I ran back to the hall promising myself to have him shot for not obeying my orders. The signal came again. They were waiting. I saw but one way to save the play from failure.
I took up the instrument [´InstrVmqnt], put the smaller end into my mouth and blew. Not a sound came from the thing.
The signal was given a third time.
Then I took the horn again, put it to my lips and blew as hard as I could.
The result was terrible. My ears were deafened, the windows shook, the hats of my visitors rained from their pegs, and as I pressed my hands to my head, the horn player came out, shaky on his feet, and looked at the guests, who began to appear on the stairs...
For the next three months I studied horn-blowing. I did not like my teacher and hated to hear him always saying that the horn was more like the human voice than any other instrument. But he was clever, and I worked hard without a word of complaint. At last I asked him if he thought I could play something in private to a friend.
"Well, Colonel," he said, "I'll tell you the truth: it would be beyond your ability. You haven't the lip for it. You blow too hard, and it spoils the impression. What were you thinking of playing to your friend?"
"Something that you must teach me, Schubert's serenade."
He stared at me, and shook his head. "It isn't written for the instrument, sir," he said, "you'll never play it." But I insisted. "The first time I play it through without a mistake, I'll give you five pounds, I said. So the man gave in.
(to be continued)