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82                               FRANKLIN-SQUARE SONG COLLECTION.
Acquaintance with Paganini.—One of Ole Bull's father's assistants played the flute, and used to receive musical catalogues from Copenhagen. Ole devoured the names, and for the first time saw that of Paganini in connection with his famous twen­ty-four " Caprices." One evening his father brought home two Italians, the first Ole had ever seen. He was then fourteen years of age, and their talk was a revelation to him. They told him all they knew of Paganini, the very mention of whose name excited him. He afterwards related the story to a friend
thus: "I went to my sympathizer and said, 'Dear grandmother, can't I have some of Paganini's music?' ' Don't tell any one,' said the dear old woman, ' but I will try to buy a piece of his for you if you are a good child;' and she did try,and I was wild when I at last had the Paganini music. How difficult it was, but oh, how beautiful! The garden-house was more than ever my refuge, and perhaps the cats, who were my only listeners, were not so frightened at my attempts as at my earlier efforts to play FioriJlo's 1 Studies,' when I really drove them from their food.
On a Tuesday quartet evening, a favorite concerto of Sphor's lay on the leader's stand, and while the company were at supper I tried the score. Carried away with the music, I forgot myself, and was dis­covered by Lundholm on his return, and scolded for my presumption. 'What impudence! Perhaps you think you could play this at sight, boy!' ' Yes, I think I could.' And as I thought so, I don't know why I should not have said so, do you ? The rest of the company had now joined us, and insisted that I should try it. I played the allegro. All ap-
plauded save the leader, who looked angry. ' You think you can play anything, then?' he asked, and taking a caprice of Paganini's from the stand, he said: 'Try this.' Now it happened that this very caprice was my favorite, as the cats well knew. I could play it by heart, and I polished it off. When I had finished they all shouted, and, instead of rav­ing, as I thought he would, Lundholm was more polite and kind than he had ever been before, and told me that with very diligent practice I might hope to equal himself some day."—Ole Bull, a Memoir-

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III