This scene takes place the morning after Dylan has heard Geoffrey play at the music hall.Â . FYI: Schonberg is the aging violinist who is Geoffrey’s mentor.
(reminder: Counterpoint is unpublished at this time)
The next morning was fog-gray and as Dylan left the lodging-house he was disconcerted to find DohnÃ¡nyi sitting like a beggarï·“boy on the bottom step. He was the last person Dylan expected or wanted to see. It was cold and the stupid fool did not even have the common sense to wear a coat.
Geoffrey leaped to his feet as Dylan came down the stairs. â€œMr. Rutledge, may I please speak with you?â€
Dylan said brusquely, â€œI enjoyed the performance. You are even more brilliant than Schonberg said. Now go away. I have work to do.â€ He hurried toward a cab, for the day was too wet to ride his bicycle.
â€œPlease, I need to explain aboutâ€”â€
â€œYou owe me no explanation.â€
Geoffrey tagged after him. â€œBut I do. The man you saw last eveningâ€”â€
Dylan took a deep breath. â€œI met him at the Maestroâ€™s party, if you recall. You owe me no explanation,â€ he repeated.
â€œBut I want you to understand.â€
Dylan rounded on him. â€œWhy?â€
Geoffreyâ€™s gaze did not waver. â€œI donâ€™t want you to tell Maestro Schonberg what you saw.â€
â€œI saw nothing. Good day.â€ Dylan had one foot in the cab when Geoffrey spoke again, in anger.
â€œYou judge me without knowing anything about me.â€
â€œIâ€™m not judâ€” What you do is no business of mine.â€
â€œBut you make my business yours when you look at me so.â€
â€œWhat are you talking about?â€
â€œAs if I stole your chickens. That look.â€
â€œYour imagination is overworked.â€ He climbed into the cab, shut the door, started to tap on the roof, changed his mind and got out. Geoffrey was walking away and he followed. Geoffrey kicked a large stone, hopped as if it hurt his foot, kicked it again, then reached for his bicycle. â€œWait!â€ called Dylan, and when he was inches away from him demanded, â€œAs long as you feel like explaining, explain why you changed my St. Joan?â€
Geoffreyâ€™s chin lifted. â€œIt was made better, wasnâ€™t it?â€
â€œWhether it was or wasnâ€™t is a matter of opinion, and at any rate that is not the point. The point is: you didnâ€™t ask.â€
â€œDo I ask Beethoven? Do I ask Mendelssohn? No. Iâ€™m an artist. I interpret.â€
â€œThose composers are conveniently dead. Iâ€™m not.â€
â€œMr. Rutledge, you are a great composer. Youâ€™re also a great fool.â€
â€œOh, really! Well, youâ€™re a great violinist. And no less a fool!â€
â€œYou think you are God!â€
â€œAnd you would rewrite the Ten Commandments. Without asking permission of the Author.â€
They glared daggers at one another. â€œIf you truly consider me a great violinistâ€”â€
â€œI said as much, didnâ€™t I?â€
Geoffrey did not acknowledge his words. â€œIf you consider me a great violinist,â€ he repeated, â€œwhy do you object to my playing St. Joan?â€
Dylan pounded his fist into his other hand to emphasize each word. â€œYou. Didnâ€™t. Play. It. The way. I. Composed. It. Is that plain enough?â€
â€œAnyone other than Dylan Rutledge would be flattered. Or is it that I played it? A nobody. A Gypsy orphan from nowhere. Is that it?â€ A muscle worked in his lightly whiskered jaw. â€œVery well. I give you my word. I shall never again perform your work.â€ He righted his bicycle.
â€œI didnâ€™t mean that. All I ask is that you play it as I intended.â€
â€œAm I to read your mind? Iâ€™ve never seen the score.â€
Dylan was thunderstruck. â€œNot seen the score? Then how could you play it?â€
â€œI remember it.â€
â€œYou heard it once, long ago.â€
Geoffreyâ€™s voice was low, the strain and anger were gone. â€œI loved it then. I still do.â€
â€œYou picked it to shreds that night!â€
â€œI said the scherzo in the first violin and cello were flawed. If youâ€™ve not revised them, they still are. It doesnâ€™t affect my love for the work.â€
At a loss for words, Dylan finally managed to say, â€œThat is the strangest compliment Iâ€™ve ever had.â€
â€œPerhaps if you could give me a score…?â€
â€œYes. Yes. Then youâ€™ll play it as written, I presume?â€
Geoffrey grinned. â€œDine with the Maestro and me Sunday. Bring the score and weâ€™ll discuss it.â€ He hopped on his bicycle and sped off.
â€œWait!â€ Dylan called. â€œWhat do you mean â€˜discuss?â€™ Thereâ€™s nothing to discuss!â€ He heard Geoffreyâ€™s laughter as he turned a corner and was gone from sight. â€œDamn him! If he thinks that I will change anything, heâ€™s sadly mistaken. And thereâ€™s nothing wrong with the scherzo. I know there isnâ€™t.â€ Dylan once again set off in the cab. â€œThe scherzo is perfect,â€ he said to himself as the vehicle rattled through the street. â€œIâ€™ll prove it. Iâ€™ll get it out tonight. If I can remember which box itâ€™s in. Damn him!â€ Yet there was still the provoking memory of those grating double-stops which so aptly portrayed the fire and St. Joanâ€™s terror. And which he had not written.
- About the Author
- Posts in the Past
I’m one of those people who is as interesting as drying paint. No kidding. I married my high school boyfriend and am still married 49 years later. He’s the only guy I ever dated and the only man I’ve ever seen nekkid (at least in print.) I love writing and reading; I love history, biographies, and historical fiction, but also poetry and… oh, a little of everything else. I don’t tweet, twitter, or text but I do sometimes blather. I’m old but would like to be young, short (4’11”) and would like to be tall, jobless but would like to be idle rich instead of just idle. I’d like to be Angelina Jolie but have to settle for Pooh Bear. I love my family and friends and fans in particular, and people in general, except for the occasional pain-in-the-kiester who irritates me.