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Great Violinists And Pianists eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 224 pages of information about Great Violinists And Pianists.
of the young artist was to hear these great people.  One night he returned from hearing Malibran, and went to bed so late that he slept till nearly noon the next day.  To his infinite consternation, he discovered that his landlord had decamped during the early morning, taking away the household furniture of any value, and even abstracting the modest trunk which contained Ole Bull’s clothes and his violin.  After such an overwhelming calamity as this, the Seine seemed the only resource, and the young Norwegian, it is said, had nearly concluded to find relief from his troubles in its turbid and sin-weighted waters.  But it happened that the young man had still a little money left, enough to support him for a week, and he concluded to delay the fatal plunge till the last sou was gone.  It was while he was slowly enjoying the last dinner which he was able to pay for, that he made the acquaintance of a remarkable character, to whom he confided his misery and his determination to find a tomb in the Seine.

III.

Said the stranger, after pondering a few moments over the simple but sad story of the young violinist, in whom he had taken a sudden interest: 

“Well, I will do something for you, if you have courage and five francs.”

“I have both.”

“Then go to Frascate’s at ten; pass through the first room, enter the second, where they play ‘rouge-et-noir,’ and when a new taille begins put your five francs on rouge, and leave it there.”

This promise of an adventure revived Ole Bull’s drooping spirits, and he was faithful in carrying out his unknown friend’s instructions.  At the precise hour the tall stalwart figure of the young Norwegian bent over the table at Frascate’s, while the game of “rouge-et-noir” was being played.  He threw his five francs on red; the card was drawn—­red wins, and the five francs were ten.  Again Ole Bull bet his ten francs on rouge, and again he won; and so he continued, leaving his money on the same color till a considerable amount of money lay before him.  By this time the spirit of gaming was thoroughly aroused.  Should he leave the money and trust to red turning up again, or withdraw the pile of gold and notes, satisfied with the kindness of Fortune, without further tempting the fickle goddess?  He said to a friend afterward, in relating his feelings on this occasion: 

“I was in a fear—­I acted as if possessed by a spirit not my own; no one can understand my feelings who has not been so tried—­left alone in the world, as if on the extreme verge of an abyss yawning beneath, and at the same time feeling something within that might merit a saving hand at the last moment.”

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