Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/264

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252
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

with his sturdy song and dignified, soldierly bearing, the captain's effort was full of hints, in manner and motive, for the composer, the singer, and the orator. When, a few mornings after his notable improvisation, I found the captain's lifeless body, I was not surprised at the gentle demeanor of his many widows; they felt, perhaps more keenly than I, that one of the mighty had fallen.

It was several weeks before I found a substitute for the captain; at length a boy brought him, and I saw at a glance that he was the "general." With a word or two by way of greeting, he paused and stood erect before the bereft hens. Soon a pullet, the only shy member of the company, ran to him and put her head close to his. If the general moved, Ruth-like, she moved. A mourner of wider experience was no less interesting in behavior. For some moments she stood aloof in disgust; then, with more ruffle at her neck than was becoming, flew at the general with all fury. The astonished soldier returned several blows, then, checking himself, held his head to the ground, covered with confusion. The fair insulter had no idea of quitting; she continued the onslaught, finally ending it with a series of smart picks square on the lordly comb. The general "grinned and bore it," and thus ended the ludicrous mistake; for a mistake it was, the general fancying for an instant that he was dealing with a foeman worthy of his spur. On discovering his blunder, he was glad to suffer the most crushing humiliation. The new-comer proved a lusty crower; and, after taking his morning call several times, and finding it without variation, I recorded him:

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \key f \major \relative f'' { \cadenzaOn f8. f16 f4-> e->( c) \bar "||" } }


But one day, at a late hour, when he was at large, I heard him use very different intervals. Listening to the strange version over and over again, I was much surprised and perplexed; for, if I had erred in his case, which was a plain one, what might be my errors in intricate cases! I immediately changed the record to the new form, and wrote in the margin, "Every man is a genius in going wrong." But the next morning my ear caught the first form again. The second was this:

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \key a \major \relative f'' { \cadenzaOn fis8. fis16 fis4-> e->( cis) \bar "||" } }


The same to the eye, but very unlike to the ear. Had the second form been given in the key of the first, thus:

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \key f \major \relative f'' { \cadenzaOn f8. f16 f4-> e->( c) r2 d8. d16 d4-> c->( a) \bar "||" } }