Conrad First The Joseph Conrad Periodical Archive
Extract (Victory: An Island Tale)

A Musical Event

in The Albuquerque Morning Journal (Albuquerque, NM, USA) (Dec 4, 1917): (Page imagery not yet available)

View in Internet Archive BookReader (experimental).
p.2. Edited extract reads: "The uproar in that small, barn-like structure . . . was simply stunning. An instrumental uproar, screaming, grunting, whining, sobbing, scraping, squeaking some kind of lively air; while a grand piano, operated upon by a bony, red-faced woman with bad-tempered nostrils, rained hard notes like hail through the tempest of fiddles. . . . 'This is awful!' Heyst murmured to himself. But there is an unholy fascination in systematic noise. He did not flee from it incontinently, as one might have expected him to do. He remained, astonished at himself for remaining, since nothing could have been more repulsive to his tastes, more painful to his senses, and, so to speak, more contrary to his genius, than this rude exhibition of vigor. The horrible [orig: Zangiacomo] band was not making music; it was simply murdering silence with a vulgar, ferocious energy. One felt as if witnessing a deed of violence; and that impression was so strong that it seemed marvelous to see the people sitting so quietly on their chairs, drinking so calmly out of their glasses, and giving no signs of distress, anger, or fear. Heyst averted his gaze from the unnatural spectacle of their indifference. When the piece of music came to an end the relief was so great that he felt slightly dizzy, as if a chasm of silence had yawned at his feet. When he raised his eyes, the audience, most perversely, was exhibiting signs of animation and interest in their faces . . ."

Full text available to subscribers via