Looking Backward From 2000 to 1887
When we arrived home, Dr. Leete had not yet returned, and Mrs. Leete was not visible.
"Are you fond of music, Mr. West?" Edith asked.
I assured her that it was half of life, according to my notion.
"I ought to apologize for inquiring," she said. "It is not a question that we ask one another
nowadays; but I have read that in your day, even among the cultured class, there were
some who did not care for music."
"You must remember, in excuse," I said, "that we had some rather absurd kinds of
"Yes," she said, "I know that; I am afraid I should not have fancied it all myself. Would
you like to hear some of ours now, Mr. West?"
"Nothing would delight me so much as to listen to you," I said.
"To me!" she exclaimed, laughing. "Did you think I was going to play or sing to you?"
"I hoped so, certainly," I replied.
Seeing that I was a little abashed, she subdued her merriment and explained. "Of course,
we all sing nowadays as a matter of course in the training of the voice, and some learn to
play instruments for their private amusement; but the professional music is so much
grander and more perfect than any performance of ours, and so easily commanded when
we wish to hear it, that we don't think of calling our singing or playing music at all. All
the really fine singers and players are in the musical service, and the rest of us hold our
peace for the main part. But would you really like to hear some music?"
I assured her once more that I would.
"Come, then, into the music room," she said, and I followed her into an apartment
finished, without hangings, in wood, with a floor of polished wood. I was prepared for
new devices in musical instruments, but I saw nothing in the room which by any stretch
of imagination could be conceived as such. It was evident that my puzzled appearance
was affording intense amusement to Edith.
"Please look at to-day's music," she said, handing me a card, "and tell me what you would
prefer. It is now five o'clock, you will remember."
The card bore the date "September 12, 2000," and contained the longest programme of
music I had ever seen. It was as various as it was long, including a most extraordinary
range of vocal and instrumental solos, duets, quartettes, and various orchestral