Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Absent-Mindedness in a Parish Choir." Thomas Hardy.

One-minute review: The band that played in the gallery of the parish church played also in taverns. The Sunday after Christmas they had played all the previous night and early morning in a tavern and arrived at church which was very cold in the gallery where they played. To keep warm, they furtively took some liquor during the beginning of the service and, during a very long sermon, they fell asleep. When the time came to play the hymn after the sermon, they were all sleeping. The parishioners turned to see what was the cause of their silence. A boy who sat in the gallery nudged them and they leaped up and, since the church was so dark, and, forgetting where they were, they began playing “The Devil Among the Tailors,” a tavern song instead of the hymn. The Squire said it was a disgrace, they were dismissed and the parish purchased an organ to replace them.

75 Short Masterpieces: Stories from the World’s Literature. Ed. Roger B. Goodman. New York: Bantam Books. 1961. These summaries do not do justice to the vividness of the stories. RayS.

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