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I. A Lover of Music Henry van Dyke

Section III.

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"Dat is not de sport," he would say, "to hol' one r-r-ope in de 'and, an' den pool heem in wid one feesh on t'ree hook, h'all tangle h'up in hees mout'--dat is not de sport. Bisside, dat leef not taim' for la musique."

Midsummer brought a new set of guests to the Retreat, and filled the ramshackle old house to overflowing. The fishing fell off, but there were picnics and camping-parties in abundance, and Jacques was in demand. The ladies liked him; his manners were so pleasant, and they took a great interest in his music. Moody bought a piano for the parlour that summer; and there were two or three good players in the house, to whom Jacques would listen with delight, sitting on a pile of logs outside the parlour windows in the warm August evenings.

Some one asked him whether he did not prefer the piano to the violin.

"NON," he answered, very decidedly; "dat piano, he vairee smart; he got plentee word, lak' de leetle yellow bird in de cage--'ow you call heem--de cannarie. He spik' moch. Bot dat violon, he spik' more deep, to de heart, lak' de Rossignol. He mak' me feel more glad, more sorree--dat fo' w'at Ah lak' heem de bes'!"

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Through all the occupations and pleasures of the summer Jacques kept as near as he could to Serena. If he learned a new tune, by listening to the piano--some simple, artful air of Mozart, some melancholy echo of a nocturne of Chopin, some tender, passionate love-song of Schubert--it was to her that he would play it first. If he could persuade her to a boat-ride with him on the lake, Sunday evening, the week was complete. He even learned to know the more shy and delicate forest-blossoms that she preferred, and would come in from a day's guiding with a tiny bunch of belated twin-flowers, or a few purple-fringed orchids, or a handful of nodding stalks of the fragrant pyrola, for her.

So the summer passed, and the autumn, with its longer hunting expeditions into the depth of the wilderness; and by the time winter came around again, Fiddlin' Jack was well settled at Moody's as a regular Adirondack guide of the old-fashioned type, but with a difference. He improved in his English. Something of that missing quality which Moody called ambition, and to which Hose Ransom gave the name of imagination, seemed to awaken within him. He saved his wages. He went into business for himself in a modest way, and made a good turn in the manufacture of deerskin mittens and snow-shoes. By the spring he had nearly three hundred dollars laid by, and bought a piece of land from Ransom on the bank of the river just above the village.

The second summer of guiding brought him in enough to commence building a little house. It was of logs, neatly squared at the corners; and there was a door exactly in the middle of the facade, with a square window at either side, and another at each end of the house, according to the common style of architecture at Bytown.

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The Ruling Passion
Henry van Dyke

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