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Cymric Strain - Book 2
By Una Howell (USA - circa 1893)
Chapter 15 - An Unprincipled Woman
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An Unprincipled Woman
October – warm and seductive one day, cool and bracing as rare wine the next – poured her rich dyes on town and countryside. And, as leaves danced crisply on sidewalks, our family morale wavering from grief arose and steadied under the pressure of work.
For several months Maynard’s credentials had been circulating through agencies and, almost without warning, he landed a post in a Chicago mail-order firm. At the same time Mary slid quietly into an Evanston kindergarten as an assistant and, true to his promise, Mr. Lutkin bequeathed to me all his juvenile pupils. Mother immediately assumed care of Lilly’s children and we all clicked into gear to the tune of David’s scarlet fever, a not too melodious accompaniment.
On a day before my wheels had fairly begun to turn, Dean Lutkin (we were a school now) asked me to follow him to his studio and as I pattered down the hall I wondered “What now, O fate?” I was not left in doubt. When he spoke, the director was in none too happy a mood. “Some of you young ladies have more than your share of gifts,” he said, to my puzzlement. “Mr. Hackett tells me that you have a promising voice. He wishes to offer you a scholarship in signing for which you will be expected, in return, to do studio accompanying.” He paused to get the effect of his disclosure. He must have seen how excited I was for he added, “I am almost sorry because effects are made with less work in singing and the temptation to do less work is strong, in other words to drift away from instrumental practice, and I cannot willingly let you give up the piano.”
“O, I wouldn’t think of such a thing,” I said and rushed home to tell Mama the good news. I had been furiously writing songs for years beginning with lullabies and now on the place of unrequited love. Now I would be able to sing them.
I had my first lesson almost immediately and was likely to burst forth with “O, it’s summer in the country” or “C’mout, c’mout my dearest dear” without preamble.
For every success, however, there is an antidote. Once when I admired a man’s garden and the perfection of his cabbages and cauliflowers, he said, “For every plant that grows there is a special worm or insect whose business is to destroy it.”
I certainly agreed with him, for already I had discovered a green-eyed creature snaking about in my presence, gnawing holes and seeking to do other disturbing damage.
My worm was the wife of a man connected with the university. For years she had been tireless in her efforts to undermine me. Finally it came to the attention of a friendly professor and he advised me to bring the issue to a head. Acting on his advice, I wrote her a note inquiring why she disliked me and telling her that I wanted her for my friend. With the missive I sent a gift and flowers.
For days it brought no response. Then her husband made an appointment for her to meet me. It was cancelled the next day without comment.
Two weeks later she came to my home and offered elaborate explanations that explained nothing. As she held forth I felt as if I had sat by and witnessed a soul in the process of shrivelling and when her squirming was over I knew that no affront she might offer in the future could hurt me. That particular worm had rendered itself impotent.
Mother had been almost angry at the note I had written. She thought I was all but inviting accusations from what she was pleased to call “An unprincipled woman.” She vehemently shared the lurid details with Dell Eberhart and Dell, always loyal to me, agreed.
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