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Cymric Strain - Book 2

By Una Howell (USA - circa 1893)

Chapter 6 - A Visit from Home

Copyright Scott Dunbar 2010

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A Visit from Home

Christmas in a strange town without the family circle, stripped it of much of its magic. Even the lake lost its splendour and looked grey and dour to us as it slapped the breakwaters with slushy water. My private lessons continued throughout the holidays. Mr. Lutkin was eager to push me as fast as possible. Practically every hour with him was touched with a highlight of some sort. He had already assumed the post of personal promoter, and when application was made at the school for a pianist to leaven a meeting or play an accompaniment, he would make all arrangements, tell me what pieces I should play, set the fee and see that I was called for and returned.

The first event of importance was in a palatial home on Ridge Avenue. The university string quartette (faculty) gave a program of chamber music and I played two solos. Mrs. Boker was so elated when she heard of it that she rushed over to the Springfield Post Office to tell brother that the home-grown shoot had borne a Christmas plum.

On the last day of the year Dell Eberhard hurried over to see if Mama could give them a room. Dell had bagged Mr. Thomas when he taught in the Springfield High School. Our house was packed to the eaves but they found a cheerful spot nearby. Mt. Thomas was a graduate of Northwestern and had secured a position as managing editor of a trade journal and Dell was to report fashions for it. We were pathetically glad to see them and get a fresh taste of home gossip.  Dell was the one to dish it out too, for she had a delightful sense of humor and served prosaic bits with just the right spice. Dell had never been pretty; her nose was irregular, her complexion of dubious texture and she was somewhat drab as to coloring; yet she was one of the most charming people I have ever met, rapier-keen, witty, and warmhearted. Her husband was Dell’s antithesis with a walrus moustache and heavyset frame; kind but boring. The sort that expects to be waited upon and pout when left on the side-lines too long.

 Dell was a born mixer and we loved to have her help us trim our Christmas tree but if her “Pettie” came along he was sure to hand a book on a twig and crash it or slip on an orange and completely side-track Dell’s attentions.

Dell was very interested in my affairs both of heart and hand. She added glamor to my clothes and, occasionally, for a musical soiree of importance, docked me in her own models. Since she was lissom and I well-rounded, I had to pull the strings of my armor to avoid looking like today’s sweater girl.



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)