Carl Rathgeber obediently tapped out a melody on the keys of the battered clavichord. He played all the notes correctly and in the proper order, but his father clutched his ears and moaned, “Nein, nein, Carlchen! This is a waltz! It should flow! Where is the rhythm, where is das Gefühl? Noch einmal! Try again.”
The boy started the piece from the beginning, playing several incorrect notes. His father did not interrupt this time, but a pained expression twisted his face. Carl stopped.
“Vati,” he said, “Tomorrow you give lessons to Herr Von Cratz’s children, nicht vahr? May I come with you?”
Herr Rathgeber took off his eyeglasses and polished them on his already rumpled lace collar. He was a slight man with thinning dark hair down to his shoulders, and a sparse goatee. Carl was nearly five years old, and his pale blonde hair had come from his mother, although it had brightened to a surprisin