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Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

21 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

: ....OUR SHORT STORY.! —*—


OUR SHORT STORY. —*— JIMMY FAGAN'S LOST LOVE. i BY BIDE DUDLEY. I I Charley Fiske, conductor of the orchestra of the Hamilton Opera Company, was at breakfast in the company's private roOOm; he stirred his coffei and gazed out of tne window. Heiety Yarin, ooinedian, sat on the table Two" or three minutes went by, and Fiske st.ill gazed. Heisty. stood it as long as  out of it, -Charley!" he' sai d. "Come out of it, Charley he- said. "What's the matter—home-sick?" • "j"vot me!" replied. the conductor, smiling. "I was just thinking of Jimmy Fagan, our last season's solo tenor. To-morrow we are booked for Chesterley, aren't we?" "Yes," said H^istv. But what of it? » Did Jimmv come from Chesterley?" "Yes He used to be a clerk in an iron- monger's store there. He had a wonderful tenor voice, and often sang at concerts and in amateur theatricals. One night, 4bout six vears ago, Hamilton and his friends attended a. social of the. Eiks at Ches. terlev, and Hamilton heard Jimmy sing. Next" day he persuaded the tenor to join his company. "That's the way he got me in Pres^pn, said Heisty, "enly I was in a cafe." "I'll never forget about Jimmy," Fiske went on. "He was in love with a girl in the town, but he had a rival whose father was weal thy. Jimmy wasn't earning more than three pounds a week when the Opera Com- pany came to the town. When Hamilton offered him five pounds as tenor soloist in his company he went to the- girl, and with- out mentioning this offer, asked her if she intended to marrv him. She said she cared a. great deal for but didn't think he could support her as befitted, her station in Jife: Can vou oeat that? A- station in life hfc Chesterley D "Turned, him down, eh?" "Flat! It broke Jimmy up. He found Hamilton without delay and joined the com- pany. Most of the details were learned by the fellows after the new tenor had become acquainted with them and had grown confi- dential.. "Heavens! but that boy could sing. And, believe me or not, his unhappy love affair mellowed his voice and made him throw his heart into h. work. He used to try to forget her, except when he was singing his solo. Then, it seemed, he appeared to be singing to her. He admitted to me once that he pictured her in his mind as he sprig. He had a Folo called There's Nobody Just Like You,' and every time he Bang it tears would, come into his eyes." "Sentimental chap, ch?" "I should sav so." "What about the other girl?" "She married the other fellow a month after Jimmy left Chesterley. They settled down and got on all right. All Chesterley knew about Jimmy's love -aff iir. "The next season when we went back to- the town a dozen people asked me about Jimmy, and they were all disappointed to learn he wasn't with us that year. They told me they realty believed the girl love-d Jimmy. But then—you know how people in smill towns talk. I used to see the girl at the operq. every time we visited that town. She a lNyays.sat .1 in. the right-hand stage box, and I used to imagine that she attended in the Hope that Jimmy might appear." "Fagan only stayed with the company one season, I understand?" "He was with us that one season, and then went to Durham to live. He got an appointment to sing in a big church there. But he came back last season. He hadn't been in Chesterley for four or five Fcn r. "Last. season we came upon Jimmy again, He walked in one morntng when we were re- hearsing and upset the whole performance. Such a handshaking there was! Such a fusil- lade of ior most of us knew him, and were delighted to see him again. "Hamilton asked him what he'was doing, and Jimmy Replied -he was thinking of re- joining the company. Hamilton was de- lighted at that, and in less than no time Jimmy was down in the programme as tenor once more. His voice was just as good as ever. "Next morning "he handed me the orchestration of a new ,,ong entitled 'I Love You Still.' and told me he was going to smg it in the fir?t part. It was a pretty ballad oSne JW a- fellow ? sentimenta! as Jimmy could ?kevery'te!Hng. Jimmy said it wasn t published and I didn't ?k him any more about it. I rehearsed the orchestra m it, and by the time we reached Chester ley. Jimmv was ready to sing it. "We'd all forgotten about Jimmy s romance. Being pretty busy, it didn't, occur to me at first that Chesterley was Jimmy a old home and the liome of his lost love. He didn't *say a word about it, but I was re- minded of it that afternoon when I saw people greeting the tenor in the street, and again later, when I saw him walking past tb,e home of the girl and looking at it in what I thought was a wistful way. "He was across the street, apd apparently so nervous he was almost tiptoeing alcr.g\ I was passing in a niotor-ca r aeMI-VI by a local man, and he pointed out the girl's house and told me the old story of the tenor's romance. Just about that time I noticed Jimmv, and it immediately occurred to me that Jimmy hadn't forgotten by any means. "At supper time I ventured to remark that I'd seen him near his old flame's home, but he pai-sed- it off with a grin. It didn't appear to me that he was bothered much. "But listen, Heisty! That night, at the opera Jimmv set the- whole town talking. The fact that hé was with the company had spread all over the town. It also becamfl noised about' that the 'girl was -to sit in the right-hand stage box at the evening per- formance 'accompanied "toy her mother. Ches- terlev was all worked up by 7 p.m. Every- "bodv wondered if Jimmy had forgotten, Hamilton afterwards told me the curiosity on the part of the, people to see how. Jimmy and the girl would act added a hu noted pounds to the gross receipts.. The fellows in the company whispered Jimmy's romance all through the drcsshig- room' before the curtain went up, and when Billy Mahan. the dancer, looked through the curtain and saw the girl in the box, the company was a mass of subdued excitement —all but Jimmy.. He was as cool as a encumber, and pretended not to hear the conversation flying around. "Jiromv was got up regardless,' and' I must say he looked a' man any girl migftt have been proud to own. When the curtain went up he was only about seven feetsfroni the girl. So far as we could see he didn't, "look at her until his turn camfe to sing. Then he looked, vou bet vour life. ."Starting the first verse, Jimmy looked squarely at the girl, and lord! but he sang. It seemed as though he was trying to rebuke her with his art, ft that's a good way to put it He threw his heart and soul into the song, and tears came into his eyes. The audience was absolutely noiseless, as though- spellbound. Jimmy shot that little love pong straight at her. As for the-girl-well, she !Oat there like a log.. "The chorus was real love stuff. It went like this:— I love you still, I love you still; No pow'r on earth my love. can kill. Where'er you are, whate'er you be, You still are all in all to me.' "That was the sort of sentiment the song contained. And Jimmy poured it into that girl's ears laden with what seemed to be the heartaches of a. bst love. The people in the audience looked from one to the other. The girl smiled, and seemed a bit uneasy. V "When Jimmv sat down the applause was a riot. He took three bows, but that didn't satisfy the audience. So he sang a third kverse, and concluded with the chorus, all the while shooting his gaze across the foot- lights into the eyes of the girl nn the 'box.. "When the audience finally quieted down Jimmy slippèd away and went to his' dress- ing-room. We didn't see him any more until we reached the hotel. There we found him asleep in bed. Next morning he appeared to be as happy as ever: Nobody mentioned the girl or the way he sang to her, as every- body feared he'd be embarrassed. "We weren't due ti)- leave Chesterley until 11 a.m. About ten. o'clock Jimmy and I strolled down town and into the poet office to see if there were any letters for any of us. A group of about fifteen townspeople was there. When they say Jimmy curiosity began working on them. Finally, an old fellow with white whiskers decided to quiz the tenor a bit. He approached Jimmy with the rest of the gathering at strict attention. How do, Jimmy? he said. "Why, how do you do, Mr. Barnes!' the tenor replied. Um—er, you have been away from town about four and a half years now, haven't You? Something like that.' Um--er, well, I heard you sing last nisrht. You did?' Ye4 Um e'r, nice song, that. "The townspeople were edging closer. Each one was all attention. You liked the song, eh? came from Jimmv. Create I said the old man. 'It just seemed to-er fit the occasion.' It aid? I Yes. I bet you wrote that song your- self? I didn't,' Jimmy replied. 'I re- ceived it from Durham four days go Well, who did write it? My wife.' cc < Youl- wha ? Old Mr. Barnes fell back a pace, amazed. Oh, heavens! ho exclaimed. "Jimmy had told the truth too."





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