Chapter 29 The Ball Room Loft
Mr. Edwin and Mr. Mac had much the same reaction as the boys did a few days before. First awed by the size of the room, the expanse of windows and the spectacular sunset, then to turn and see the magnificence of the pipe facade brought exclamations from both men. Now that the room was full of light the boys noticed some details they had not taken in the first time.
As they stood in the middle of the room looking at the organ loft they saw that there was a beautiful golden grand piano decorated in gilt ormolu to the left of the center of the facade and on the right was a grand harp also gleaming gold. Next to harp the were four gilded chairs and matching music stands, each fashioned in the classic shape of a lyre harp. Still, the boys saw no sign of an organ console and inquired of Zee-zee where it might be.
“Oh, it's there, all right! Come on, I'll show you.” she led the party up one of the sweeping arcs of stairs, past the landing, and on to the top of the wide center staircase. When the last one had reached the top of the stairs she cautioned them to stand clear of the area in front of the decorated panels beneath the center of the pipe facade and the top of the stairs. On the back side of one of the banister posts was a shiny brass plate with two small buttons, one of which she pressed. Silently the two center panels slid away from each other and a large four manual console seemed to float toward them from out of the recesses of the wall, coming to a stop just a few feet from the top of the stairs. The wall panels then closed again with the softest of clicks.
With a twinkle in her eye she said unnecessarily “Here's the console, gentlemen!”
Jimmy recognized instantly that this was a French style console. There were four manuals. Instead of tongue-type tablets the stop controls were draw knobs, arranged in curving rows on either side of the keyboards, that started short then ascended by steps with the top rows being the longest curved rows.
Harry said, “This looks a lot like the organ at the Church of Sainte Clotilde!” He remembered a photo of the composer Cesar Franck seated at that same kind of console in the book Mr. Edwin had given him.
“Well this console may look French in design, but the stop layout is fairly modern.” said Jimmy “Look! The Great is the traditional second manual from the bottom instead of on the bottom like it would be if it was truly in the French style.”
“You're right, Jimmy.” Mr. Mac was having a good look, too. “And for all it's large console size there are only about thirty-five, maybe forty or so ranks here. See?” He pointed to several duplicate stops on different manual divisions.
Harry said in an excited voice, “Look Jimmy, it has percussions -- and traps!
Mr. Edwin asked, “Percussions? Traps? What kind?”
“Well, I only see a few things here that could be traps,” Jimmy scanned the stops controls again “There are push buttons on each of the key-jambs. Here is one for a Chinese Tam-tam, another for a Triangle, one for a Turkish Cymbal, and another for a Zymbelstern. Oh! here's one for a Nightingale, I guess that's the same as a birdsong Mr. Mac?” Mr. Mac indicated in the affirmative. Zee-zee laughed at the excitement of the boys.
Mr. Edwin exclaimed, “Oh! My gracious, Zee-zee! I never would have thought such a thing could exist right here near our sleepy little town. To have such an organ in such a house -- it's like a dream!”
“It was supposed to be a dream,” the twinkle had left Zee zee's eyes “but it has turned into a very real nightmare. The excitement of having such an organ as this was one of the few things that kept Lars going the last few weeks of the tour. You see, almost daily he kept in touch with Mr. Beauliat by wire or telephone. Things were ahead of schedule with the organ. Mr. Beauliat said it was almost complete, that only one small detail remained.
“When Lars had not heard from Mr. Beauliat in two days he wired his office in an effort to get some explanation. They said they had heard from him and he said that the organ was finished, tuned, and ready except for one minor detail, and that he and his assistant were on their way home. That was the last they heard from him. The next day Mrs. Beauliat sent Lars a telegram telling of her husband's untimely sudden death from a heart attack. Lars was devastated as he was quite fond of Mr. Beauliat. Lars became so ill so shortly thereafter that we did not pursue the details of the organ. Mr. Beauliat specifically said the organ was complete except for one minor detail. It seems that whatever that detail is, it remains unknown and it prevents the organ from playing at all.” she then turned to Mr. Mac.
“Keith,” she said in a very formal manner, “May I hire you to look at the organ some day soon, and fix that minor detail so that the organ will play?”
Keith MacLeod replied in an equally formal manner “It would be my pleasure to do so.” Then in a lighter voice, “In fact, I'd like to get a good look at it right now, if you don't mind?”
“Would you, please?” Zee-zee smiled up at him. “I'm sure these gentlemen want a closer look as well.”
Harry and Jimmy replied as one “Would we!”
Mr. Edwin just grinned and said, “Oh my, yes!”