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exceptionally good, such as M. Philippe Stutz, for
instance, who with great skill as an executant
combines the talent of a composer. M. Stutz is
the Musard of the piano; and when the mistress
of a house informs you that she has engaged
Stutz for her soirée dansante, you may be sure
that the ball will not flag that evening, and that
every leg will be alert and valiant. In fact,
many a waltzer who, with such a pianist, will
waltz at one breath for five- and- twenty
minutes without experiencing any other
inconvenience than a singing in the ears, and a
heavy pressure on the top of the skullwill begin
to totter with such another pianist at the end of
ten minutes. Good fingers in the pianist do
really make good legs in the dancer. An
erroneous belief is current in the world that every
good pianist can play to dancers. But how many
grand performers, after exciting the admiration
of the room by their execution of some fine and
difficult fantasia, have made a complete failure
by volunteering to replace, as a sort of joke, the
pianist who makes dance-music his special

Among the old beaux who still adore the
dance, there are always some who, as a mark of
good taste, go and chat with the pianist, indulging
in a little musical gossip. On such occasions
the soirée pianist never fails to make profession
of his musical faith. His mania is to appear in
the eyes of the guests as an artist out of his
proper place, born to play serious arid even doleful
music, but constrained by circumstances to
compose and perform light and frivolous dance-
tunes. Religious music, masses for the dead
especially, is his real vocation. Polkas! Give
him counterpoint, à la Palestrina; fugues with
two subjects, in eight parts. For him, melody
is little or nothing; harmony is everything.
Fancy what must be his sufferings in having to
earn his bread by melody!

A great merit with the soirée pianist is, to
have a numerous stock of all the dances in vogue,
so as to satisfy all tastes, and even all political
opinionsfor politics intrude themselves everywhere
in France, even into airs for people to
dance to. The Victor Emmanuel quadrille and
the Solferino polka may be suitable for certain
ball-rooms, while others would prefer the Francis
the Second galop, with the Duchess of Parma
redowa. Once upon a time, the services of
soirées pianists were rather liberally compensated;
but the profession, like many others, has
fallen below mediocrity. And it makes one blush
to see certain great ladies, who think nothing
too dear which flatters their vanity, driving their
bargains with cruel persistence, to screw five
francs out of an artist's evening's work.

Good amateur pianists are now-o'-days numerous
in France. As for amateurs of moderate
talent, their number is incalculable. They shine
with more or less brilliancy; but they are as
innumerable as the stars of minor magnitude,
in the vast firmament of harmony. Generally,
out of a hundred musical amateurs, at least
ninety-five play the piano. Why this almost
absolute preference over all other musical instruments?
For several reasons. First; the piano
(together with the expressive organ) is the only
instrument played by ladies now that the
flageolet is dead and buried, the harp gone dumb,
and the guitar confined to Almaviva's serenade
in the Barber of Seville. Secondly; it requires
a much shorter time to become bearable by
others, and by one's self, on the piano where
the notes are ready made to hand, than on
the violin, the violincello, the clarionet, or the
horn. Thirdly; the piano having become an
indispensable piece of drawing-room furniture, it
may be played wherever it happens to be met
with, as if the result of accident, without there
being in the improvised musical exhibition any
marked symptoms of premeditation. This is
not the case with violinists, bassists, flutists,
cornetists, and so on, who cannot give utterance
to a single note without having their instrument
lugged about with them. In the department
of the Seine alone, there are sixty-three
thousand pianos out on hire.

But the piano has also its enemies, who
threaten it with persecution and partial suppression,
by taxation. To counteract this enormity,
it is proposed to establish a factory of imitation
pianos. These pianos, constructed of the stoutest
pasteboard, will represent ordinary pianos, so as
to deceive the most experienced eye. They will be
exempted from the tax (when it is imposed);
and will have over real pianos the triple advantage
of being infinitely cheaper, of making no
noise, and of serving as convenient cupboards.
When the dog-tax was established in France,
many people slew and stuffed their dog, by this
means avoiding the impost, and yet not parting
with their beloved animal. The poor piano has
given rise to other equally intolerable pleasantries.

"My dear fellow, you have no idea what a
delightful creature is Mdlle. Clarisse Filandor!"

"Oh, I know her; a charming blonde of

"Yes; with blue eyes and black eyelashes."

"Her fortune is two hundred thousand francs."

"Precisely; and she has an ailing uncle, of
whom she is the only heiress."

"And, to crown the whole, she doesn't play
the piano."

"I was going to mention it. Consequently,
she is not a woman like other women; she is a
perfect angel."

Or, again: "Madame Tanguin's parties are
dull. Nobody goes there."

"How is that? Is she unamiable, or does she
do things shabbily?"

"Quite the contrary. Madame Tauguin is
extremely amiable. She is liberal with her
refreshments; soups go the round after midnight.
Only she has a couple of daughters who play
duets on the piano."*
* In Sheridan's Affectation, a lady says, " Send
for the man to put the piano out of tune."