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Cymric Strain - Book 2

By Una Howell (USA - circa 1893)

Chapter 10 - Apartment Life in Evanston


Copyright Scott Dunbar 2010

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Chapter 10

Apartment Life in Evanston

Eric’s personal short wave radio had kept him informed as to my plans and he took a chance on my returning promptly to Evanston. Mother and I had barely deposited our luggage when he put in an appearance. A friend had found a suite of rooms for us in a small apartment building and we cheerfully thought our troubles were over, but we had reckoned without thought for my piano. After facing endless obstacles in renting one, when it finally arrived it proved too large to negotiate the stairway and, since we were not at home, the truck driver had pushed it into the parlour of the Reverend Taylor, the first floor tenant, and departed – leaving diplomatic relations up to us.

Mr. Taylor was a student in the divinity school, commonly called a “Bib”. He had a small church near Chicago and, like many others, had given up a lucrative position to enter the ministry. He was married and the father of a small son, with six years of study ahead, when we arrived and my piano broke into his quiet life. For the exchange of one music lesson a week to Mrs. Taylor, I was allowed to invade their privacy every day. It was a queer experience to hear myself prayed for at morning prayers behind the portieres; not that I didn’t need them!

Occasionally the small boy would part the curtains and stare at my hands as they moved over the keyboard. Once he had said, “Miss Howell, I’m going to kiss you,” and he placed a wet kiss on my cheek. Sometimes he would tell his father in my hearing that he loved to hear me sing, and often when I descended the stairs to go to a party he would be waiting in the hall to say goodnight. He was a wistful little soul, hungry for affection, and my heart warmed up to him.
Our tiny quarters upstairs consisted of a living room, a bedroom and bath and mother devised kitchenette services in order to keep me on a diet. When the university doors swung open I was practically sitting on its front door stoop and went into action with gusto.

The School of Music (although it did not achieve that status until a year later) offered a two-year teacher’s course and I was due to receive its certificate the coming June. After that I was not worrying for Mr. Lutkin seemed to be making far-reaching plans and he finagled appearances while he mapped out a teaching project for me. One of his functions was as organist at St. James Church in Chicago, and often, at special cantata performances, he concealed me in the choir loft to hear the music and study the great pipe organ under his hands.

Winter blew in with chilling blasts and our rooms were so cold mother thought we should have to move but our friends were kind and invited us to share their firesides. The prospect of another Christmas away from Springfield, however, was distinctly depressing, and one evening when we were at tea at a friend’s, the head of the family said, “Una, how would you like to have passes to go home for Christmas?” I laughed at the irony of it. It didn’t occur to me that he really meant what he said. I did not know, then, how profitable being a United States Senator’s nephew can be.

A week or more later I was on a train with Mr. Lutkin and a party of his students when my friend came down the aisle and, leaning over my seat, said “Here are your passes, little girl, now go home and have a fine Christmas.” I could scarcely believe they were genuine and I rushed over to Mr. Lutkin to see if it were a joke.

“They look all right to me,” he said, and I was so excited I was speechless. From that moment life took on a brisker aspect, geared higher.

Cymric Strain - Book 2, by Una Howell (USA - circa 1893) Current

Chapter 1 - Evanston

Chapter 2 - The Department of Music
Chapter 3 - Northwestern University

Chapter 4 - Beaued

Chapter 5 - Late for the 1am Train!

Chapter 6 - A Visit from Home

Chapter 7 - Bill Declares Himself

Chapter 8 - Engaged to be Married
Chapter 9 - A Grand Piano for Me?

Chapter 10 - Apartment Life in Evanston

Chapter 11 - On the Train with a Pass

Chapter 12 - Eric’s Decline

Chapter 13 - The Organist

Chapter 14 - Lilly Dies

Chapter 15 - An Unprincipled Woman

Chapter 16 - Music Critic

Chapter 17 - A Rich Young Man

Chapter 18 - Helping the World

Chapter 19 - On a Bicycle Built for Two

Chapter 20 - Mendelssohn Concerto in E Major

Chapter 21 - The Meister Way

Chapter 22 - An Admirer

Chapter 23 - Gentlemen Callers

Chapter 24 - The Scotchman

Chapter 25 - Checking on Maynard

Chapter 26 - Rich Young Man - Not so Much

Chapter 27 - A Page Removed!

Chapter 28 - The Marriage

Chapter 29 - Plans for a New Marriage

Chapter 30 - Honeymoon

Chapter 31 - A New Home

Chapter 32 - Getting to Know Elgin -1901

Chapter 33 - Our First Mobile (Auto)

Chapter 34 - Life in Elgin

Chapter 35 - Preparing for Birth

Chapter 36 - Stillborn!

Chapter 37 - Leave Leeches to Treat an Ear Ache

Chapter 38 - Winfield Illinois Sanatorium