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Chronicles of Avonlea Lucy Maud Montgomery

III. Each In His Own Tongue

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"Grandfather took it away when I came here. I think he burned it. And I long for it so often."

"Well, you've always got my old brown fiddle to come to when you must."

"Yes, I know. And I'm glad for that. But I'm hungry for a violin all the time. And I only come here when the hunger gets too much to bear. I feel as if I oughtn't to come even then--I'm always saying I won't do it again, because I know grandfather wouldn't like it, if he knew."

"He has never forbidden it, has he?"

"No, but that is because he doesn't know I come here for that. He never thinks of such a thing. I feel sure he WOULD forbid it, if he knew. And that makes me very wretched. And yet I HAVE to come. Mr. Blair, do you know why grandfather can't bear to have me play on the violin? He loves music, and he doesn't mind my playing on the organ, if I don't neglect other things. I can't understand it, can you?"

"I have a pretty good idea, but I can't tell you. It isn't my secret. Maybe he'll tell you himself some day. But, mark you, young Felix, he has got good reasons for it all. Knowing what I know, I can't blame him over much, though I think he's mistaken. Come now, play something more for me before you go--something that's bright and happy this time, so as to leave me with a good taste in my mouth. That last thing you played took me straight to heaven,--but heaven's awful near to hell, and at the last you tipped me in."

"I don't understand you," said Felix, drawing his fine, narrow black brows together in a perplexed frown.

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"No--and I wouldn't want you to. You couldn't understand unless you was an old man who had it in him once to do something and be a MAN, and just went and made himself a devilish fool. But there must be something in you that understands things--all kinds of things--or you couldn't put it all into music the way you do. How do you do it? How in--how DO you do it, young Felix?"

"I don't know. But I play differently to different people. I don't know how that is. When I'm alone with you I have to play one way; and when Janet comes over here to listen I feel quite another way--not so thrilling, but happier and lonelier. And that day when Jessie Blair was here listening I felt as if I wanted to laugh and sing--as if the violin wanted to laugh and sing all the time."

The strange, golden gleam flashed through old Abel's sunken eyes.

"God," he muttered under his breath, "I believe the boy can get into other folk's souls somehow, and play out what HIS soul sees there."

"What's that you say?" inquired Felix, petting his fiddle.

"Nothing--never mind--go on. Something lively now, young Felix. Stop probing into my soul, where you haven't no business to be, you infant, and play me something out of your own-- something sweet and happy and pure."

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Chronicles of Avonlea
Lucy Maud Montgomery

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