The Tunes That Charm
Having wearily shuffled up the long winding flight of stairs to his apartment in the third floor of a 17th century house that stood in the midst of the Austrian capital,Vienna, Phillinte fumbled unsuccessfully in his coat pockets for the keys for some time before recalling having always hid them underneath a pot of withered roses beside the door. When he finally got into the apartment, he carelessly threw his small leather brief-case on a random table, and plunged shoes and all into his squaking bed. The eight long hours spent attendting on piles upon piles of papres everyday as a patent clerk had recently began to take their toll on him. The vitality and vigour with which he had attended his in work when he first started now began to wane as he approched his thirtieth birthday.
As he lays in his bed fully conscious that sleep would never overtake him untill the last rays of the sun had been completely extinguished in the western sky, he rose up, despite the prodigiousness of his fatigue, and opened the broad curtained window that surveyed the now tranquilizing street below as the shades of the evening drew on sending the lousy street-venders, and other busy bodies to their wives and children. Opening the window, Phillinte went back and laid on his back in bed and waited for that convivial guest that never failed to pay him a visit every evening. As he waited, basking in the fresh and cool breeze that flowed into the room purging it of the stifling air from the various sets of dusty books and other objects that lay mouldering in the four corners of the room, the thought of his recent heated argument with Miss Loman was suddenly brought to his mind. He had successfully predicted the inevitable outcome of that brief laison long before even meeting the charming lady. The amourous relationship lasted for no more than a brief period of three days and had only constituted another mere unwanted adventure to which he would never have consented if it had not been for the emphatic insistance of his closest friend, Pyrene. Pyrene had been Phillinteâs most cheriched friend ever since their early childhood. They went to school together, played around those splendid medieval Viennese streets together, sneaked upon naked women in public baths every now and then and now they were both at the service of the same company. In shortÂ , it can be declared with complete confidence that there was no other being in the whole world that could understand Phillinte more fully and betterly than Pyrene did. However, the great deviation of the former from his conventional ways of behaviour to which the latter had recently been made witness for so long a time had left him in a mist of doubt. With undescribable horror, Pyrene had helplessly watched Phillinteâs metamorphosis and gradual descent into abysses, his gradual loss of all interest in his work and the myriad other occupations to which he had formerly clung with outmost enthusiasm. Gone, Pyrene witnessed, were those fervent and constant comments on prominent works of literature, those deeply held opinions of this and that celebrated painting and above all his immutable readiness to be one of the first supporters of any new-sprung revolutionary scientific theory that puts forth itâs blossoms in the scientific field. In vain Pyrene had tried time and time again to rekindle Phillinteâs interest in the arts, in his work, or in life as a whole. Even his plan to lure Phillent into a blind date with Miss Lowmans is merely a vain attempt to sheild off the ghastly melacholia that had now layed a tight hold on the latter. In all accounts however, the laison was doomed to failure due to the sheer fact that with or without his melancholia, our hero, if he could be called a hero, had always held scynical views with regards to womankind. This misagony was greatly intensified by what he perceived of womenâs shameless conduct inside the confines of the firm in which he worked. He would always blabb about their superflous and insatiable pursuit of luxurious lives and willingness to put their dignity and honour at the service of bosses and other people of rank at the company so as to indulge in the high life they so avidly sought.
ââThey are all superfical, ever shallow without depth. I have never yet in my life met with a woman worthy of the serious attention of a learned man. My dear and valued friend, I tell you that that somber philospher, Schopenhaur, was absolutely right in mainting the opinion that women are absolutely incapable of taking a purely objective interest in anything, that they have never produced any work of art or made any scientific discovery that is really geniuine and orginal, that their chief outdoor sport is shoping and nothing more. By virtue of my long interaction with this so called the fair sex, I hereby sincerly acknowledge the full truth of this heretofore stated linesââ Thus spoke Phillinte to Pyrene once on the eve of his break up with the young attractive Miss Lomans.
ââI on the other hand, dear Phillinte, hold a completely opposite opinion with regards to women. And I think that Iâm confidently on the right side when I regard your statement to be a complete shamless, overarching, and sweeping generalization about a race as rich and diverse as men themselvesÂ ââreplied Pyrene.
ââI might just be tempted to accept your objection if it were backed with a little bit of evidenceââ teased Phillinte.
ââIâm highly amazed at your holding such a biased opinion. Havenât you always bragged about the Greek poet, Sappho,Â as being one of the most outstanding poets in history. Havenât you always told me that Marie Curie was one of the few real martyrs of science. And how many times have you not stopped to admire that illustrious queen of England, queen Elizabeth the first, and boost that no man has ever been so great a patron of arts and sciences as she did. And This, of course, is to mention just a few fine examples.ââ Pyren confidently stated.
ââWell, well. I agree there are exceptions to all rules, but that only applies to a small worthless minority. What of the overwhelming majorityÂ ?!ââ Phillinte teased again.
ââI honestly think that it all comes down to the question of freedom. Yes, the problem of women is the problem of freedom. Women, my valued intellectual, have not been able to accomplish great achiebments as men did because they have not always enjoyed the same amount of freedom as men did. In all ages and in all societies women have always been kept under strict male supervision. By the various systems of faith thay have always been told that the best thing for them was to keep close to their homes and take care of their offspring. Only in our modern age do glimmers of hope of their liberation begin to take form, yet the road ahead is till a long one.ââ
ââWhatever may be said on the subject I shall always think that man can only be deceived in hoping to find an ideal partner in a woman, and that ,Miss Lowman ,that Iâve just broke up with shall be the last woman I have ever tried to associate with. Iâm done with them, Mark my words.ââ
In this manner was concluded the terse conversation about women between the two friends with Phillinte championing the same opinion as ever.
While Phillinte was thus laying on his bed brooding over his recent breaking of knots with Miss Lomans and resenting the yoke of his melancholia, streams of exceedingly delightful music that suddenly began to flood into his room brought his reverie to an end. The guest he had been waiting for arrived at last as the sweet sounds of the violin played a couple of yards in a street corner by a middle-aged hunchbacked woman with an uncomely countenace , started to penetrate his being filling him with surges of preeminent joy. The music was none he had ever heard; the woman was not playing Bach or Mozart nor Beethoven or Vivaldi or any of the great musical masters of the universe, music he knew all by heart, yet the tunes were absolutely astounding. If ever he had any refuge from the tormenting pangs of melancholy to which had fallen prey, it was undoubtedly furnished by that melody. Evening after evening he would sprawl in his bed and suffer himself to be transported light years away from a pitiful existance he so resoundingly despised.
Phillinte indulged in the illusion that his profound admiration for the music would never lead to the person playingÂ it; this was mainly due to two reasons. One was abviously his secret oath never to partner with women again. The second reason is less obvious, as he had never in his entire life fallen in love with a woman who didnât bear some kind of mysterious resemblance to the goddess aphrodite herself. By that is meant that he had never fallen to a woman that lacked for the grace of beauty. Being a romeo himself, with a tall stature, robust constitution and an extremly handsome countenance, he simply couldnât remember having ever been with a low looking lady. But that, perhaps, was simply due to the fact that it was always the woman who made the first move in all the amourous relationship he had.
He had passed by the woman many times before on his way home, and more than once he had stopped to feast his eyes and ears upon her wonderful playing. She comes to play the violin early in the evening and departs before sun set. She would cearfully thug the violin, held by her left hand, upon her shoulder tilting her head sidewards of it while using the violinâs stick, held by the remaining hand, to produce such wonderfull sounds by the slow and gentle movements of the stick upon the various strings. Out of some mysterious shyness or being wholly absorbed in her art, she would never, not for once, lift her head to survey the great multitude, who having their ears subdued by the lovely tunes formed a large thick demi circle around her. Spectators from all walks of life would gather around her and remain fixed in their position, whether standing or squating, until the last tune had been played out, then they
would burst into a thunderous, hysteric round of applause that lasted for so long a time. After, they would shower her with coins of gold and silver and other valued objects for so great a performance that rightly deserved it all. Life itself was embedded in her music with all its glory and complexity, misery and unfairness, joy and ecsatcy, all was mingled in perfect harmony with the music. Some of the spectators would always drop a tear during each performance and some would brusquely force their way out the crowd because otherwise they would appeare childish sobbing their hearts out in front of other beings. Phillinte had always thought the uncomely woman an incarnation of the Greecian legend, Orphues, who would render all, even trees and animals attentive to his lute by dint of his sublime music.Yet for all the admiration rendered to her art, none had took any interest in her as person. (description of appearance needed). Her unattractive features started everyone to their feet as soon as the music had ended and applauded and rewarded her performance. The reward, it must be stated, she more or less had no need for it, although she lived in what could only be descibed as one form or another of poverty. Her entire family met its end in sailing accident a few miles off the coast of Lisbon, except for her only remaing sibling, her sister Mary. Unlike Rosaline and in some miraculous manner Mary was exceedingly beautiful. She was married to a somewhat rich man and out of geniuin sisterhood she always took pity on her lonely sister by providing her with not at all meager financial support.Â Living at her deceased family house alone, she took it to her mind to use her musical skills to entertain and earn some social acceptance for which she so despretly lacked. Her almost hideous appearance has always been a surmounting obstacle in succesive failed attempts to get in touch with other fellow beings. Many a door to decent and highly rewarding jobs worthy of her exuberant education and refined spirit were shut up in her face as they were reserved for the more beautiful ladies that seem to have been born to every delicacy and luxury life had to offer.
When all is said and done Phillinteâs affectionate feelings for the violinist grew day by day the more he indulged in her sensual melodies, although he was almost if not entirely oblivious of the matter all together. Slowly and very slowly, the woman paved her way into his heart with her irresistable art. Day by day he would lose some bastion of defense and it was only a matter of time before the last one could fall.
Today, however, more than any time before, he felt such a persistant urge to be united with that miserable, lonely being. Induced by the powerful effects of Rasalineâs violin, he let himself sink into a profound reverie. A train of phantasmagorical images began to circulate his fancy. One moment he would picture him and her united under the same roof with her playing her instrument while he pinches himself making sure he was not in a dream. Another moment he would fancy him and her fleeing to some distant island far away from all the beastliness that made the modern world. All this daydreaming was abruptly brought to a halt when the playing had ceased followed by the usual thunderous applause from the spectators. Phillinte sprang immediately to his feet and rushed out of the apartment,down the winding the staircase to the empty street below. By the time he reached the the woman with the velvet violin, the great multitudes had already cleared off and only she remained gently rearranging her instrument into a black leather case. With steady steps Phillinte approaches the woman, they look at each other for a while half in awe half in disbelief before the man, eventually, summons his courage to say: ââMay it please a most beautiful lady to have dinner with me tonightââ.