.
And so time went on, until it came to pass that I was away one summer, on a vacation, with plenty of leisure for thought and reflection.
One day, as my mind turned in that direction, I laid my hand on a table beside me. In the midst of a reverie into which I fell, quick as a flash the whole situation was made clear to me. That ring! that innocent appearing little ring! that finger which had carried the encircling band all these years.
The mystery was solved. The two companions were immediately separated, never to meet again. They parted company, and all is well. It would have been better had they never met.
And thus endeth my little story, the moral of which is easy to see, viz: that all students of the piano may well beware of coming under the spell of that oftentimes very attractive, but always treacherous jewel,—a finger-ring.