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SZPPERL AT HIS WooDEN FIDDLE.
SEPPERL THE DRUMMER BOY.
MARY C. ROWSELL,
Author of "Traitor or Patriot ? The Pedlar and his Dog;' &c.
BLACKIE & SON, 49 & 50 OLD BAILEY, E.C.
GLASGOW, EDINPBURGII, AND DI LLIN.
I. THE WOODEN FIDDLE, . . 5
II. TWELFTH NIGHT . . ... 9
III. SCHOOLMASTER FRANK'S OFFER, . 18
IV. SCHOOL DAYS, ... .. . 29
V. THE OLD MUSIC-ROOM, .. . ... 37
VI. THE BREAK-DOWN OF THE POST-CHAISE, 46
VII. THE PLATE OF CHERRIES, . .. 57
VIII. THE LITTLE CHOIR-BOY, . .. .66
IX. THE PIGTAIL AND THE STORM AT SEA, .. 75
X. THE "LITTLE MOOR,". .. ... 86
SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
THE WOODEN FIDDLE.
N the borders of Hungary there is a
little village called Rohrau; such a
very little village, that if you have
the finest map ever made, I suppose
you will not find it marked on it. The Rohrau
folks are poor, hard-working people, who live by
the labour of their hands, toiling all day in the
fields; and at the time I am going to speak of,
which is more than a hundred years ago, a great
many of them were employed in the service of a
nobleman named Count Harrach, who lived in a
castle some little distance from the village.
As the people of Rohrau had so little money
in their pockets, there was only one shop, where
all sorts and everything they were most likely
6 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
to want could be bought; but anything par-
ticular they had to go for to Hainburg, a small
town about a mile oft:
Besides the shop, Rohrau of course had its
church, and a pretty one it was, with its white
walls and old wooden porch, standing in the
midst of the grave-stones, which on Sundays,
all through spring and summer time, the friends
of those resting beneath used to deck with fresh
flowers, and when the winter snows began to
fall-and often they fell very thickly-there
were still ivy and evergreen to twine into gar-
lands, and the pretty little dried flowers called
immortelles, which grow in such quantities on
the coast of Italy, and remain as beautiful, in their
way, for years after they have been plucked.
There was also the little village inn at Rohrau.
It was called the Crown, as a great many inns
in Hungary as well as in England are called; and
then last, but not least, there was the wheel-
wright's, Franz Haydn.
Among all the industrious inhabitants of Roh-
rau perhaps this Haydn was the most diligent,
for besides his work at the smithy, he was the
sexton; and on Sundays and red-letter days
he used to wash his face,-which was as frank
and good-looking a one as the best of his neigh-
bours when it was clean,-and sing in the church
THE WOODEN FIDDLE. 7
choir, for he had a fine tenor voice; and if the
organist was ill or otherwise unable to play,
Franz Haydn could take a hand at the organ,
though he did not really understand its manage-
ment, and only played from ear, as it is called.
He had a very good, amiable wife, who had
once been cook to Count Harrach, and a little
boy about five years old, whose name was Joseph,
but he was always called Sepperl, which in that
country is the short for Joseph, or if it cannot
precisely be called short, since if you count the
letters it has one more than Joseph has, still it
is the homely, endearing word, just as we say
"Harry," or Willy," or Polly."
Sepperl was a brown-faced, bright-eyed little
fellow; and besides that people at five years old
never are so very big, he was even small for his
age, but he made up for that by being rather
grave-looking, and less of a chatter-box than
many of his companions. All the same, they
were very fond of Sepperl, for he was really
full of fun, and amused them greatly with the
quiet merry things he said and did.
Among other fancies of the kind, he used to
carry about with him a little plank of wood,
which he had notched out with his father's tools
into something of the shape of a fiddle, and with
a bit of twig for a bow he would sit when he was
8 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
tired of play, fiddling away as if he was making
the grandest music possible; and, though his com-
rades used to laugh, and wonder what pleasure
he could find in it, perhaps in his own mind he
did hear such sweet sounds then as astonished
even himself, and his companions would have
given their favourite tops to be able to hear too.
The greatest musician who ever lived was stone
deaf. His name was Beethoven; and the grand
sweet music he made, and which thrills the
hearts of all who hear it, was never heard by
poor Beethoven's own bodily ears, yet in some
way beyond our understanding he must have felt
and understood it.
And so with his kind parents, and his wooden
violin, Sepperl was as happy a little boy as you
were likely to come upon between Rohrau and
Vienna, the great capital city of the country of
Austria, upon whose borders he lived-and Vienna
was a good way off, more than forty miles.
TWELFTH NIGHT. 9
IF Sepperl liked one time better than another,
it was Sunday, because there were cakes
for breakfast; little round cakes flavoured with
sugar and cinnamon, which his mother baked on
the broad stone hearth; and then there was the
choir singing in church, which he was never tired
of listening to, especially at Easter and Christmas
time, when everybody did their very best.
Perhaps Sepperl preferred Christmas time,
taken altogether; because then the pools and the
great round pond by his father's cottage were
frozen over, and he dearly loved a good slide. And
when the short days darkened in, and his father
had done his hammering and clanging in the
smithy, and his mother had tidied up the little
room and sat down to her spinning-wheel, they
used to have a grand concert all to themselves;
and these were their musical instruments: First
and best, was Sepperl's mother's voice, which
was very clear and melodious; then the black-
smith had an old harp, which he really under-
stood a little how to play upon, because he
had learned it some years before, when he had
10 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
spent a little while at Frankfort during his
"wander" year, as the German people call it.
In Germany it is the custom for young men,
before they settle down to their real business in
life, to put on a pair of stout shoes, take a staff
in their hands, sling a knapsack on their shoul-
ders, and start on a journey over their native
land, just to see what it is all like; and in the
course of these travels Sepperl's father had
found himself, as I tell you, at Frankfort, and
there he had bought himself a harp, and learned
to play on it. The harp, to begin with, had been
rather a worn-out concern, for such a poor man
was not able to afford to buy such costly instru-
ments as harps are; and now it was terribly the
worse for wear, for he constantly played on it,
and a good many of its strings were gone. Still
it was a harp; and as Haydn kept very good
time, and his wife's voice filled in the notes it
could not sound, it was not so very bad, espe-
cially as the spinning-wheel kept up its hum-
drum music ceaselessly, for her industrious hands
and feet never stopped.
Very probably the wheel went all the merrier
and steadier for the music it moved to. Some-
times the blacksmith joined in with his own voice
as well; and Sepperl also added his clear young
voice, though generally all his attention was ab-
TWELFTH NIGHT. 11
sorbed by the instrument he played, the wooden
violin which I have already told you he had made
for himself, and which, though it added nothing
to the sound, was of immense assistance in its
way, because Sepperl marked the time of the
singing with such exquisite precision.
Sometimes they sang hymns, sometimes the
old songs of the country, which are many of
them so very old that nobody knows who made
them; only that they are very plaintive, and now
and again very spirited, and once you have heard
them you never forget them.
The blacksmith had some relations living at
Hainburg. One of them was named Frank. He
was a schoolmaster; a clever man with a really
kind heart, though he had a stern manner, and like
the good Dr. Faustus, he "whipped his scholars
now and then"-if he thought they required it.
Master Frank was a very studious learned per-
son, and rarely gave himself a holiday; but one
day when his pupils were enjoying the pleasure
of doing nothing, excepting perhaps a little mis-
chief in their own homes, for a week or two at
Christmas time, he began to think that all work
and no play was beginning to make a very dull
old boy of him, and he laid aside his books, and
started for a walk to Rohrau to pay a visit to
his cousin the blacksmith, whom he had not seen
12 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
for an age, except passingly when Franz hap-
pened to come to Hainburg, which was rarely
New Year's Day was past and Twelfth Night
had come, and everybody was making holiday
and preparing for a merry evening. The short
day was already drawing in when Schoolmaster
Frank came in sight of Rohrau, for there had
been a heavy fall of snow and the roads were
almost impassable; and when he reached the
sharp twist between the tall hedges, a little way
from the village, and saw the lights already be-
ginning to twinkle in the casements, and heard
the barking of the house dogs very close in the
utter silence, he was not sorry, and mended his
pace a bit; for only a little way further, and quite
two stone-throws before you reached the inn and
the all-sorts shop and the other houses, stood
the blacksmith's cottage. A very snug-looking
little cottage it was, with its whitewashed walls
and deep overhanging roof, whose red tiles now
gleamed brightly through the mantling snow in
the dying day-gleams. Its front faced up the
road from Hainburg, overlooking a broad strip of
garden in which Haydn cultivated his vegetables,
and his wife grew a few flowers which she dearly
loved, and in summer time there were pretty
creeping plants shading the trellised porch; but
TWELFTH NIGHT. 13
nothing of course was to be seen of all this now
for the deep snow that covered it up soft and
thick, like an eider-down quilt.
The cottage had only two windows; one a
tiny casement high up in the sloping roof, and
hardly to be seen now for the icicles incrusting
it in all sorts of beautiful curious shapes; the
other a lattice with criss-cross little panes light-
ing the room within, which was kitchen, and
parlour, and all.
The firelight flickering upon it, as if it was
beckoning to the wayfarer to enter, was very
inviting; but somehow the garden hedge was
such a plump one, the gate such a little one, and
Schoolmaster Frank's legs such long ones, that he
passed it over, and before he well knew where
he was, he found himself at the entrance of the
smithy, which was attached to the back of the
The lower half of the door was shut and pad-
locked, but the upper flap was open, and School-
master Frank took a peep in. It was in very
neat order, with its wheels ranged against the
wall, and its horses',and mules', and donkeys' shoes
hung in rows above, but no light flashed from
the big anvil standing black and solitary in the
middle, with the huge hammer tilting on its head
against it; and the schoolmaster, turning about
14 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
and retracing his steps, succeeded this time in
finding the little white wooden wicket; but
before he could lay his hand upon its latch, a
sound of music broke forth from within the
cottage, and he stood still to listen.
He knew the tune well enough, as who did not ?
It was as old as the hills, or thereabouts; a sort of
carol, ending at every few lines with long-drawn
solemn chords, like a prayer, and somehow it
sounded sweeter in Schoolmaster Frank's ears
than ever it had seemed to him before. It was the
Song of the Three Kings, or as we English people
say, the Three Wise Men, who came from the far
East to lay their offerings of gold, frankincense,
and myrrh at the feet of the new-born Christ child
lying in His manger cradle. And three voices
were singing it to some twanging sort of instru-
ment, which Schoolmaster Frank supposed must
be a harp, if it was not a jew's harp. The voice
was a man's, and a very true tuneful one it
was; the second rang soft and plaintive as any
woman's he had ever heard; and the third was a
childish treble, clear as a bell. Schoolmaster
Frank, who considered himself a mighty judge
of music, and really was no mean one, expressed
his approval of what he heard by wagging his
head to it. He could not help doing so, for it
sounded very sweet as it floated forth upon the
TWELFTH NIGHT. 15
silent evening air. It might have been better
still if only the accompaniment had been equally
melodious; but though, to be sure, it could not
have kept better time, it twanged and jarred at
every few notes, in a manner that set the listener's
teeth on edge almost as badly as they did when
his careless scholars scraped their slate pencils
squeakingly across their slates.
Notwithstanding, he was quite sorry when the
hymn drew to its end, and with something very
like a tear in his generally stern eyes and very
unmistakable curiosity all over his face, he noise-
lessly lifted the latch, pushed open the gate, and
stepped with soundless tread over the snow into
the shadow of a great bush which partially
covered the lattice. Screened by its long snow-
laden arms, he stretched his neck, and, peeping in,
saw by the brilliant blazing of the pine-logs on
the broad hearth, whose flame seemed to move to
the music, a man playing upon a harp, a woman
with a kind beautiful face seated near him, her
hands diligently plying her spinning-wheel, and,
seated opposite them on a low, three-legged stool,
a little boy of some four or five years old, gravely
scraping a bit of stick across a small plank of
wood, his eyes now attentively watching the two
other performers, now veiled by their drooping
long-lashed lids as he dropped their gaze to the
16 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
instrument he was shouldering, and the fiddle-
stick he was fingering so deftly.
"That is my Cousin Haydn," said Schoolmaster
Frank to himself as he recognized his relation.
" And he really hasn't a bad voice-for a black-
smith. And the goodwoman is his wife, I suppose,
and the little lad-Hi! hi! good evening to you,
cousin," he shouted, as just at that instant the
music ceased. Good evening to you," and he
rapped loudly on the window panes.
All three started and looked round; and then
the blacksmith rose, and setting aside his harp,
went to the door and opened it wide. "Cousin
Frank, as I live!" he cried, holding out his hand.
" Come in! come in! you are bravely welcome."
And Schoolmaster Frank, first shaking the
snow from his cloak, stepped into the little room,
and when he had been introduced to the black-
smith's wife, whom he had never before seen,
he sat down in the warm corner of the settle
which she begged him to take, and nothing loath,
for he was tired with his walk and cold. "You
look very snug here," he said, looking round with
a pleased smile. "But I am afraid I have in-
terrupted your concert."
"Oh, no," laughed the blacksmith's wife. It
was just ended, for it's close on supper-time," and
she bustled about for the platters and dishes.
TWELFTH NIGHT. 17
"Don't let it boil over, Sepperl," she added to
Sepperl, whom she had set to watch the great
pot simmering over the fire. And indeed, it
seemed as well to remind him, for having taken
a good private look at the visitor, he was again
playing a soundless tune on his fiddle, very much
as if it interested him more than the biggest pot
or schoolmaster ever created; though, to be sure,
the fragrance of the stew was beginning to smell
particularly nice, and it was only on high days
and holidays like New Year and Twelfth Night,
as this was, that they had such things as stew
for supper. Ordinarily they had only black
bread, with a scrap of hard cheese or a scraping
of the sourish white butter the country folks
about that part make of skim milk.
"That's your son, I suppose?" said the visitor,
who had been quietly eyeing the little boy ever
since he sat down. "And his name's Sepperl, is it ?"
"Joseph. Yes. Go and shake hands with the
gentleman, Sepperl," said his mother.
A good boy, I hope," said Schoolmaster Frank
as Sepperl obeyed.
As boys go," replied she, a very good boy."
"That's a fine instrument of yours, sir," said
the schoolmaster, pointing to the wooden fiddle
which Sepperl held carefully tucked under his
arm. "Is it an Amati, or a Guarnerius ?"
18 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
Sepperl looked from the stranger to his father
with eyes which the big words seemed to have
stretched to their widest.
Or a Strad, perhaps?" added the schoolmaster
with an amused smile. "Or who may be the
"I was," answered Sepperl as he handed it to
the visitor, who held out his hand for it.
"And not so bad, upon my word," said School-
master Frank examining it, for a little fellow
like you. You like music, hey?."
The child seemed about to speak, but some-
how only a breath escaped him, and his eyes
alone told how dearly he loved it.
SCHOOLMASTER FRANK'S OFFER.
N the meantime the good wife had laid the
table. How fortunate it was, she thought,
that she had prepared the stew and made a little
batch of white bread, and that there was a good-
sized morsel of Italian cheese in the cupboard;
and presently, when her husband had fallen into
a chat about a hundred and one things with
SCHOOLMASTER FRANK'S OFFER. 19
their guest, she called Sepperl aside, and giving
him a few kreutzers, which is about the same as
a few pence, told him to go to the inn and buy
a pint of the red wine, and to mind how he came
with it along the slippery road, and to leave the
fiddle at home; for likely as not he would other-
wise have gone out with it tucked under his arm,
it was such an inseparable companion.
So Sepperl set out, and reached the inn in
double quick time, for the boys had made slides
every inch of the way, and he took care to use
them; but though he was sorely tempted to come
back by the same means, he wisely decided not,
and reached home quite safely, just as his father
had lit the little oil lamp and was inviting his
guest to sit down and eat a bit of supper with
Schoolmaster Frank's walk had given him an
appetite, and he did excellent justice to the stew;
and was polite enough to tell Sepperl's mother
that Count Harrach had had a great loss when
she left off being his cook; and that his cousin
Joseph was a fortunate man to have won her;
and the blacksmith smiled, very well content to
see his guest in such a pleasant humour, for he
knew Schoolmaster Frank was not so very easily
pleased; but he winced a little when, having
drunk the health of his host and hostess in a cup
20 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
of the red wine, Schoolmaster Frank turned to
the poor old harp in the corner, and, bowing to it
as if it was a person, said: "And here's to your
speedy mending, friend."
"If, indeed, it's not past it," rather sadly
smiled the blacksmith. "But though you may
not admire it much, Cousin Frank, I love it
dearly, for it's an old, old friend."
"And good things they are," said Schoolmaster
Frank, as if he might be a little sorry for having
made fun of the poor harp; and in a day or so,
when I go to Vienna, I will get some fresh strings
for it, and beg you to accept them. That will
improve its condition very much, for it has been
a good instrument in its time; and in a way, a
good thing is a good thing to its life's end. And
talking of ages," he went on, laying his hand on
the curly locks of Sepperl, who sat perched on a
stool beside him, "how old may be our young
Tell the gentleman, Sepperl," bade his mother.
Five and three-quarters," said Sepperl.
"Think of that! Quite elderly!" smiled his
questioner. "Can you read?"
"A little," answered Sepperl truthfully, for to
be sure it was very little.
"And write?" Sepperl shook his head.
"And what about hic, hcec, hoc?"
SCHOOLMASTER FRANK'S OFFER. 21
Really, Sepperl began to think their visitor
was a very strange person. Ever so long ago,
when he was a little boy, that is to say, his mo-
ther used to sing him some funny rhymes about
a famous learned man who was called "the great
Agrippa," who made it his chief business in life
to try and keep little boys in order; and if
Schoolmaster Frank had only had a long beard
instead of a great smooth chin, and worn a tall
red cap like an extinguisher or a fool's-and how
odd that was! pondered Sepperl. How came such
a learned man as the great Agrippa to wear a
cap like they put on a dunce's head? And alto-
gether Sepperl's wits began to run so wool-gather-
ing, that when Schoolmaster Frank repeated his
question, and said: "How about HIC, HEC, HOC?"
he burst out laughing, because it sounded in his
quick little ears for all the world like the quack-
ing of the geese in their pond by the smithy.
"Hic, hcec, hoc?" he said, imitating Schoolmaster
Frank's tones exactly; and though he struggled
also to imitate his solemn manner, because he
thought it would be polite, it was no use, and
the odd words tumbled out with a merry laugh
that sounded like the marbles did when he had
a hole in his pocket.
That is Latin," said the blacksmith, frowning
Sepperl to order.
22 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
"The Latin for this and that," said School-
master Frank, pretending not to notice the out-
burst. "Haven't you begun to learn Latin yet?"
"No," said Sepperl.
"Then it's high time you did," said School-
master Frank, in tones that sent all Sepperl's
mirth down into his shoes. "You'll never be a
man till you know Latin."
Sepperl had an idea that his father did not
know it, and he thought his father was by a
very long way the best man he had ever known;
but he held his tongue.
"What do you mean to be when you are a
man?" continued Schoolmaster Frank.
"A fiddler," answered Sepperl unhesitatingly.
The blacksmith laughed. "We hope Sepperl
will go into the church," he explained more
"And to do that, he must be a good Latin
scholar," insisted Schoolmaster Frank.
"Precisely," assented the blacksmith; "and I
am sure he would like to learn, and we hope he
will, when-" Then he came to a stand-still; for
he was a very poor man, and the only person
in Rohrau who taught Latin did not teach it for
In this country, of course, it is not very usual
for poor working people's sons to become clergy-
SCHOOLMASTER FRANK'S OFFER. 23
men, and Franz Haydn's wish for Sepperl to go
into the church would be an ambitious one; but it
was not quite the same in Austria, where many
clergymen were born of humble parents; and
therefore Schoolmaster Frank showed no surprise
at his cousin's wish for the little lad's future; he
thought it a very good and reasonable one, and
all he said was: "Quite right, quite right. It is
the same as knowing everything, to have Latin at
your fingers' ends." That was the schoolmaster's
view of it, because that was the way he had it.
"A youth," he went on, can then be faber succ
fortance. Would you like to be faber sauce for-
"Yes," said Sepperl warmly. Not that he had
the shadow of a notion what the words meant,
but he liked their sound; 'he was sure they sig-
nified something grand and good. "What does it
mean?" he added after a pause.
"The builder of his own fortunes," replied
Schoolmaster Frank. "Like me, for example.
Would you like to be like me?"
Sepperl did not feel quite sure. Schoolmaster
Frank had such a long sharp nose, and hardly a
hair on his head, and what there was of it stuck
up all bristly; and though his eyes were bright
enough they were ferrety little things, as well as
you were able to see them for the huge spec-
24 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
tackles covering them. "I should like to be as
wise as you are," he said at last.
And Schoolmaster Frank patted the little boy's
head; for that was by no means an unintelligent
answer, he considered.
"And if it is as you say that a person who has
Latin at his fingers' ends has everything, he would
have music, fiddling, and singing, and organ and
"Stop, stop! wait a bit!" laughed Schoolmaster
Frank. "Well, at all events, it would help him to
understand all music means a great deal better;
and besides, since you are to be in the church,
you must, of course, study music. You seem to
have a respectable ear for it. But it's no play-
work, mind you, like scraping your wooden
fiddle there. Understand?" said Schoolmaster
"Sepperl is a diligent lad," said his mother.
"And a good boy, isn't he, mother?" added the
blacksmith. "And we're not afraid of saying so
"Good!" nodded Schoolmaster Frank approv-
ingly. Now, look here, Cousin Haydn," he went
on; "what do you say? I have, as you know,
a fine school in Hainburg; and many a lad's
making it has been. What do you say to my taking
Master Sepperl here for one of my scholars, and
SCHOOLMASTER FRANK'S OFFER. 25
teaching him-free, gratis, for nothing-reading,
and writing, and ciphering, and Latin, and-"
"And music?" put in Sepperl.
"Ah! that we shall see about," said School-
master Frank with another grim smile. "Well,
what do you say, cousin?" he added continuing
to address the blacksmith.
Haydn hardly knew what to say with his lips,
but his eyes shone very gratefully, and those of
his wife brimmed over with tears of joy. "We
are truly thankful to you," she said at last.
Now, good' That is settled then," said
Schoolmaster Frank, beginning to button his
coat, for seven was striking from Rohrau church
belfry. "He will have to bring his dinner with
him, for he will stop all day and come home to
sleep. School begins again on Monday, eight
o'clock. Do you hear, sir?" he added, turning
on Sepperl-" eight o'clock to the stroke. No
ten-o'clock scholars for Schoolmaster Frank. And
now I must be going. It's a good stretch from
here to Hainburg. Three quarters of an hour's
"Half an hour at the outside," protested the
blacksmith's wife, hospitably begging her guest
to sit down again.
Twenty minutes," said the blacksmith.
"Ten," said Sepperl, contemplating his new
26 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
friend's legs. But Schoolmaster Frank's legs
were not so young as they had been, and he said
as much; and seeing that he was bent on going,
Sepperl's mother took his cloak from the arm of
the settle where she had hung it to get dry and
warm, and the blacksmith helped him on with
it; and then, putting on his own, and taking his
lantern, he accompanied his guest a good way
along the road home.
When he reached home again, some half an
hour later, he found Sepperl gazing thoughtfully
into the fire.
Not abed yet, Sepperl?" he said as he hunted
for his pipe in the mantel-shelf corner.
"I let him sit up till you came back, for a
treat," said his wife.
"Father," said Sepperl when the pipe had been
"What's a Gu-Gua-Guar-"
"Don't stammer," said the blacksmith; "it's a
"The word's such a big one, and I never heard
it before," said Sepperl; "nor Am-Am-"
"Amati, do you mean?"
"Nor Amati neither. What do they mean?"
"They are the names of two of the most famous
SCHOOLMASTER FRANK'S OFFER. 27
Oh, now I understand. And where do they
"In Italy," said the blacksmith, spying into
his pipe to see if it was clean.
"Italy's a nice place, isn't it, father?"
"A very beautiful place, yes."
"Have you ever been there?"
"I wonder whether I shall ever go there when
I'm a man."
Not if you don't go to bed in good time while
you're a little boy, certainly not. Hadn't Sep-
perl better be getting to bed now, mother?" the
blacksmith inquired of his wife; but the splash-
ing she made with washing up her dishes pre-
vented her hearing.
"Father?" again began Sepperl.
"What's a Strad?"
"What's a what?"
A Strad. I know I say that right, because it's
nothing of a little word. Schoolmaster Frank
asked me if my violin was a Strad."
"Oh! that's short for Stradivarius. School-
master Frank was poking his fun at you," said
the blacksmith, puffing his pipe.
28 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
"And what's a Stradivarius?"
Why, bless my soul, a violin! Stradivarius
is another great violin maker. The finest of all,
some folks consider."
I should like to hear a Stradivarius. Wouldn't
"I have heard one."
"What's it like, father?"
Oh! too lovely for words to describe-like
the singing of some sweet bird-like the rippling
of our little meadow stream over the pebbles-
like the sobbing of the wind on a stormy night-
like the stars, and the sunshine, and the softly-
dropping rain-like everything your eyes can
see or your ears hear, that is best in God's crea-
"What does creation mean, father?"
"Everything that God made, child. 'And
when He had made it, He saw that it was good.'
You know where that is written, Sepperl?"
Sepperl bowed his head reverently. And did
God create music, father, for that is best of all?"
"My little lad," said the blacksmith, stroking
the boy's earnest, upturned face, "when you
are older you will come to understand all these
things out of your own heart better than a poor
ignorant man like I am can tell you. Only be
a good, obedient child, and mind what School-
SCHOOL DAYS. 29
master Frank has so generously offered to teach
you. Mother, Sepperl's very sleepy."
"No, I'm not, mother. Father?"
Well, what now?" for the blacksmith was
nodding a little over his pipe.
"Who makes the music for the violins, and the
'cellos, and the harpsichords?"
"Those who have the talent for it."
"And what are their names?"
Ah! Scarlatti, and Palestrina, and Bach-
and and bless my heart, Sepperl! if you
don't go to bed, how in the world are you to be
up in time to help me heat the forge to-morrow
morning? And I've to tire Farmer Ludwig's
cart-wheel first thing. Holiday time's over now.
So good-night. Sleep well. Sweet dreams."
And very sweet Sepperl's dreams were.
THE blacksmith was always at work in sum-
mer time soon after four o'clock, and in
winter time not much later; and before Sepperl
started that Monday morning for his first day at
30 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
school he had helped his father light the smithy
fire, broken the ice in the pond, and ladled up a
pailful of water for his mother, and done all the
little odd jobs he was accustomed to do. Then
when he had eaten his breakfast of black bread
and skim milk, and washed himself, and brushed
his thick curly locks, till he looked as neat as a
new pin, he slung over his shoulders the little
wallet his mother had made for him, and took
his cap to set off to Hainburg.
"There is your dinner, Sepperl," said his
mother, slipping a little paper parcel into the
wallet. "Now, away with you, and when school
is over, don't loiter on the road, but come straight
And be attentive, and mind your book," said
his father. Then they both gave him a parting
kiss, and away went Sepperl at a good steady
When he arrived at the school he found a
crowd of the school-boys already collected. Of
course they looked hard at him, because he was
new and such a little fellow. But there were
other new boys besides Sepperl; and in a few
moments the clock struck eight, and all streamed
together into the school-room. Schoolmaster
Frank was already at his post, seated in a tall-
backed immense chair, which rested on a slightly
SCHOOL DAYS. 31
raised platform. Before him was a desk, on
which stood a huge pewter inkstand, ornamented
with a tall, brand-new quill, a pile of books, a long
roll of parchment, and last, not least, a birch rod.
Now! Silence! Take your places," thun-
dered Schoolmaster Frank, when they were all
inside and the doors were closed.
Sepperl felt rather scared for the moment. It
was all very well to be told to take his place, but
where was it? The master did not, however, leave
him long in doubt, but pointed to the lowest end
of the row of smallest boys.
Some of the bigger ones grinned as Sepperl
trotted to the place pointed out to him; but School-
master Frank soon frowned them down. "It is
the ill weeds that grow apace," he said. "Let us
hope Joseph Haydn may be little and good."
And take him altogether, he did not disap-
point these hopes. He soon began to read and
cipher very creditably; and got out of pot-hooks
and hangers into round hand without so very
many strokes of that terrible birch rod. As to
the Latin, he made such progress in it as to win
some words of praise from Schoolmaster Frank;
and one day, at the end of the class lesson, he
called him to his desk and made him decline
bonus puer all through, and as no doubt you
know, bonus puer means "good boy."
32 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
Good," said Schoolmaster Frank when Sep-
perl was safe through it. "A boy that can do
that deserves to sing in church. Would you like
to sing in church?"
And after their usual fashion Sepperl's eyes
said, even more than his lips, how dearly he
Good," again said his master. "Well, I have
already spoken about it with the choir-master of
our church; and to-morrow you will begin to
You may imagine that Sepperl was quite out
of breath that afternoon when he reached home,
in his eagerness to tell his parents of this.
The choir-master was much pleased with his
voice; it was not only so melodious and true,
but he also kept such excellent time that he
was as useful to his fellow-choristers as that
curious little machine called a metronome, which,
when set going, moves to and fro as regularly as
the pendulum of a clock.
And now Sepperl had to stop at Hainburg all
day on Sundays to sing in the church services,
and very often his parents would walk over from
Rohrau to hear him. "You must be very proud
of your little lad," the good folks would whisper
to the blacksmith as he stood listening to the
young voice, ringing sometimes all alone in a solo
SCHOOL DAYS. 33
to the beautiful carved roof of the church, like a
lark's voice singing up into heaven's own blue
sky; and if his mother forgot her prayers for a
moment to steal a look at her little son in his
snow-white surplice and his rosy, cherub face,
that must have been more pleasing than offend-
ing to the dear God, who made and loveth all,"
and gave Sepperl his glorious gift.
On Sunday Schoolmaster Frank permitted
Sepperl to dine with his family. It was not a
large one, consisting only of himself and his
wife. After dinner they both had a way of going
to sleep. Schoolmaster Frank's wife, who was a
kind, fat, good-natured woman, called it "taking
forty winks," but Sepperl, with his notions of
time, reckoned the winks, all counted, to be
nearer a thousand; and as lads of his age do not
care much for any DAY-winks at all, he found it
dreadfully tedious work to sit, daring scarcely
even to turn the page of his book, and nothing to
do but listen to the winks, and the buzzing, and
skitter of the flies' wings in the silent room. There
was a nice garden at the back of the house, and
generally, after a little while, he would contrive
to make his escape into it, and amuse himself
there; for he dearly loved flowers, and green
grass, and the fresh open air.
One day, however, it poured with rain-
34 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
cats, dogs, and pitchforks, as people say; the
very wettest Sunday he had ever known. Down
in rivulets streamed the rain upon the window-
panes; fretfully moaned the wind round the
walls of the house, which was a very large one,
and once upon a time had belonged to a great
nobleman; and wide as caverns yawned Sepperl's
mouth as he watched the rain and listened to the
savage wind music. All the same, he was very
wide awake, and, curious to say, the more he
yawned the wider awake he seemed to get. Some-
times he had felt a sort of satisfaction in seeing
Schoolmaster Frank asleep, just like any ordin-
ary human being might be, for all the week he
was as wide awake as a weasel-seemed, in fact,
to have eyes all over him; but now Sepperl
longed for the time to come when he would
Alack! it still wanted full half an hour to that
Suddenly Schoolmaster Frank began to snore
in a long, slow, comfortable, endless sort of way;
and in a minute or two his wife followed suit.
Sepperl amused himself with listening to the duet
for a little while, "That is what choir-master
calls a fugue," he thought to himself-" Taking up
the tune one after the other;" but the tune was
not musical, he would more have enjoyed a cat's
SCHOOL DAYS. 35
chorus; and unable to bear himself any longer,
he slid ever so softly down from his high stool,
and stole out on tiptoe into the great entrance
It was a bare, gloomy place; here and there
hung a pair of stag's horns on the walls, and
a battered old breast-plate and a helmet, and
a rusty sword or two, and in one corner stood a
marble statue with one arm broken off, and the
other outstretched one turned into a peg by the
boys, who had flung their caps and neckerchiefs
across it; and half a dozen old caps and hats were
piled atop of each other on its head, as if it was
some "old do'" Jew man.
It must have all been a fine place once upon
a time," thought Sepperl to himself as he stood in
the middle of the seamed flags paving the hall.
"I wonder what upstairs is like," he went on, as
his eyes fell on the broad oaken staircase; and
then he crossed the hall, and, mounting a stair or
two, he glanced up to the massive carved banisters
which hid the landing-place above. It seemed very
silent and solitary up there; and no wonder, for
nobody occupied those upper rooms. Schoolmaster
Frank had bought the old mansion years ago now
for a small price, because it was too old-fashioned
to please most rich people, and too big for ordinary
folks; but just the very place for a large school,
36 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
with its spacious rooms on the ground-floor, and
the two or three small rooms in its odd corners for
their own private use, which his wife made very
snug; but the upper floors had been given over to
the attentions of the rats and mice, who used to
play such Meg's diversions in them, and make
such noise behind the wainscotting from top to
bottom, that the silly school-boys loved to say the
house was haunted. Sepperl, however, was not
in the least afraid of ghosts, or at any rate not
in broad daylight; and as he looked he thought
it would be very amusing to explore those
deserted chambers-far pleasanter, at all events,
than kicking his heels in the hum-drum old
parlour down below.
And so without more ado Sepperl went up the
staircase, leaving the marks of his little feet in
the thick-lying dust. He went just a trifle
slower as he neared the top, for it was all as still
and gloomy as a vault, and not a sound was to
be heard but the moaning of the wind through
the empty rooms and corridors, and the splash of
the rain as it drove against the windows.
And still, when he had reached the top and
found himself in a broad gallery almost as large
as the hall below, his heart beat rather fast, and
he thought just for the moment that he would turn
round and go down again; and whether he would
THE OLD MUSIC-ROOM. 37
ever have had the courage to open one of those
great heavy closed doors that were in recesses in
the wall, running round three sides of the gallery,
is of course impossible to say, because he never
tried, but contented himself with stealing across
the oaken floor towards a door exactly opposite
him, which stood a little way ajar. Very, very
gingerly he pushed that a trifle wider open, wide
enough to get his nose inside, and peeped in.
THE OLD MUSIC-ROOM.
T was not a very large room; and his courage
began to grow when he saw that it had two
windows which must look straight across the
great grass-grown fore court into the street.
These windows were very tall and narrow, with
little formal square panes right to the top; and
high window seats wide enough for even School-
master Frank to sit down in-as far as could be
seen that is, for the long curtains half concealing
them. But such curtains as they were, for all
the silk and satin they were made of! It was
a wonder how they held together, they were so
38 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-EOY.
ragged and moth-eaten. The walls of the room
were wainscotted like the school-room down-stairs,
but of a much prettier pattern, flowers and gar-
lands entwining flutes, and harps, and Pan pipes
right up to the ceiling, which must once have been
very handsome, for it was dotted all over with
stars, but their gilding was dull and tarnished now;
and among these curious faces looked down from
a faded blue sky, but so much of their colour was
gone that they made Sepperl shiver a little and
drop his eyes to the floor. That was a good deal
worm-eaten and slippery with age. Two or three
tall-backed carved chairs stood about on it, but
the gilded leather of their seats and backs hung
peeling off in strips in many places.
Excepting these, there was no furniture of any
sort in the room but an old harpsichord; it must
have been very old, for Sepperl had never seen one
like it, and he had now turned seven years old
last March, and this was August-excepting in
a curious old picture-book his father had once
shown him. It must have been a very grand
thing long ago, its beautiful light-coloured wood
was smooth and shining; but now it was patched
all over with damp, and its beautiful inlaid
painted flower border was dim with dust. Its
key-board was open, and Sepperl laid his hand
softly on the yellow old mother-o'-pearl notes.
THE OLD MUSIC-ROOM. 39
When, he wondered to himself, had they last
sounded? and if he pressed them down would
they sound now? and lo! before he was aware,
they quivered and clattered as if you were shak-
ing up a box of old bones and wire together; and
there sounded a strange ting, rang-a-dan rattle
that startled Sepperl, and made him think that if
there were not ghosts of persons, surely there
must be of sounds. And-hark! hush!-rush-
bang-squish! Well, if Sepperl was not fright-
ened-and really he was not, he liked it-he
knew who was. Those rats and mice in the wains-
cotting. Perhaps, in all the born days of the most
great-grandfatherly Don Whiskerandos among
them, never had been heard such a curious noise.
But Sepperl laughed merrily to himself. Those
dear, bright-eyed, long-tailed, nimble little friends
of his. He had a large little family of white
ones in a box at home. Only to think what a
commotion he had created behind the wainscot-
ting there with his strumming! Perhaps if he was
very quiet for a little while they would get over
their fright and begin their peregrinations again.
The wainscot was full of holes big enough for
him to see, and no doubt they came out and
raced about when they were sure of having it all
to themselves. But they were such keen-sighted,
cunning creatures, and, if they caught even a
40 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
glimpse of a hair of one of his shining curls,
would never venture. Well, he would hide.
Behind those curtains was just the very place.
And Sepperl stole on tiptoe, light as a feather,
towards the window nearest the tall chimney-
piece-they dearly love the crannies of a hearth-
stone-and creeping in between the heavily
falling folds of the silk, lightly brushed them
aside, where they lay half covering the window
seat, in order to make himself a clear space to sit
As he did so a loud noise almost brought his heart
into his mouth. A tremendous noise it seemed
to him, but that was only because the place was
so strangely silent, and the noise so close to him;
at his very feet, which the falling thing touched
with a clashing jingle and a sort of boom-boom.
Verily for a deserted chamber this was a very
noisy one, thought Sepperl, stooping down to see
what it was.
Well, it was a tambourine of all things in the
world. A shabby old thing enough, with one
of its bells missing, but as sound in its drum as
heart could desire. Sepperl picked it up. He had
an immense admiration for tambourines; they
seemed such curious instruments, and one day he
had stopped so long watching a Savoyard man
playing one in the street that he had been late
THE OLD MUSIC-ROOM. 41
for school, and the birch rod and he had made
acquaintance. He thought if he had a tambour-
ine of his own he should be the happiest boy in
the world. He forgot now all about the rats and
mice, and stood fingering the bells and rubbing
his little fingers over the dusty old parchment
till they were black with dust. At last with a
sigh, just as he was about to lay it carefully in
the window seat, he caught sight of another
tambourine just peeping between the curtain
folds. It was exactly like the other, old and
discoloured. A little while longer, and if they
were left there they would be all to pieces.
What a pity! And since rats and mice have an
appetite for parchment, it was a wonder they
had not feasted on it; but perhaps the jingling of
the bells had scared them from attempting any
second attack on them.
Did Schoolmaster Frank know the tambourines
were there? thought Sepperl, as he took the
other one in his other hand to examine it; and
if he did-
"Joseph-Joseph Haydn! where are you, sir?"
Sepperl started. It was Schoolmaster Frank's
voice; and before he could answer, came the
clock's striking the quarter before church time.
"Joseph, I say," again shouted Schoolmaster
Frank. "Where the mischief are you, sir?"
42 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
"Oh dear! oh dear!" lamented Frau Frank's
voice. "He's out in the rain, depend upon it.
The young pickle! Soaked to the skin."
"No, no!" shouted Sepperl, running as fast as
he could to the top of the staircase, and look-
ing over the banisters. "I'm here. Dry as a
"Then come down this instant," commanded
Schoolmaster Frank in a terrible voice. "Who
gave you leave to go up there?"
Sepperl stood silent, with eyes downcast, and a
tambourine in each hand.
"What have you got there?" thundered on
Tambourines," answered Sepperl.
"He's been in the music-room rummaging
about," said Frau Frank, not so very crossly, for
at all events it was better than rummaging
among her currant bushes, she thought, and
getting as wet as a frog into the bargain.
Come down this moment," continued School-
master Frank, "and let me whip you."
No," put in Frau Frank, while Sepperl hesi-
tated half a second or so before he accepted the
invitation. He didn't think he was doing any
There was no thinking about it. He hadn't
leave to go there."
THE OLD MUSIC-ROOM. 43
He was never forbidden to go," said Frau
"What a woman you are!" grumbled School-
master Frank. My birch rod would only be an
ornament if you'd your way. Well, go and put
those things where you found them," he added
to Sepperl; "and then-no, stay, bring them down
and let me look at them. Pah!" he said when
Sepperl had done as he was told; "they're no
use. They've been there twenty years if they've
been a day. They'll do to light your fires with,"
he added to his wife as he flung them aside.
Oh! oh! please-" began Sepperl.
"Silence, sir!" said Schoolmaster Frank, turn-
ing on him with a terrible frown; "and go and
wash your dirty face. You're as black as a
That was only true; for Sepperl, having found
it a difficult matter to keep back his tears at the
scolding words, had contrived to do so only by
.1;._ -i, his little dusty fingers into his eyes, and
a fine smear he had made of his face in conse-
"And mind, I forgive you this once; but don't
do it again. Do you hear?"
And Sepperl not being deaf, but the contrary
if anything, heard extremely well.
"You're sorry, of course, for what you've done ?"
44 SEPPERL THE DRUIMER-BOY.
said Schoolmaster Frank, who was anxious to put
an end to the matter, for church time was getting
Now Sepperl for the life of him could not say
that he was. He had never spent a more delight-
ful afternoon than this one in the mysterious old
music-room, and he felt that he should never for-
get it; and being a truthful little boy, he would
not have said he was sorry for all the birch rods
ever put in pickle.
"You're not sorry?" persisted Schoolmaster
F.1.; k, eyeing him with a needle-sharp look.
"I am sorry to have displeased you," answered
"Go and wash your face," was all Schoolmaster
Frank said. And Sepperl went as fast as his
legs would carry him.
Next morning, just before the school-bell rang,
Frau Frank, who was busy helping her maid-
servant setting her kitchen cupboards to rights,
caught sight of Sepperl standing at the door. He
was bending under the weight of a big bundle of
twigs and dry sticks. "Well, little boy," said she,
"what do you want?"
He laid the bundle at her feet. "Will you
have these to light your fires with, and give me
the old tambourines?" he said timidly, but very
THE OLD MJUSIC-ROOM. 45
"Why, to be sure; exchange is no robbery,"
laughed she, going to the old box where she kept
her shavings and fire rubbish, and fishing out the
two tambourines. "There they are, since you
want 'em. I hope the wood's as honestly come
by as it is good;" for Frau Frank was not ill
content with her share of the bargain. There
was wood enough to light a dozen fires. "Where
did you get it from?"
Sepperl explained that he had been up that
morning as soon as it was light and gone to the
verderer of Count Harrach's forest, who was a
friend of his; and the verderer, who, as you
know, is the care-taker of woods and forests, had
given him leave to pick up as much wood as
he could carry, and when he had tied it up in a
bundle he had trudged with it all the way to
"And what are you going to do with them,
now you have them?" asked Frau Frank as she
gave him the tambourines. But that Sepperl did
not stay to explain.
46 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
THE BREAK-DOWN OF THE POST-CHAISE.
HE was not, in fact, quite sure himself what he
was going to do with the tambourines. He
had a notion, and a very great one, what he
wished to do with them; but wishes, though they
are something, go such a very little way towards
doings. He had an idea that by fixing them
steady in some way he would be able to make
them sound a sort of tune, instead of just only a
clash and a bang as the street-players did when
they knocked them on their knees and elbows
and the tops of their heads. There seemed to him
some sort of music in that, but not much.
Sepperl's difficulty was, however, the way to
set to work over it. Schoolmaster Frank would
never tolerate the eternal rub-a-dub even in play-
time; and Frau Frank would have repented her
good-nature in giving him the things, and per-
haps taken them away again. And though his
mother might have put up with it at home-for
mothers will endure so much for their children-
there was another little baby-boy named Michael
in the great wooden cradle now; and she said the
noise would disturb him. And so Sepperl carried
BREAK-DOWN OF THE POST-CHAISE. 47
his treasures into a meadow that lay some way
along the road-side, and there, all the time he
was not at school or in bed-and he did not
trouble bed much-he spent in trying to fix his
tambourines in the way he had in his mind. It
needed a great deal of patience, and he failed a
great many times; but he tried again and again,
and at last one afternoon he succeeded in produc-
ing a certain sort of tune out of the two pieces
of tough skin.
You may imagine his delight then; and he
played his tune over, and over, and over again. It
really was very curious and decidedly pretty, espe-
cially along with the tune the birds were singing
all round up in the boughs. The little creatures
were grown so accustomed to the sight of Sepperl
and his tambourines that they were not in the
least afraid or shy now, and came down quite
to the lowermost branches, perking their little
heads, and blinking their bright eyes, and flap-
ping their wings, as much as to say: "Bravo,
little Sepperll That is queer music, to be sure,
and not nearly so sweet as we make; but still,
for a little boy it is not at all bad. Encore'
encore!" And again and again Sepperl went at
it, drum-drumming on until the sun sank lower
and lower till it touched the distant mountain-
tops, and the birds grew sleepy, and some re-
48 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
membrance of his supper waiting at home for
him began to creep into Sepperl's head. And he
thought to himself he would only just go through
his tune once more, and then leave off; but the
once was three times, for he was very loth to
leave off And when he actually would have
left off there is no telling, if all at once a tremen-
dous crash had not sounded on the other side of
the hedge, right along by the high bank skirting
"Houp! steady! ho-u-p'." cried a voice in the
midst of a deafening clatter of horses' hoofs and
a creaking of breaking wood. Then there was a
loud "Hullo! hullo!" from another very deep but
dreadfully terrified voice, and then all was still.
"That's a horse down, or a carriage, or some-
thing," thought Sepperl to himself as he listened.
Then, forgetting even his precious tambourines
for the moment, he flew like a lapwing, and
~-i;_ _1 his little body through a gap he knew
of in the hedge, sprang into the middle of the
road at a bound.
There was a sight-a post-chaise overturned
in the ditch, with its windows all smashed in, one
of its wheels just settling itself in the middle of
the road a dozen yards off, and a postilion strug-
gling with two plunging horses, who plunged a
little more at the sudden apparition of Sepperl.
BREAK-DOWN OF THE POST-CHAISE. 49
"Is anybody killed?" shouted he, jumping up
the bank again, as far as possible beyond reach
of their hoofs.
"Yes, me! I-here!" shouted back the deep
voice from somewhere in the tall weeds and
hedge bramble. "My wig's gone, and all my legs
Sepperl ran to the spot whence the cries pro-
ceeded, and saw a short fat man sprawling and
floundering in the muddy ditch. My wig! my
wig!" he cried on, as he rolled over again, wrig-
gling helplessly like a beetle on its back. "Will
somebody find me my wig? I shall catch a cold
in my head!"
It was a very bald one, to be sure, thought
Sepperl, looking at it as it rolled about in the
bright green grass.
"Is this it?" he inquired, dragging down from
high up in the hedge a tangle of something
which at first he mistook for an old bird's nest.
"Yes, that's it! That's it! Give it me this
instant," lustily cried the man who said he was
dead. And snatching it with both hands from
Sepperl's, he fixed it on his head as straight as
he could without a looking-glass. It might, of
course, have been straighter, but it was an im-
provement, and he grew much calmer when it
50 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
Your arms are none the worse anyhow," said
Sepperl, who stood looking on intently. "Perhaps
your legs aren't after all. Try."
"Somebody must put me on them first," groaned
the little man, who was as broad and round
almost as Humpty Dumpty himself. And with
the help of the postilion, who had by this time
succeeded in quieting his two horses, on one side,
and Sepperl on the other, he was safely hauled
on to his feet, and though he puffed and gasped
like a stranded fish, and shook himself like a
Newfoundland dog after a swim, there really did
not seem a great deal amiss with him, and he was
able to turn round and soundly rate the postilion
for the mishap.
It wasn't my fault," coolly answered the man,
seating himself on the bank and beginning to
light his pipe. "It was the wheel's. It came
"A pretty thing!" stormed the traveller glaring
at it. "What's to be done?"
Haven't an idea," said the man, smoking on.
"I don't know the road."
How far are we from Hainburg, do you know,
youngster?" asked the stranger again addressing
Two miles about," answered Sepperl
"Thunder-weather!" groaned the traveller. "As
BREAK-DOWN OF THE POST-CHAISE. 51
well be a hundred at once. It'll be dark in an
"Well; it isn't an hour's walk," said Sepperl
I never walk," puffed the fat little man,
rubbing his legs carefully up and down, "and
it's not likely I'm going to begin now." Then he
seated himself sulkily on the edge of the broken
chaise. "And of course I can't remain here," he
added, glaring again at the postilion, who slightly
-rll', .4 his shoulders and smoked on.
"It'll take a day's work to mend it," at last he
condescended to say, pointing to the chaise. "The
sides are smashed in, and the floor's broken to
splints, and both the horses' fore-legs are strained.
They couldn't draw the thing a dozen yards."
"They can eat their heads off seemingly,"
grunted the stranger, glowering now at the two
animals, who were munching the hedge-grass as
if they found it very nice indeed. "What's to
be done?" he said again despairingly.
"My father could mend the chaise," suggested
Sepperl, "if anybody can," he added, looking
doubtfully at the wreck.
"Who is your father?"
"Franz Haydn, the wheelwright of Rohrau."
"This is. At the bottom of the lane."
52 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
"Why didn't you say so before?"
You were so busy crying out I couldn't," said
"Franz Haydn of Rohrau has a queer little
boy," said the stranger half to himself, as he
eyed Sepperl with a look of curiosity. And
what were you doing here, all alone?" he added
in a louder key.
"Playing my tambourines."
"Playing your what?"
My tambourines. Would you like to hear
them?" he added cheerfully. "It would pass the
"I'd prefer to get on to Hainburg," said the
traveller, actually smiling a little. "I suppose
money will procure a post-chaise in this Rohrau
No, I don't think it can, nor love either. We
don't have carriages, only wheel-barrows."
"I see myself drawing up to Dean Anton
Palmb's front door in a wheel-barrow," disgust-
fully growled the stranger.
Father's got an old cart."
"That would be something new to me indeed.
Never rode in one old or new in all my life,"
puflfd the little man.
"Haven't you?" said Sepperl, looking in pity-
ing wonder at the stranger. It's great fun, I can
BREAK-DOWN OF THE POST-CHAISE. 53
tell you-miles better than sitting up straight
in a dark old box like this," and he thumped
his little hands on the shattered panels of the
chaise. There in a cart you go rumble, rumble
-bump-rumble, rumble over the stones. Why,
you'd be at Hainburg by eight o'clock, if you
started in half an hour, say. It's striking six now.
And while the little belfry clock of Rohrau
church chimed across the meadows, the traveller
reflected. He was avery great person certainly, but
anything was preferable to sitting all night with
your feet in a damp ditch, and your wig all askew
for what you could tell. When he looked round,
however, to ask a few more questions about
what sort of a cart it might exactly be, Sepperl,
having taken silence for consent, was just disap-
pearing at full speed round the corner of the lane.
Before a quarter of an hour had passed he was
It's all right," he said breathlessly. "Father's
borrowed Farmer Fritz's old mare, and mother's
put our leaky tub bottom upwards for you to sit
upon; and to-morrow father says he'll see first
thing to the chaise, and send it on to you at
Hainburg, if you wish, at Pastor Palmb's."
You seem to know a vast deal about Pastor
54 SEPPERL THE DRU3IMER-BOY.
"Why, so I ought, I hope," laughed Sepperl.
"Don't I go to school at Hainburg? and am I not
one of his choir-boys?"
Oh ho, you can sing, can you?"
"A little," modestly replied Sepperl, and play
the drum too. I always do in our village pro-
cessions on holidays. I am called Sepperl the
The traveller burst out laughing in spite of
himself. "I daresay. A scrap like you! Why,
you couldn't carry a drum."
No, I don't carry it. There's a poor hunch-
back man in Rohrau, hardly taller than I am,
but he's strong, and he carries while I beat."
"And pray, do you perform on any other in-
"I play a good deal on this," replied Sepperl,
drawing from the depths of his blouse the little
Ah! not a very difficult instrument that."
Well, it depends what you imagine you're
playing, don't you know," gravely returned Sep-
perl. "But I am beginning to learn the real
Really; and you add the tambourines to your
list, I believe you said."
Sepperl nodded, and a bright colour came into
BREAK-DOWN OF THE POST-CHAISE. 55
Yes. Shall I play you my tune ?" he said.
Tune! Tune out of a tambourine! I suppose
you get that, as people talk of getting blood out
of a stone," mockingly laughed the stranger.
"I don't know how that's done," said Sepperl,
"but I'll go and fetch my tambourines," and he
ran along the ditch side till he came to the hole
in the hedge; through which he had no sooner
disappeared than he appeared again, carefully
carrying a tambourine in each hand.
"Listen," he said as he set them in their proper
position. And interested in spite of himself, the
stranger did listen, and very much astonished he
was at the agreeable sounds the little fellow pro-
"How did you learn that?" he asked when
Sepperl came to an end. Seppeil flushed with
pleasure at seeing a gleam of pleasure in the
other's face, instead of all frowns and discontent.
I'm sure I can't tell how I did," he answered.
"It came into my head-somehow. Now, see.
There comes the cart."
And after a tremendous rumbling, and pulling
at the wheels to keep it straight in the narrow
lane, the cart stopped, and the stranger was
hoisted up into it, the blacksmith, who was going
to drive it, pulling him by his coat collar, and
Sepperl and the postilion assisting from below.
56 SEPPERL TIIE DRUMMER-BOY.
Your supper's waiting for you, lad," said the
blacksmith to Sepperl as he flicked the old mare's
head and the cart began to move forward, "and
then to bed with you."
"Adieu, little boy. Till we meet again, that
is," called out the stranger. Is my periwig in
order, good friend?" he added, shifting it about
on his crown till it felt as it ought. Really, I
am vastly indebted to your little lad for recover-
ing it, for what is a gentleman without his wig ?"
"Not much, I suppose," agreed the blacksmith,
whose wits were all engaged in getting along the
"He is a bright little fellow," continued the
"And a good one too," said the blacksmith;
" so my cousin tells me."
Who is your cousin ?"
"Johan Mathias Frank of Hainburg. Sepperl
is one of his scholars."
"Ah, so," said the traveller condescendingly.
"And-h'm-you are aware, of course, whom
you are driving?"
By your leave, no," answered the blacksmith.
The postilion did not inform you?"
"No. We had no time for trifle talk. Do
you sit comfortably, Master-?"
Reuter: Composer and Chapel-master of the
THE PLATE OF CHERRIES. 57
court at Vienna," said the stranger with immense
dignity. That is what I am."
The blacksmith lifted his cap as well as his
hands, which had all their work, would let him.
"And I say I hope you find the old tub
comfortable, most honoured Master Router, Com-
poser and Chapel-master of the court at Vienna,"
said the blacksmith respectfully. And then the
cart jolted on till it reached Pastor Palmb's
door, where the chapel-master was safely de-
THE PLATE OF CHERRIES.
HAPEL-MASTER REUTER had been for
some time past travelling about the country
in search of fresh boys' voices for the cathedral
choir of Vienna. It was not an easy task, for
of course he wanted very excellent ones indeed;
and he had been disappointed to have found so
few. Everyone seems worth its weight in
gold," he said discontentedly, picking over a
pretty blue-and-white china plate full of splendid
red cherries which Pastor Palmb had gathered
from his best cherry-tree and set on the table
58 SEPPERL THE DRU3MMER-BOY.
beside his guest. You don't find good voices in
every house, like you do these cherries of yours
-hanging on every bough."
"No, you are quite right," agreed Pastor Palmb.
"In my choir, now, for example, I have some very
passable voices, but among them all, men and
boys, how many can I trust? How many dare I
set to sing a solo, without turning ..... -i all
over for fear of a break-down? One."
Just so," nodded Reuter. "And he?"
"Ah! He is a little lad of eight years old,
named Joseph Haydn. By the way, the son of
the very man who helped you out of your pre-
dicament last night-Haydn the blacksmith at
If that is the case, then, the boy and I have
made acquaintance already," said Reuter; and
then he recounted the whole of the adventure to
Pastor Palmb, not forgetting the tambourines.
" Have you heard him play them?" he added.
"No," answered the clergyman, "but I can
well believe how good it is; for there seems to be
nothing in the way of music which he attempts
that he cannot do? Would you like to see him
"Then I will send for him," went on Pastor
Palmhnb, ringing the bell. Go round to School-
THE PLATE OF CHERRIES. 59
master Frank's," he said to the servant who
answered the summons, "and beg him, with my
compliments, to allow little Joseph Haydn to
come here. And if Schoolmaster Frank is disposed
to come too I shall be happy to see him."
Schoolmaster Frank was well disposed to go
too, when he heard that such a great man as the
chapel-master of Vienna was at his friend's
house. See that Joseph washes his face and
hands very clean," he said to his wife, and also
that he puts on his Sunday clothes and his bob-
wig, for there is grand company at the deanery."
Now Sepperl's Sunday clothes were nothing
very grand. They consisted of a little rusty
velvet coat, with full skirts, a long flap waist-
coat, a pair of breeches buttoned at the knees,
stockings, and a pair of stout buckled shoes; but
then, to be sure, there was the bob-wig, and that
covered everything, pretty well his face even, to
tell the truth. It was the fashion in those days
for even little mites of lads like Sepperl to wear
wigs, and by dint of a great deal of pinching and
scraping, and toiling at her wheel, his mother had
contrived to buy Sepperl a bob-wig to wear on
Sunday and other great days; and since of course,
as she said, it would never do to have bought one
to fit him, because boys do grow so, and before
you could look round, if you please, it would
60 SEPPERL THE DRUMMIER-BOY.
not go on his head-the barber had had orders
to make it a size or so too large; and altogether,
when presently there was a tap at Pastor Palmb's
parlour-door, and Sepperl entered in front of his
master; beyond the sticking-out skirts of his coat
and the bob-wig there was very little of him to
"Here is a big-wig indeed!" laughed the
chapel-master, lifting the funny-looking little
urchin on to his knee. "You are never the
little boy who played the tambourines to me last
night in the lane?"
Sepperl, however, said lie was: and then, under
shelter of the wig, he fixed his gaze on those
beautiful, ripe, red cherries in the beautiful blue-
and-white plate on the table, and thought how
he should like scme. He did not get too much
to eat, and besides that, cherries are so tempting,
and Sepperl so rarely got any.
"Don't be afraid," said Reuter encouragingly,
for he thought Sepperl was overawed by being
in his magnificent presence; and so he might have
been if the cherries had not made him quite for-
get it. You're not going to be beaten."
Oh, no, I don't suppose I am," answered Sep-
perl, rousing up, and looking round confidently
at the clergyman's friendly face.
"But you get a taste of the rod sometimes,
THE PLATE OF CHERRIES. 61
I suppose," said Reuter, "from Schoolmaster
"Oh, yes," acknowledged Sepperl. Very
"Oftener than you do of sugar-plums, el?"
He never gives me sugar-plums," laughed
"Nor cherries?" said Reuter, who, in trying to
obtain a glimpse of Sepperl's face, discovered on
what his eyes were fixed.
Sepperl blushed red as the cherries.
"This gentleman would like to hear you sing,"
said Pastor Palmb.
The boy looked up.
"What shall I sing?" he asked.
This, if you can," said Reuter, taking a little
roll of loose music sheets from his pocket, and
placing in Sepperl's hands one slip, on which
were written the notes of a chant to which some
Latin words were set.
Sepperl sang the chant through, and a very
pleased look came into the chapel-master's face
as he listened.
"That is not bad," he said. "In fact, it is
good-very good. Now, here is something else,"
he went on, choosing out another slip. Try
what you can make of that."
Sepperl looked with rather puzzled eyes at the
62 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
words of this fresh piece. They were something
like Latin, and yet he did not think they were
Latin. However, he tried, as he was bidden to
"That is well done for a little boy-"
"Who has never learned Italian," put in
Pastor Palmb, for the words were Italian.
He has been diligent at his Latin, however,"
said Schoolmaster Frank. "I will say that for
him;" and then Sepperl remembered Frank's
words that Twelfth Night, two years ago now,
when he said to him that, if he had Latin at his
fingers' ends, he would have everything.
"Yes, it is very good indeed," went on Reuter,
"but you don't shake."
"I'm not afraid of anything," said Sepperl
"You silly child!" he said.
"Shake with your voice, this gentleman means,
explained Pastor Palmb.
"Oh!" said Sepperl, laughing too, as merrily
as a brook ripples over little pebbles, at his own
mistake. "Oh! Shake with my voice. No. I
can't do that. How should I know how, since
Schoolmaster Frank doesn't? Do you, sir?" he
added, looking at his teacher.
"That's neither here nor there,"grunted School-
THE PLATE OF CHERRIES. 63
master Frank, who preferred his pupils to think
that he knew everything in the world.
"I fancy it's there," smiled the chapel-master,
placing his finger on Sepperl's rosy lips and
pointing in between the little white teeth. See,
now, you set your tongue against the roof of your
mouth. So. Yes. Now, hold your breath and
begin to sing."
Sepperl gasped. With his excitement, the
heat of the day, and the stifling bob-wig, he was
afraid he might choke. The wig, of course, was
very handsome, but "May I take off my wig?"
he said, looking at Schoolmaster Frank.
"Remarkable!" observed Reuter to the two
gentlemen as Schoolmaster Frank nodded per-
mission. Now, for the life of me, I couldn't
sing you a note without my wig. Well."
And Sepperl, tossing the huge bundle of hairy
stuff as far off as he could, opened his mouth,
and trilled a long, long shake, as sweet as a lark
who floats in mid-air.
"That is very-yes, it is certainly beautiful,"
said Reuter in delighted tones, and gazing at the
clear, gray eyes and brow of the little boy.
"You will make him vain," said the school-
master, who had sat down, and was eating the
cherries to amuse himself.
"No," said Pastor Palmb. "There is no fear
64 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
of that. Sepperl knows that the more perfect
the gift the dear God has given us, the more we
ought to be grateful to Him for it, and the less
to glorify ourselves. We are all as He made us.
Sepperl's eyes, as he listened to the pastor's
gentle voice, settled thoughtfully on the bob-wig
lying all of a heap in a corner, and then they
strayed again to the cherries. What a lovely
colour they were! and, if one might judge from
the big pattern of stones which Schoolmaster
Frank was making on his plate, how very sw-eet
and juicy they must be!
Have you any pockets in that coat of yours?"
asked Chapel-master Reuter as he marked the
longing look in the boy's eyes.
"Yes," said Sepperl. "Two. One each side."
Hold them wide open then," said Reuter. Eh,
pastor? Have I your permission?" he added as
he took up the blue-and-white plate.
The clergyman smiled his consent, and Reuter
emptied the plate into the two pockets, which
Sepperl held as wide open as ever he could.
"And now, little shaker, what do you say ?"
went on the chapel-master. "I should like to
have that voice of yours, you see."
Sepperl did not quite see. It puzzled him
what the stranger could mean; for it was quite
certain he could not give Master Reuter his
THE PLATE OF CHERRIES. G5
voice, even if he wanted to do so, like Reuter
had given him Pastor Palmb's cherries.
What do you say? Will you go with me to
Vienna and be a chorister of the cathedral?
You will be taught music and singing, and also
to play on several kinds of instruments? Will
Would he not? What a happiness! Sepperl
looked at Schoolmaster Frank, who frowned for
a moment, then he looked well pleased.
"I believe it will be for his good, chapel-
master; and I think my cousin Haydn of Rohrau
should be glad to see him so honoured," he said
at last. "What do you say, dean?" he added,
turning to Pastor Palmb.
"I think he will be willing," said the clergy-
And indeed the blacksmith and his wife were
very glad for Sepperl to go, and very proud of
the honour which he had earned of being a
chorister in the cathedral of St. Stephen at
66 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
THE LITTLE CHOIR-BOY.
W HEN people want to say that such and such
a person leads a comfortable and happy
life, they say he lies on a bed of roses; and per-
haps when Sepperl, having kissed his parents
farewell, started off beside Chapel-master Reuter
in the mended post-chaise, which Franz Haydn
had made a capital job of, he fancied his bed
was going to be one of roses.
And so in a way it was, for he loved music
with all his heart, and now he lived in its very
midst. Of course he went on learning Latin and
arithmetic and the rest of it at the choir school,
but music was the chief study.
There were certainly some big thorns in Sep-
perl's rosy bed. To begin with, Chapel-master
Reuter was a very different sort of person from
Schoolmaster Frank, who, for all his stern ways,
was really kind-hearted and thought a great deal
for other people; but Reuter was a vain, selfish
man, who liked people to admire his splendid
management of the choir chiefly because it was
his managing. But he was jealous of the singers,
and out of service time took hardly any notice of
THE LITTLE CHOIR-BOY. 67
them, and liked best to be putting on his best
wig and laced coat, and going off to the emperor's
palace to conduct the court concerts and join in
It sounded very generous of him when he told
Sepperl he would allow him to live under his
own roof in his big house which stood at the
cathedral gates; and very near the roof, to be
sure, it was-so near that, small as Sepperl was,
he could touch it by standing on the little three-
legged stool, which was all the room contained in
the way of anything to sit down upon, excepting
a broken chair.
The bed which stood up in one corner did not
look at all as if it was made of roses; it was
exceedingly like a hard deal plank on tumble-
down legs, with a shabby coverlet; and the table
on which Sepperl ate his scanty meals, and
scribbled his notions of music on scraps of old
half-torn-up music paper which he found lying
about the choir stalls, was a dreadfully rickety
concern, which tumbled over if you gave it any-
thing of a jog. There was a little stove in
the chimney in which a handful of charcoal was
lighted for him in winter-time; but then, as
Reuter said, the proper way to keep warm was
to jump about, and work your arms like a pump
-not that Sepperl ever saw Renter do this him-
68 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
self; but then, excepting in church time, and at
choir practice, which lasted two hours each day,
Sepperl hardly ever did see Reuter.
There was a tiny window in the garret. Look-
ing from the street below, nothing could be seen
of it, because it was so immensely high up, and
the huge twists and scroll-work of the gabled
roof almost hid it; but Sepperl could see through
it the beautiful spire of the cathedral, and the
blue sky, and at night the silver moon, and the
stars as they peeped out one by one; and in their
way they told wondrous things to him, and con-
soled him for his hardships, and take it all
together, he was happy. And when he sat in
choir and heard the music of the mighty cathe-
dral organ, or himself joined in the chanting, he
felt he would not have changed places with the
emperor sitting yonder in his grand arm-chair,
nor with the proud-faced lady sitting beside him,
who was called Empress Maria Theresa.
All the time Sepperl was not in school he spent
in practising on the school instruments, which lie
had leave to do; and in this way he practised
altogether more than sixteen hours every day,
instead of only the two which the boys were
obliged to prctfise. And so the years passed for
the solitary little lad, who, however, never knew
what it was to be alone; for music was his constant
THE LITTLE CHOIR-BOY. 69
friend and companion, and sweet sounds dwelt,
sleeping and waking, in his soul. Often they
floated away never to be recalled, and he longed
to try and set them ere they fled, on paper; and
soon, after a fashion of his own, he began to do so,
but not properly, for that is a difficult thing to do,
and not to be done without learning; and though,
to be sure, anybody who knows his notes can set
just the tune down on the lines and spaces, it is
quite another affair to make beautiful harmonies
and to compose. For that there are as many
rules as there are in a grammar-book, and one
must also learn what is called counterpoint.
All this Sepperl came to find out, and in rather
a rough sort of way too. It happened when he
was getting to thirteen years old that he set about
composing a mass. Now a mass, as very possibly
you know, is the Roman Catholic form of the
communion service; and though sometimes it is
simply spoken, it is usually chanted and sung.
Many great musicians have composed masses,
and a great deal of the loveliest music ever
written is contained in them. Sometimes the
most beautiful part happens to be "The Kyrid
Eleison," which is the Greek for "Lord, have
mercy upon us;" sometimes it is "The Credo" or
"Creed;" sometimes The Agnus Dei," "Lamb of
God;" and often the "Gloria in Excelsis," or
70 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
" Glory be to God on high," which is called the
song of the angelic host. And little Sepperl, full
of reverent thoughts about the great God who,
as his father used to tell him, had made all
things pure and good, longed to try and do some-
thing in His honour; but though the High God
despises no well-directed aim, however lowly,
Master Reuter made great fun of Sepperl's work
when he ventured to show it him.
"It is nothing but notes," he said; and that
was true, for Sepperl's idea was, that it was all
right if the page was pretty well filled, just as
many people fancy that the music must be the
most difficult which is blackest with notes and
Poor Sepperl shrank back ashamed, and deter-
mined to show no more of his work to Reuter;
but not long after, Reuter found by accident an-
other piece of his ambitious young pupil's com-
position. It was a sort of hymn in twelve parts;
and again the chapel-master broke out into a
sneering laugh, and advised him to begin with
trying two parts.
That was useful advice, no doubt, and it would
have been more so if only Reuter had taught
him the proper way to do even that; but in all
the time Sepperl was with him he gave him only
two lessons in composition, and Sepperl was too
THE LITTLE CHOIR-BOY. 71
poor to obtain any from other teachers, and there
was no one of them likely to be at the trouble of
teaching an obscure chorister lad for nothing.
It was not even as if Sepperl was particularly
handsome-looking, or better behaved than his
fellows. He was not a model chorister boy, but
just as full of pranks as most boys are, and quite
as often did the things his elders considered he
ought not to have done.
There is a picture in a certain picture-gallery
of a large German city, of a whole tribe of choir-
boys, who are standing, ready dressed in their
nice clean surplices for going into service, in
the church orchard under some apple-trees laden
with ripe rosy apples; and just, no doubt, to pass
the time till they are summoned to go into choir,
they have been trying to shake down some of the
beautiful fruit. One of the boys carries a banner,
which he has turned to account by thrusting it
between the branches to assist the apples to fall.
Pulling it out again, however, is quite another
matter. There it sticks, caught in the boughs;
and all in vain the culprit, half out of his wits, is
.1 '.i_ _- i _- at it, while the other boys look on with
scared faces, and the bell is furiously clanging its
last in the belfry, as if it was more than high
time for them to be going in.
Of course it is only a picture; but it looks ter-
72 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
ribly real, and makes one quite shudder to imagine
what the end of it all will be. And that is what
ordinary choir-boys are made of, and little Joseph
Haydn was just an ordinary choir-boy.
Still he began to feel that by hook or by
crook, harmony, and counterpoint, and the rest of
it he must learn. And then another great desire
seized him. If he could have a harpsichord of
his own to keep up in his garret, and just try
over his compositions, and practise at the very
moment he wished.
If he could! But that was indeed a dream, for
he earned nothing, and his parents were very very
poor; and only quite lately he had taken from
them much more than they could really afford,
through a great misfortune which had befallen
him. It happened in this manner. One day he
went, as he often did, for a bathe in the river; and
while he was splashing and skimming about to
his heart's content, some scoundrel ran off with
his clothes which he had left on the bank. He was
forced to borrow something from his companions
to run home in; but as it is the fashion to wear
clothes, there was no help for it but to ask his
father for money to buy new ones. And the poor
man sent him six florins, which was nearly all
he possessed in the world; and truly grieved
Sepperl was to be obliged to take the money.
THE LITTLE CHOIR-BOY. 73
Sometimes, however, he earned a few pence by
blowing the organ for the cathedral organist
when he wanted to practise, and these he saved
up until he had enough to buy a certain book of
instruction in harmony by a clever musician,-
a book which he had seen on a second-hand
book-stall; and as dingy and shabby and dry-look-
ing an old book it was as ever lay on a second-
hand book-stall before or since. And as it had
been tumbling about there for a long time and
nobody seemed to take a fancy to it, though
Sepperl was always in fear and trembling lest
somebody might, the master of the shop was
only too glad to pocket the money for it when
Sepperl offered it him; but he could not be so
pleased with his side of the bargain as Sepperl
was with his. Away he ran with his treasure,
never stopping till he had climbed up the steep
stairs to his garret, where he spent all his spare
time in mastering its contents. They were very
difficult, and all the rules were explained in the
driest imaginable way, but Sepperl succeeded in
making them out perfectly; and then, like some
wayfarer along a dark road coming into the full
warm sunshine, all the real power and glory of
music burst upon him. And now a thousand
times more he longed for a harpsichord.
One day there suddenly flashed into his mind
74 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
the remembrance of that old harpsichord in the
old music-room at Schoolmaster Frank's. If
Frank would let him have that! Always sup-
posing, of course, that the rats and mice had not
by this time eaten it all away. Well, there was
no harm in writing to ask his old master; and
after a little screwing up of courage, write he did.
And Schoolmaster Frank was not at all angry;
on the contrary, he laughed as he handed the
letter to his wife. "The boy writes a decent
hand," he said, "a very decent hand. And see-
that comes of you indulging him, and teaching
him not to go bare for want of asking. He
wants to wheedle me out of the old harpsichord
upstairs, as he did you out of the tambourines."
Well," said Frau Frank, laughing a little too,
"and you are not a dog in the manger, Johan.
You will let him have it. For my part I'd sooner
have its room than its company, poor ramshackle
And so the harpsichord was packed off to
Vienna; and though Sepperl had ..!IlI...l to pay
Schoolmaster Frank all he could for it, Frank
would not take anything. "You will need all
the money," he wrote to his old pupil, "to pay
for its mending up."
And truly Sepperl did, and he stinted and
denied himself everything that boys generally
THE PIGTAIL AND THE STORM AT SEA. 75
like-and he liked almost as well as they did-
in order to pay for setting the harpsichord to
rights. Even when it was done it was nothing
very grand; but how Sepperl prized it, and what
a dear constant familiar friend it was! and
through fair weather and foul, scorching summer
heat, and bitter winter nights long after his
wretched fire had perished, Sepperl studied on
with it-for love can do so much.
THE PIGTAIL AND THE STORM AT SEA.
THERE was a grand gentleman living at
Vienna whose name was Corner. He had
come from Venice, and was engaged in transact-
ing affairs of state for that city with the court of
Vienna. He had a very large house and many
servants, and liked inviting clever people to stay
with him for a long time together.
One of these visitors had been so long under
his roof that he had become a fixture. He was a
great musician, his name was Porpora, and lie had
been born in Naples; but that was a very long
time ago, for Porpora was an old man now, and
76 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
a very queer old man too-the strangest mixture
of stinginess and generosity the world ever
saw; and though he was crusty and ill-tempered
generally, he could be very kind when anything
particularly pleased him, but Porpora was not
The son of one of the officials in Corner's
house was also a chorister at St. Stephen's, and
sometimes he would invite Sepperl home to
supper with him. On one of these occasions
Sepperl's ear caught the sweetest music he had
ever heard on the harpsichord, being played in a
distant room. He looked at his friend, who said:
"Oh, that is only old Porpora playing."
Only! Well it seemed to Sepperl as if the
playing must be an angel's, and he sighed regret-
fully when presently the music ceased and did
not begin again; and whenever he could find any
excuse for going again to Corner's house he did
so, in hopes of hearing that music again, and
once or twice he was fortunate enough to do so:
but he never caught sight of the player, until
one day, rather early in the morning, as he was
crossing a corridor, Porpora happened to pop his
head out of his bed-room door. Then Sepperl
decided he did not look at all like his notion of
an angel, and in fact like nothing so much as a
rusty, crusty old gentleman in a shabby old
THE PIGTAIL AND THE STORM AT SEA. 77
dressing-gown and a night-cap, and holding in
his hand a wig, which he flung at the astonished
Sepperl's head. "Here! hi! Max! Karl! Joseph!"
"Here," replied Sepperl, thinking Porpora
must know him; but he did not, of course, know
him, all he wanted was to be attended to; and so
he shouted the first names that came into his
"Here-at your service," said Sepperl, staring
in surprise at the old gentleman, who by this
time was beginning to see that Sepperl's face
was strange to him. Well, dolt," he went on,
"who are you?"
My name is Joseph-Joseph Haydn," politely
answered Sepperl. Can I be of service to
"Of course you can," said Porpora. "Isn't it
your business. See, here is my coat all full of
wig powder, just as I took it off last night; and
my shoes wanting blacking, and my wig dressing.
Take 'em and do 'em, do you hear? And leave off
staring at me like a stuck pig. If you're new
about the place, and don't know who I am, I'll
tell you, and you'll remember next time. My
name is Porpora. There!"
Sepperl bowed very low, but before he had
drawn himself up straight again the old gentle-
78 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
man had hobbled back into the room, and slammed
the door in his face.
That was how Sepperl made the great man's
acquaintance; and for some time Porpora did not
know but what he was one of the servants of the
house, for Sepperl begged to be allowed to do
him any little services he required, and the ser-
vants were only too glad to shift the duty on to
Sepperl, for Porpora was not too amiable a
person to wait upon, and generally called them all
dolts or fools for their pains. He was no more civil
to this new valet than to the others, but Sepperl
bore with all patiently enough, and was quite
content as long as he could be near the old man
and hear his wonderful music.
Porpora had a magnificent harpsichord in his
room, and one day in his absence, when Sepperl
was sweeping the room out and making it com-
fortable by the time the old man returned, Sep-
perl yielded to the temptation of sitting down to
the instrument and passing his hands over its
keys. How glorious it was to play on such a
harpsichord as that! and forgetting all about his
broom and duster he played on-now something
of his own, now snatches of Porpora's composi-
tions which he had picked up by ear. Presently
the door opened, too softly for Sepperl to hear,
and in on tiptoe stole Porpora. "Play on, do
THE PIGTAIL AND TIE STORM AT SEA. 79
you hear, you idiot!" said Porpora, when the
youth perceiving him was about to rise, colouring
with confusion, and Sepperl was obliged to sit
down again and obey.
Porpora listened very attentively; and when
he had finished he nodded his head, gave him
one or two words of advice, and sent him awavy
but he did not call him dolt or idiot once while
he spoke, nor did lie do so ever again. Very
soon after, however, he told Corner that Joseph
Haydn, or whatever his name was, deserved en-
couragement, and Corner generously began to
allow him 3 a month.
That made Sepperl feel very rich, and now
that he has an income and is getting on to be a
man-a very young one, to be sure, since he was
not yet nineteen-perhaps we ought to leave off
calling him Sepperl and say Joseph. He bought
himself a black coat of fashionable cut, which
made him look still more important; and he was
now in request for several of the different things
he could do in the way of music. Every morning
as soon as it was light, he began the day by going
to the church of the Fathers of Mercy, to play
first violin; for it was the custom then, more
than it is now, for stringed instruments to be
played in church. After that he went to the
chapel of a certain Count Haugwitz, where lie
80 SEPPERL THE DRUMMIER-BOY.
played the organ; and that done, he took his
place in the cathedral choir to sing. In this way
he learned all sorts of different styles of music
and gradually to form an opinion of his own of
what was best in each.
But now there was a fresh misfortune about
to befall Joseph Haydn. His beautiful clear
child's voice was beginning to break. He could
no longer sing leading parts in the choir; and the
Empress Maria Theresa said that his singing was
more like a young cock crowing than anything
else. Reuter, however, finding him useful on
account of the excellent time he kept, would
have let him remain a little longer; but one day
he fell into dire disgrace. He had bought a new
pair of scissors, and chanced to have them in his
pocket once when he was sitting in choir behind
a boy whose wig had a pigtail that was ridicu-
lously long, and stuck out as stiff as a ship's bow-
Now Joseph was never a friend to wigs, as
we know, and Chapel-master Reuter, as we also
know, had an immense respect for them. There
was the difference. There was something aggra-
vating to Haydn in that absurd pigtail; and
before he well knew what he was about he had
whipped out his new scissors, and hey! snip: off
came the pigtail.
THE PIGTAIL AND THE STORM AT SEA. 81
That was a crime in Reuter's eyes not to be
forgiven. He gave Haydn a good caning, and
expelled him that same day from the choir and
school of St. Stephen's.
It was a sad pass for Joseph then. He wan-
dered about the streets all through the day,
with his hands in his penniless pockets, wonder-
ing where he would lay his head that night.
Already the sun had set and the stars were
beginning to shine, when suddenly a hand was
laid upon his shoulder, and a voice that he
thought he knew said: "Well, Master Haydn,
and are we to hear you sing solo next Sunday in
"I am never to sing there again, Master
Keller," replied the young man a little shame-
facedly, as he looked up and recognized a person
whom he knew slightly, and who knew him better
still from often seeing him in the choir.
Eh eh! eh! you don't say so. How's that?"
regretfully demanded Keller, who was a barber
by trade, and a very great lover of music, and
admired Joseph's voice very much.
Then Joseph told him how he had got into
Well, well," said Keller, but it's pretty much
as broad as it's long, I suppose; for you were on
the point of leaving St. Stephen's, and that
82 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
meant also leaving Master Reuter's, I ima-
"I imagine so too," assented Joseph; for he
knew Reuter very well by this time, and how he
did not trouble his head about people when they
were of no further use to him.
Well, see now," continued Keller. "If you
like to come home with me, and live with me
and my family for a bit, you will be bravely
And Joseph gratefully accepted the kind offer,
and for some time he remained in Keller's house,
studying very closely, and making great progress
in music. He also earned a little money, a very
little, by giving music and singing lessons to
Keller's friends, and a few other people who
remembered him when he was a chorister. In
addition to this, he had long now been able to
compose properly, and he used to sell his compo-
sitions to his pupils. Sometimes they were little
sonatas, and sometimes waltzes, and tunes for
minuets and allemandes, which were two kinds
of stately dances very much in fashion at that
time. These the director of the concerts at the
Ridotto, a sort of open-air dancing anid singing
establishment in Vienna, often bought of him.
About this time Joseph composed a serenade;
that, you know, is a song to bid a sweet good-night
THE PIGTAIL AND THE STORM AT SEA. 83
to some person you love or admire very much,
just as one sings baby to sleep with a lullaby.
Haydn arranged this serenade of his for three
voices to sing; and, on fine moonlight nights, he
and his two friends used to go out and sing it in
the silent streets.
One night when they were doing this a man
opened the door of a house, came out, and ap-
proached the singers. "That is a very sweet
song," he said. Who is the composer?"
I am," replied Joseph.
"You! At your age!" said the man in sur-
prised tones, as he looked at the singer's boyish
face and slender figure.
"Everyone must have a I-._ i li Ih ." said Joseph.
"But it is wonderful!" said the man. What
is your name?"
And I-my name is Curtz."
Joseph hardly needed to be told that, for there
were few people who did not know Curtz, or
Bernardone as he was often called. He was
clown, harlequin, and manager of one of the
Viennese theatres. It takes a wise man to play
the fool well, and Curtz was an uncommonly
Come indoors with me, Joseph Haydn," he
said; and Joseph, pleased to have made Curtz's
84 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
acquaintance, followed him into his house, where
he introduced him to his wife, who was just
getting supper ready. After supper, which Joseph
enjoyed very well indeed, for he was still a
growing lad and troubled with an excellent
appetite, Curtz brought out from a drawer a
bundle of closely written sheets of paper.
"Listen," he said to his guest as he unrolled
them. Here is a piece I have written to perform
at my theatre. It has many songs and dances in
it. They require setting to music. What do you
say to doing this for me?"
Haydn was only too pleased at the idea; he
did not even stop to strike any bargain about
what he was to be paid for his work. That,
however, was of little consequence, for Curtz
was an honourable, generously disposed man, and
gladly paid him as much as he could afford, which
was twelve pounds.
But Joseph had a great difficulty with one part,
and for a time he quite despaired of doing it.
This is what had to be done: in the course of
the piece a storm at sea takes place. Now, neither
he nor Curtz had ever seen the sea, much less
were able to guess what a storm at sea could be
like; but Curtz had a vast imagination.
"It must be like this, you know," he said, as
he kept walking like some lion in a cage round
THE PIGTAIL AND THE STORM AT SEA. 85
and round Joseph seated at the harpsichord.
"Think of a high, high mountain, then a deep,
deep valley, and then more mountains and valleys,
higher and deeper still. Alps and abysses roll-
ing in upon each other. That is how it must be."
"Yes," said Joseph, fingering the notes. That
was all very well, he thought, but how on earth
were they to be made into mountains and abysses?
"And then," said Curtz, flourishing and darting
his arms about like a great squib-" then there
must be lightning-flash !-flish!-flash! so, and
thunder, boom-oom-m-m! Understand?"
Oh, yes," said Haydn, almost at his wits' end.
"Well, go on, then. Describe all these terrible
things with your music. Especially the moun-
tains and valleys. Quick!"
And then all sorts of ways Joseph tried, but
Curtz was not satisfied, and at last Joseph got
into a rage with it all, and, dashing out both
hands down on to the opposite ends of the key-
board, he scrambled his fingers over them, till
they met with a crash in the middle.
"That's it! That's first rate!" cried Curtz,
running towards him, and throwing his arms
round his neck in his delight and giving him a
good hug. "Capital!"
Many years after, when Haydn was crossing
the Straits of Dover in very bad weather, he
86 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
laughed heartily to himself over his first ideas of
a storm at sea.
The rest of the opera was very soon finished;
and wherever it was played, which was in many
places besides Vienna, it won great applause; but
it was not played very long, because there was a
disagreeable and ugly nobleman who took it into
his head that a certain disagreeable and ugly
character in the piece was intended to hold him
up to ridicule, and he contrived to get the opera
forbidden to be played.
After this Joseph began to compose in good
earnest, and he greatly astonished and delighted
the music lovers, but some old square-toes were
terribly put about and alarmed at some of the
new ways and improvements he introduced.
They refused to see that these were really good
and beautiful; but people for the most part gave
Joseph Haydn the praise he deserved.
THE "LITTLE MOOR."
IT seemed as if Joseph was always to find one
kind friend or another. People liked him
for his goodness and gaiety of heart, as well as
THE "LITTLE MOOR." 87
for his cleverness; but although he was kind and
cheerful he had rather a short bluff manner of
speaking, and was very shy in the presence of
strangers; and as he was not remarkably hand-
some to look at, it was not directly he was seen
that he attracted notice.
He did not remain very long at his kind friend
the barber's, because certain arrangements in
Keller's household made it inconvenient for him
to stay in it longer; and then a person named
Martinez, who lived in the market-place, offered
to give him a lodging for nothing if he would in
return instruct his two daughters in the harpsi-
chord and singing. This Joseph gladly consented
to do, and once more his few belongings, and
Schoolmaster Frank's gift, the old harpsichord,
were removed to the attic which Martinez had
allowed him. The house was a large one, much
bigger than Martinez needed for himself, and
he had let one floor of it to the famous Italian
poet Metastasio. Now Metastasio himself was
not rich, but he was in high favour with the
emperor, who never allowed him to want for
anything; while poor Haydn, having no such
wealthy grand friends, was often obliged to lie
in bed on winter days for want of money to buy
fuel. When Metastasio, who loved music, dis-
covered this he was very sorry. He was already
88 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
great friends with his neighbour in the attic,
who played so gloriously, and he took care now
to invite him to dinner with him every day; and
he found his hospitality well repaid, because he
understood and enjoyed Haydn's great gifts so
thoroughly, and Haydn on his part benefited by
the friendship of so talented a man, and learned
from him to speak Italian, which, to be sure,
came less difficult to him because he knew Latin,
and again he found good Schoolmaster Frank's
words come very true.
For six years Joseph -h i i1.- on with poverty
in the house of Martinez, and then one evening a
piece of his composing was played at the house
of one of his patrons. Joseph would have been
present, but he was ill and obliged to stay at
home. The chief person -in company was the
celebrated Prince Esterhazy. He was an old man
now, but as fond as ever he had been of music,
and he had always loved it, and he begged his
entertainer to introduce him to the composer of
the beautiful piece he had just heard. That was
not possible just at the time owing to Haydn's ill-
ness, and afterwards Prince Esterhazy forgot all
about him. Again, however, some few months
later, a friend and admirer of Haydn's named
Fb.-.11.. _. and himself a clever musical composer,
tried to bring him before the prince's notice.
THE "LITTLE MOOR." 89
Friedberg knew Prince Esterhazy very well, and
he advised Haydn to write a symphony-which is,
as you know, a piece of music for many different
kinds of instruments-in honour of the prince's
birthday. This Haydn did; and when the great
day came, the piece was begun to be played before
Prince Esterhazy seated in state and surrounded
by his court. Before, however, it was a quarter
over the prince stopped the musicians. "Whose
is that fine composition?" asked he.
Joseph Haydn's," answered Friedberg.
Send Joseph Haydn to me," commanded the
prince; and shy Haydn, shaking in his shoes,
advanced, half pushed by his friend Friedberg
into Esterhazy's presence.
"What!" exclaimed he. Is that the music of
this little Moor?" for Haydn's complexion was
very dark. "Well, Moor," he went on,"henceforth
I retain you in my service. What is your name?"
Why, I remember that name," said the prince.
"I had already engaged you. Go," he continued,
when Haydn, too overawed to speak, made no
reply, "and dress yourself as my chapel-master.
I command you never to appear again in my
presence as you are now. You are too little, and
have a pitiful-looking face. Get a new coat, a
curled wig, a lace cravat, and red-heeled shoes,
90 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-EOY.
and let them be high, that your body may look
as tall as your mind is. You understand; go, and
everything requisite shall be given you."
Haydn kissed the prince's hand, and then
retired into a corner of the orchestra, rather un-
happy at the notion of being obliged to wear a
wig, for he had plenty of nice dark hair, and he
was not fonder of wigs now than when he was a
little boy. One cannot help thinking that, what
with his brown face, bright eyes, smart coat,
high-heeled shoes, wig, and the rest of it, he
must have looked rather like an organ man's
monkey; but if one goes among fashionable folks
one must look something like them, and it must
be owned that Joseph Haydn was after all in his
right place at last, because he needed no longer to
take thought for the morrow, and vex himself
with drudging over work for the sake of the
pittance it brought him for keeping soul and
This kind friend and patron of Haydn's, Prince
Antony Esterhazy, died about a year after he
came to live in his household as chapel-master
and concert director; but Prince Nicolas, who suc-
ceeded, took still more interest in music, if that
was possible, and for thirty years Joseph Haydn
lived in the Esterhazy family in perfect content,
composing and working very hard, for all his
THE "LITTLE MOOR." 91
happiness lay in his work. Now and then he
gave himself a holiday and went out for a
He had some odd whims and fancies, as clever
people often have. We all know the story of Sir
Walter Scott, who once was not able to repeat his
lesson when he was a boy at school, because he
always twiddled a certain button on his coat while
he said his task, and some mischievous fellow in
the school cut off that button and he forgot every
word; and Haydn, in the same way, had a dia-
mond ring which had been given him by a great
king, and he used to say that if ever he had
forgotten to put on that ring he could not call up
a single idea, and in all his work he was very
neat and precise.
All his compositions are very beautiful, but
words cannot describe them, they must be heard
to comprehend that. Sometimes he took it into
his head to compose something strange and quite
out of the general way Most young folks who
are learning music have in their instruction book
the tune called Haydn's Surprise," which goes
soft, softer; piano, pianissimo all through to the
last bar, and then comes a great crash. That,
Haydn said, was to waken the people whom the
soft music had sent to sleep, and to make the
92 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
Then there is the "Farewell Symphony." The
music of it is very beautiful and curious, and very
amusing too. When it is played now, as it some-
times is, and full effect is given it, it is done in
this manner. The concert-room gas is turned
down, and the orchestra is only lighted by little
tallow candles fixed in the musicians' desks. All
the players begin together in deep full orchestra;
but presently one rises, takes his music off the
desk, blows out his candle, and with his instru-
ment tucked under his arm goes away. Scarcely
has he done this than another follows his ex-
ample, and another and another, until only one
fiddler is left, and his music sounds very low and
mournful. By this time the conductor of the
orchestra has come to look very much puzzled.
What can have become of the music? In vain
he flourishes his little stick to order them to play
louder. Very soon the violinist also rises, blows
out his candle, and disappears with his violin and
his music. Then the conductor, staring round in
the dead silence which has fallen, rises in his
turn, lays down his baton, bows to the audience,
blows out his candle, and disappears in the dark-
The way Haydn came to compose this curious
symphony is said to be on account of Prince
Esterhazy once deciding that he would no longer
THE "LITTLE MOOR." 93
keep a band of musicians, and that was sad news
for the poor flute and violin and 'cello-players
and their wives and families; and Haydn, griev-
ing very much for them, as well as for the loss
of their services to himself, devised this way of
showing the prince what a melancholy place the
court would be without music.
Another time, he made an excursion to a fair
which was held not far off at a little country
town, and there he bought from the booths a
basketful of toy whistles, fiddles (Did he think
of his own old Rohrau fiddle friend then?), trum-
pets, squeaking birds, and dogs, and cats. These
he took home, and, having studied what the par-
ticular style and tone of each was, he composed
a symphony for them to play all together. It
must have been a wonderful symphony!
When Prince Nicolas Esterhazy died, Haydn
was at last persuaded to pay a visit to England.
He was made much of here and liked his stay.
He was a good deal with the Prince of Wales,
who was afterwards King George the Fourth; and
Haydn said, when he heard him play the violin,
that he played it very well-for a prince."
There is a great heartiness and sweetness in
Haydn's music. A man once said of it, that
whenever he heard it it made him want to do a
94 SEPPERL THE DRUMMER-BOY.
There is a beautiful song called "Tlhe Spirit
Song whose music he composed. It is at once
tender and awe-inspiring. It is supposed to be
the voice of a dead person lying in the tomb,
consoling the mourner weeping beside it.
He was an old man when he wrote his greatest
work, and by which he will be remembered to
the end of time-his oratorio "The Creation."
Little dreamed his father, the humble wheel-
wright of Rohrau, lying in his grave now this
many a year, when he strove to give the little
wondering thoughtful Sepperl some idea of what
that word Creation meant, that one day his son
should comprehend it as no man ever before com-
prehended it, and would teach others to feel the
loveliness and glory of this bright marvellous
world, and the mighty firmament it moves in.
When Joseph Haydn was an old old man and near
death there was a very grand performance of
"The Creation" given in his honour, and seated
in his arm-chair, he lifted his hand upwards at
the passage, "And there was LIGHT."
"It came from thence!" he cried, his heart full
of gratitude and reverence to the supreme Lord
and Giver of all good things, who bestows His
talents and gifts to every man severally as He
will. In those last days of his he yearned for
those who loved and admired him to remember
THE "LITTLE MOOR." 95
that every good gift and every perfect gift comes
from the Father of Light.
Not long after, the noble spirit of Joseph Haydn
returned to Him who gave it.
There is no need to draw a moral in mere poor
words from his life. If we learn from it only to
keep a good heart and persevere, and do with all
our might what our hands and heads find to
do, we shall not have read in vain the story of
" Sepperl the Drummer-Boy."