Monday, July 23, 2012

The Beautiful Miller Maid Chapter 3 Halt by the Brook Part 2

The following is part of the opening chapters of a novel I have written based on my youthful experiences. It is based on Schubert's song cycle Die Schöne Müllerin which tells the tale of a young miller who falls in love. You can find the earlier chapters on this blog. One day I'll put the whole thing up as a iBook.

The Beautiful Miller Maid
Chapter 3 Halt by the Brook part 2

Tring retired to the tiny kitchen and King continued to talk to this fascinating young lady. He had never spoken to a young pubescent girl before. This was a first for him. King felt strangely drawn to her. He wanted to know all about her and the time flew. Eventually he thought the time had arrived for her to sing. Actually he was dreading it as he was so afraid that she would not be able to mange the part and he would be left Phebe-less. He knew without a young Phebe his Ghosts would remain on the shelf. Fortunately the potential Phebe was totally in the dark about this.

The baby grand was by the wall and almost filled the tiny room. Simon placed her on his left side and she was right against the wall and up beside his ear. There was not room to swat a fly.

“Now give me the score!” he demanded.

“I am awfully sorry but I don’t have any music. Miss Salmon did not give me one”.

“Look I am awfully sorry Antoinette but although I write this stuff I can only play it from music!” said an exasperated King. “Tring!”

The next quarter of an hour was taken up with a hilarious search of the flat by the two bachelors until eventually by luck one was found.

The moment now could not be put off any longer and Antoinette started to sing the difficult little lullaby that Phebe sings to her doll. The moment Antoinette started to sing it was as if they were still lost again in the dream on the stage at Churston.

She sang it beautifully, dead in time dead in tune he couldn’t believe his luck. King looked at her seriously straight into her eyes.

"Well you can manage that!" was all he said. No notes, no "this could be taken faster" just "Well I think you can manage that."

“How many rehearsals did you have to learn this?” he enquired “And when was your last practice?”

“Three hours only. The last was about ten days ago”

“Pansy is a devil” he thought. “Gosh this child is clever.”

“Let’s do it again!” There was no need to ‘Do it again!” as she had sung it perfectly. For the television it was not necessary for her voice to fill a two thousand-seater theatre if she could do The Anger Quartet she would be perfect but he wanted her to “do it again” simply because he had enjoyed the experience of singing with a young girl standing close to his ear. He found the soft feel of her body up so close exceptionally comforting and to his surprise enjoyable. He had never felt like this before.

He found he enjoyed playing and making music with her and this would be his only chance. The lullaby had never sounded so good. He never went to rehearsals and he could never ever ask her, a young girl to come to his flat again. So it was now or never.

She was so near and he could feel her soft breath on the back of his neck. It was so sexy. He discovered he loved to hear her soft female voice in his ear. It made him want to kiss her. He loved the smell of her. She was slightly sweaty as she had been dancing all day but he found her smell so enticing. He never, never felt like this with Tring! Tring was kept on the other side of the piano but how nice it was to have someone close beside you blowing softly in one’s ear. Like a cat purring on your shoulder saying “I love you! Unconditionally, Love me” in your ear.

King made the audition last as long as he could. He went through “the Anger” aria twice and she just told him the top ‘A’ was too high. “I just cannot sing it. I have a light voice but not a high voice. Please you said you would re write to make it easier for me”.

“I did indeed, but you can sing this. Phebe although a child is an old, old woman, so my writing is for an old woman but it is so effective if you could sing it as is.” Also King knew re orchestration was expensive and it would put the oboe into a difficult key.

Again she was perfect and he offered not one word of advice or correction. King knew he had found his Phebe but he was not going to tell her just yet.

He did not want her to go.  None of his little boys had been able to talk to me like this as an equal. He talked and talked about music and Devon about the poems of Thomas Hardy which she was studying. He even got her to recite one but by half past nine a 15 year old Antoinette really had to go. He took both her hands and squeezed with feeling as if to say once again thank you.

“I enjoyed our evening making music together. Tring is right ! You should learn “Die Schöne Müllerin”. If you do we could sing it together for fun.”

“I’ll do my best Mr. King. I cannot promise. I have to take my intermediate ballet exam next month and my GCE’s.” With that Antoinette put on her school hat and the pretty Miller’s maid said goodnight to the two bachelors walked the mile in the of late night to the tube station and went home to Hillingdon. She arrived at eleven o’clock and her parents did not bat an eyelid.

But that night a15 year old Antoinette too felt that something special had happened. She too felt close to Simon and had fallen under his spell. To be honest for once Simon had not done this deliberately as he had planned originally as he really, really needed a young Phebe. He genuinely liked and admired her as a colleague but she was just15 and a child, a pretty little ballet dancer with a small but accurate voice and at the moment extremely useful so must be cultivated. No Phebe no TV Ghosts and that meant a lot to him.

Tring was amused and went around humming “Die Schöne Müllerin” and from that moment Antoinette’s nickname became “Die Schöne Müllerin” between themselves, although the rest of the entourage eventually called her Phebe. It was the start of a strange menage a trios that would lead to tragedy like the song cycle.

For the next few years Antoinette was not to feature in Mr. Tring’s life and he hardly gave her another thought although Pansy Salmon did.

Simon King was just relieved to have found a young Phebe. He felt sure he had done enough to entice Miss Miller to accept the role and from then on took little interest. "If that concert is anything to go by she will be fine but perhaps I’ll put her on the Xmas card list" and Miss Miller almost became a ghost!

Thank you all for reading this 'trail'. The response has encouraged me to try to make an iBook! Then for a few dollars you can find out what happened.

No comments:

Post a Comment