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His St. Cecilia

BY KATHERINE MORGAN.
 
Andrew Bowman, to his pupil, Irving Leighter:—
 
Philadelphia, Pa., December 31, 19—. My Dear Pupil:
 
Old time is ringing a doleful knell for me; but for you time strikes his merry chimes. My heart hears the lingering echoes of the past; yours the sound of the advancing future.
 
Fifteen years have sped their flight since you came to me, a lad of eight. Do you remember your first lesson? It is not often you find lasting love between teacher and pupil.
 
What change! Time is a scene-shifter in the theater of life. You came to me a tender plant; you had inherited from your mother mental and moral graces, and your early impressions were large and deep. They determined your ideas. "Large plants must have deep soil," you know. You are what the world calls a success; your notes are prized by the humblest student, and you have some of the high for your staunchest friends, while, on the other hand, you have your enemies, who are neither scrupulous nor few; but your heart was ever a sea to engulf injury, a sea in the which no favor ever sunk. Let your success humble you; try to be more worthy the high position.
 
Thank you for the book, "Biographies of the Masters." I have so often spoken of the quickening and energizing forces of biography, and your gift is one to bring new blessings in its pages.
 
Your teacher,
Andrew Bowman.
 
Irving Leighter to Andrew Bowman: —
 
New York, January 10, 19—.
 
My Dear Teacher:
 
Knowing how you, an old bachelor, enjoy mystery —and who knows it may develop into a romance. Well, now for the mystery. This morning on opening my piano I found a pair of black gloves across the white keys. How they came there, whose they are, and how to find the owner are queries which are making me forget my duty and my work. I wish the lady of the gloves (for they are a lady's) would be kind enough to put aside formalities, torturing delays, come and tell me who she is, and how she came into my studio. Apparitions, misty and uncertain, sometimes bring hidden terror; but I must say these little gloves (they are small) come with insinuating flattery.
 
Am sending you one of my late compositions. Please tell me how you like it; it is the work of an hour. I gave it last night and it was well received.
 
Your pupil,
Irving Leighter.
 
 
Chicago, Ill., January 21, 19—.
 
My Dear Pupil:
 
Have just finished playing your last composition. You say "it is the work of an hour." I would have judged so had you not told me. I once told you, "That the wall must wear the weather stain before it bears the ivy."
 
My dear pupil, you have given to the world a composition that should have, as Watts says, "slept some months before it went out to meet the approval, or censure of the sentimental, the curious, the malicious, the envious critic." Let me beg of you not to admire your own incorrect performance; do not expose your compositions in all their follies to an unpitying world until you have reviewed it with the indifference of a serious critic. Let the pleasure of invention wear off; put your self-love aside; review, review; then print. Pardon my plainness of speech. I write these words because I love you.
 
Have you cleared the mystery of the gloves?
 
Your teacher,
Andrew Bowman.
 
New York, February 10, 19—.
 
My Dear Teacher:
 
Thank you for telling me of my carelessness. I am vain and at times I fail to remember, "Success means doing the best with the material and opportunities at hand." I wish to rush my compositions into print, and am over-greedy, forgetting to give due diligence and attention. I will try, in the future, to put off pride and self-sufficiency, remembering my own fallibility; knowing it is better to compose a "Traümerei" of four lines than a "rag-time" of four pages.
 
I must say the "lady of the gloves" takes more of my time than I would like to acknowledge. Yesterday while looking at them I found the mark "E. B.," but that is all. It has become my habit to look for ladies whose name might be "E. B." If it grow, I will be asking every pretty girl I meet in the street, "Are your gloves marked 'E. B.'? If so, I have a pair that belong to you in my pocket."
 
Am sending you Sidney Lamier's "Science of English Verse." You will find some new thought within its pages. 
 
Your pupil,
Irving Leighter.
 
Philadelphia, Pa., March 1, 19—.
 
My Dear Pupil: You see I am home after my visit to Chicago. Am glad you forgave my harsh letter. The Creator has given you gifts, but He expects you to be patient and work with all fortitude and endurance. Do not let the lady of the gloves take your mind off your work.
 
I once knew a beautiful woman, and if, thirty years ago, I had found a pair of gloves with "E. B." marked in them, I would have known where to have found a hand for them.
 
Your teacher,
Andrew Bowman.
 
New York, March 12, 19—.
 
My Dear Teacher:
 
Have just received a note signed E. B., or Elizabeth Bradshaw. I will send you a copy of same: Dear Mr. Leighter:
 
One morning, two months ago, I called at your studio. I had heard you play the night before, and something in your music reminded me of the past, a happy past, in which I knew nothing of a destiny woven by the hand of wealth and rank. In my early girlhood what ardent vows Andrew Bowman, or "my gardener" as I loved to call him, and I exchanged, and when a wealthy father said "No," what despairing farewells; but with me forgetfulness was impossible.
 
I called him "My gardener," for his music ever breathed of tender flowers; he led my soul through bowers of beauty; he classified the flowers of sound, the eternal blossoms of harmony, each note yielded a luxury of fragrance; his music molded my imagination.
 
I remember the last time I heard him play. I seemed to see whole regions of tender flowers, flowers of every shade, from the gayest to the saddest; he played an "Andante" from Beethoven, and I saw red tulips, red from the heart of the tone-poet; then more soft his notes like the golden cactus, vows of an ardent lover. The whole garden was covered with a mosaic of flowers, each vying with the other, each adding to the brilliant beauty and rich perfection of the final allegro.
 
I said that your playing reminded me of "my gardener." As I heard you play, thought, feelings, were suddenly aroused from the unquiet grave in which for thirty years they have lain buried. I thought, "To-morrow I will call on the young artist." I did so. Knocking at your studio door I received no answer, so I made bold to enter, intending to wait until you came to your morning practice. Finding the piano open I removed my gloves, taking up a piece of well- marked music. At once I knew the handwriting, and my heart told me that he whom I called "my gardener" had once been your teacher. Ghosts of other days, shadowy forms, came before my eyes, and I wept as I have not done in years. I heard your step, and as you entered one door I made good my escape by another. I found later that I had left my gloves.
 
Why write all this to a busy artist? I wish to know if "my gardener" and your teacher is alive. Will you not come and take tea with an old lady to-night?
 
Yours sincerely,
Elizabeth Bradshaw.
 
This, my dear teacher, this is the mystery of the gloves. Will you not come and make me a visit?
 
Your pupil,
Irving Leighter.
 
Western Union Telegraph Company.
Philadelphia, Pa., March 18, 19—.
Andrew Bowman to Irving Leighter:
I come. Coming on next train.
Andrew Bowman.
 
 

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