Song of the Lark HTML version

Part III. Stupid Faces
Chapter III.1
So many grinning, stupid faces! Thea was sitting by the window in Bowers's
studio, waiting for him to come back from lunch. On her knee was the latest
number of an illustrated musical journal in which musicians great and little
stridently advertised their wares. Every afternoon she played accompaniments
for people who looked and smiled like these. She was getting tired of the human
Thea had been in Chicago for two months. She had a small church position
which partly paid her living expenses, and she paid for her singing lessons by
playing Bowers's accompaniments every afternoon from two until six. She had
been compelled to leave her old friends Mrs. Lorch and Mrs. Andersen, because
the long ride from North Chicago to Bowers's studio on Michigan Avenue took too
much time--an hour in the morning, and at night, when the cars were crowded,
an hour and a half. For the first month she had clung to her old room, but the bad
air in the cars, at the end of a long day's work, fatigued her greatly and was bad
for her voice. Since she left Mrs. Lorch, she had been staying at a students' club
to which she was introduced by Miss Adler, Bowers's morning accompanist, an
intelligent Jewish girl from Evanston.
Thea took her lesson from Bowers every day from eleven-thirty until twelve.
Then she went out to lunch with an Italian grammar under her arm, and came
back to the studio to begin her work at two. In the afternoon Bowers coached
professionals and taught his advanced pupils. It was his theory that Thea ought
to be able to learn a great deal by keeping her ears open while she played for
The concert-going public of Chicago still remembers the long, sallow,
discontented face of Madison Bowers. He seldom missed an evening concert,
and was usually to be seen lounging somewhere at the back of the concert hall,
reading a newspaper or review, and conspicuously ignoring the efforts of the
performers. At the end of a number he looked up from his paper long enough to
sweep the applauding audience with a contemptuous eye. His face was
intelligent, with a narrow lower jaw, a thin nose, faded gray eyes, and a close-cut
brown mustache. His hair was iron-gray, thin and dead-looking. He went to
concerts chiefly to satisfy himself as to how badly things were done and how
gullible the public was. He hated the whole race of artists; the work they did, the