As he descended the stairs, Gerald heard what sounded to him like a little snippet from The Well-Tempered Clavichord. It stopped abruptly, followed by a few chords struck seemingly at random, and then he heard what he recognized as the middle section of Chopin’s Polonaise in Ab Major. “Keep that up, and Horowitz will have to find a new occupation,” he called out cheerily.
“He’s dead. No competition. And you’re back just in time. Can you help me reset this mechanism? I can lift it, but it is just too awkward to get set properly on the pins. And guess what? I found something odd. There is an extra vacuum line running from the G4 actuator. I can’t tell where it goes exactly, but it seems to disappear into the left front leg of the instrument.”
“G4? Which one is that?”
“G above Middle C. The fourth octave, silly. And that’s the note that was so badly out of temper.”
“At risk of making a bad pun, would that make it a piano with distemper?” Gerald asked, and ducked, as Alice laughed and threw a rubber wedge at him.
“Hey! Don’t throw things at me! I’m the best friend you have,” he laughed back at her.
“What’s the dusty box?” Alice asked, after they had reset the player mechanism into the piano.
“Oh, some rolls I found in the attic. I wonder if the player mechanism works. If it does, we could put one on.”
“Well, all the vacuum lines seemed to be ok,” Alice replied. “I was surprised. I expected the rubber to be hardened and brittle.”
“Well, maybe Aunt Sarah kept it serviced and operable. Knowing my family, I’d find it surprising if she did not. Where’s the motor? I found a notebook where someone wrote about having it electrified.”
“I don’t know,” Alice replied. “I didn’t see a motor, or a set of bellows for it. I assume that must be what the extra vacuum line is all about. There must be a motor and bellows under the floor or something. I found a push button switch on the wall, behind the curtain over there,” she went on, as she indicated the window curtain to the left of the piano.
Gerald went over to the curtain, and drew the heavy drape back with his hand. Sure enough, there was a switch plate, with a double push button switch mounted in it. He pressed the upper button, and there was a slight mechanical noise, and the take-up spindle began spinning rapidly.
Alice opened a drop panel along the front of the keys, and moved a lever to the left. The spindle stopped rotating, but the mechanical noise continued. She bent down on her hands and knees beneath the piano, and announced, “It is coming from beneath the floor. Whoever rigged this to run on electricity must have mounted the motor beneath the floor, and run a vacuum line up inside that one leg. Let’s see what rolls we have, and if they are in decent shape.” Well,
Gerald thought to himself. So much for my idea of putting the piano in the round section of the parlor.
She crawled over to the box Gerald had set on the floor, and began taking the boxed rolls out. As she did, she read the titles printed on the boxes. “Prelude In E Minor, Chopin; Scarlatti, Sonata In G Major; Hayden, Capriccio in G Major; Sonata In G Major, Schubert; Original Rags, Joplin. How odd,” she remarked. “Every one of these is in either G or its relative minor. No wonder G4 was out of temper; it must have gotten quite a workout.”
“Well, let’s put one on, and see if everything works,” Gerald suggested.
Alice opened the Scott Joplin box, and took out the roll inside. “The paper seems to be in good condition,” she observed, unrolling a few feet. “Here,” she said, handing the roll to Gerald. “Tie the ribbon to the take-up spool, and let’s see if it works. That left lever is the on-off switch, and the center one should control speed. The lever on the right should shift the keyboard slightly, just as operating the soft pedal does, so the hammers strike fewer strings on each note.”
Gerald experimentally moved the right-hand lever from right to left, and the keyboard obediently shifted slightly. “Well, the volume control, such as it is, seems to work,” he said. With that, he flipped the left lever to “PLAY” and the paper roll began to slowly slide across the copper face of the manifold. HE started slightly as the first notes of a vaguely familiar Joplin rag began to fill the room. “It is similar to Maple Leaf, but not quite the same, “he said.
“I think I remember reading somewhere that his Original Rags was published a few years prior to Maple Leaf,” Alice replied. “I imagine he, like many composers, re-used snippets of melodies.” She turned her attention back to the box on the floor in front of her. “What’s this, a notebook?” she asked.
“Why don’t you see for yourself,” Gerald said, cryptically, and raised an eyebrow.
“Oh, aren’t WE the mysterious one?” Alice asked, laughing. Her chuckling was stilled when, opening the book at random, she read, aloud, ‘… and they were clearly enjoying themselves. Her moans of pleasure filled the entire house. I was at first alarmed the neighbors might hear, but that quickly changed to chagrin, when I realized they must have been carrying on thus for some time, while Adoule and I were engaged at the office.’
“Wha…why… um…wasn’t Adoule your father? Is this about your mother?” she asked, putting her finger in the page, closing the book on it, and looking Gerald in the eye.
“I don’t know. I hadn’t read that far ahead. What I read was about my Aunt Sarah,”
“So maybe this is about your Aunt Sarah and someone else!” Alice said, excitedly. “Goodness! She must have been quite the trollop, don’t you think?”
“Well, Mother did say she was, um…’liberated’ I think, was how she put it.”
Alice opened the book again, and flipped back one page. “Listen,” she said, and began reading aloud.
“23 September 1908
We had an easy day at the office today, and Adoule and I were both able to get off two hours early. We took the carriage over to Mr. Grainger, and had him adjust the brakes and wheel bearings. Adoule took a great interest in the mechanics, and stayed, watching him while I had a short stroll around the block.
The weather was balmy for late September, and I was pleased to see a few young ladies out taking the air. One of them seemed quite gay, and showed a bit of ankle. From what I heard of their conversation, she had been proposed to last night. All three of them were giggling and carrying on. I heard her say, ‘…on my breast!’ and they all flew into fits of giggles. I would have liked to have eavesdropped a bit more, but there was no way I could do so without being obvious. From what I could see of her in her blouse, she did seem to have an ample bosom. I continued walking, and hoped my arousal was not too apparent to passers-by.
When the carriage was finished, Adoule and I proceeded home. I noticed Miss Wilson’s shay drawn up at the curb, and assumed she must have come for her weekly piano lesson. Adoule offered to take care of unhitching the mare, and I went into the house.
Neither Miss Wilson nor Sarah were in the living room, and as I proceeded up the stairs, I heard what sounded like one of them gasp loudly. I paused on the stairway, fearing that perhaps something had happened to Miss Wilson’s clothing, and noting our arrival, they had gone upstairs to repair it in private. What I heard next though, changed my mental image entirely.
“Oh, yes! Right there, like that,” Sarah said quite loudly.
I recognized her tone of voice and quickly but quietly made my way up the stairs. I arrived on the landing, just in time to see Miss Wilson’s bare bottom lower onto Sarah’s face. They were both naked …
And that’s where the next page starts”, said Alice.
Gerald was beginning to feel some minor arousal, and said, “Read on, why don’t you.”
“Let’s go upstairs and get in bed and read it together,” Alice replied.
“Getting to you, too, is it?”
“I’d be a liar if I said it wasn’t. Though, I must admit, the language seems a bit stilted.”
Because it was the middle of the afternoon, neither felt the need to perform an ablutions, and soon they were sitting in bed together, naked.
“Where shall we start? Alice asked.
“Let’s continue on from where you left off. Though, I suppose one day, we really should read it from start to finish.”
"If it is all like what I've read so far, we may start reading, but I suspect we'll finish otherwise, " Alice laughed.
"M-m-m-m,. Don't tempt me, you little minx!" Geralr replied, as he stroked Alice's nipple.
"Stop it, now, I'm reading," Alice said, tossing her head in mock severity.
Alice opened the notebook, found the page where she had stopped reading, and began.
‘… and they were clearly enjoying themselves. Her moans of pleasure filled the entire house. I was at first alarmed the neighbors might hear, but that quickly changed to chagrin, when I realized they must have been carrying on thus for some time, while Adoule and I were engaged at the office.
Their cries of pleasure increased as they went up the climatic scale together, and soon they were both crying out quite loudly. I was fully aroused myself by this time, and sought to change my position, when I bumped into Adoule.
Unbeknownst to me, he had taken the opportunity of their loud play, to quietly creep up the stairs, and was standing on the step below me.
“Hey,” he cried out, grasping the railing. “You almost knocked me down the stairs.”
“Sh-h-h,” I hissed, but it was too late.
“Who’s there?” called out Sarah. “We … um… we will be right down.”
I decided it was time to let them know that I had heard everything. Well, not everything, but certainly enough to know what was going on and to make a mental note that Sarah would have to be punished severely in our next little private session. She knew the rules ; She was never to experience any sexual pleasures, unless they came at my direction, and under my control. I had a sudden stoke of brilliance. If I were to take Miss Wilson in Sarah’s presence, that would punish her tremendously. And then, this evening, I would take her to the basement, but withhold all pleasure from her, to serve as a reminder of her transgression. MY turgid member throbbed at the thought of having Miss Wilson’s lovely limbs open for me, and I proceeded up the stairs, unfastening my waistcoat as I went.
Adoule was right behind me; I had forgotten about that little twerp. How DARE he to transgress upon the sanctity of my living quarters! It quickly became clear to me that I could not openly do anything to stop him at this juncture, but I began to formulate a plan.
So I stepped boldly into the room and began speaking.
“Well. Miss Wilson, Ellen, is it not? I feel no reason not to address you by your given name, now that I have seen you in dishabille. You may address me as Mr. Ethridge, or, if you prefer the familiar, Daniel. This is my protégé, Adoule. Sarah, I think we should show Adoule and Ellen the basement, don’t you agree?.
Of course she was totally taken by surprise by my suggestion, but Sarah would never gainsay me, and she replied, shakily, “Yes, Da…um Daniel.”
“Right, then,” I replied smartly. “Off we go.”
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with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="https://www.lushstories.com/stories/novels/minuet-in-g-chapter-v.aspx">Minuet In G Chapter V</a>