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Cymric Strain - Book 2
By Una Howell (USA - circa 1893)
Chapter 16 - Music Critic
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Dell and her husband had moved again from our neighbourhood to a house nearer town, but on Sundays they continued to drop in for gossip as usual.
On one of those occasions, when she and I were alone, Dell said, “Une, how would you like to be a music critic?”
My natural reply would have been an aesthetic shudder at my own incompetence but Dell’s faith in me was paramount and I tried to live up to it. Since coming to Chicago she had extended her writing of fashion notes and, in addition to her regular work on the trade journal, was contributing a column to the Saturday Evening Herald, a Chicago weekly devoted to music, art and drama.
According to Dell, the office of music critic carried no salary but it would give me entrée to recitals, the symphony and opera without charge. She also knew how thrilled I had been over hearing European artists. After Lilly’s death I had relinquished my organ position so I had more time to devote to it.
Dell was not daunted by my reluctance to assume the post and a few nights later announced to me that I was practically in. The next day I was interviewed by the editor and received my pass.
I remember well the first assignment (self-imposed). It was an organ recital in Evanston and I was so scared that I hadn’t decided to risk it. At dinner Maynard had tried to persuade me to eat a Spanish onion but I was not to be coerced. When Brother enjoyed something his salesmanship led him to adopt unusual tactics, but his “Just taste it. You have no idea how delicious it is” had completely missed fire.
“All right then,” he added. “I’ll tell you what I will do. If you will eat a whole onion, I’ll write your criticism for you,” and he proffered me the white tuber.
“It’s a go,” I agreed. The onion and I got together, I took some breath sweeteners, smartened my toilette and we were off.
The write-up, the points of which I dictated, pleased the editor and, from then on, things ran smoothly without Mayne’s offices. Smoothly, I should say, until a temptation not to be resisted tripped and I fell. The occasion was a recital by the teacher whose sensuality had driven me from his school. He was a veritable show-off anyway and I warmed to my subject and had the best workout of the season. The family approved my review which was frank and less complimentary than usual, but, but I shall never forget how gently the editor showed me the error of my way. I crept out of his office feeling as low as a snake’s “tummy”.
I wore the Herald badge for a year and loved the experience but a habit of going to bed nights was too hard and I was obliged to reign. One of my prides to the day, however, is that so able a newspaper man and fine a gentleman as John M. Dandy offered to make an editor of me.
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