Friday, February 10, 2006


Madame X has given another recital with her hapless husband. She is drawing a salary of five hundred ducats from His Grace because she sings her arias an exclamation mark higher than her rivals. This is really a great achievement, for she manages to remain in tune. She has now promised to sing a further half tone higher than her habit, but on condition that she is paid twice as much.

When safely inside our coach, I turned to Papa and announced I would like to compose her a song or two to sing in my new opera.
‘Basta!,' he shouted to the walls. 'Over my ...’ and left the words unfinished.
“Clunk, clunk,’ I replied in tune with the wheels and we laughed so much that he wept as he kissed my hands and whispered into my ear, ‘I wish Jack Pudding were here.’ We were silent for the rest of the way home and did not have to mention Mama for us to think about her too. N.


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