I was amazed at the sudden opening of the door and the appearance of a handsome young man with strange eyes. He wore a short jacket of velvet with the silver clasps ordinarily worn by the men of Zeeland. He carried an accordion such as is sold in the harbor shops and played by sailors at sea, when of an evening they draw silver tones from it, now rippling quickly and now long drawn out.The young man looked as though he had been rudely awakened out of a dream. Was this, I wondered, the boy who, as Pielje, said, was always “playing his little tunes”?He walked by me without so much as turning his head, passing along pink-tinted walls, long straight windows of aged glass, and little gardens planted with cabbage and onions. He slowly crossed the public square, while once again the little carillon rang out in crystal tones, singing its sad song of the ultimate agony of Veere.The wind softly scattered the notes and sent them flying over the roofs of houses in the direction of the sea. The singular young man placed the accordion against his shoulder, and with his fingers on the stops, expanded and contracted the bellows of the instrument. The air he played seemed to have a meaning for himself alone.
Mystery of the village
Bending his head down close to his accordion, he smiled the smile of a man who no longer belongs to this life. I thought I understood deep down in my soul that some secret cause had affected the boy`s reason, attuning it at the same time to the mystery of the village of Veere. But I could not have explained it.Then something occurred that troubled me. The young man looked up at the tower, saw the great lords standing in their niches, and then out over the distant sea, his eyes glistening with a light as of another day. ; The accordion played on faster and more furiously with a kind of madness, and it seemed as though the ancient soul of the town were suddenly set to vibrating under the deft fingers of the player. He made his ; way on and on through the streets, dancing a quaint step like a sailor`s hornpipe.He shook the ground under foot with his heels, whirled about holding the accordion high above his head, and quickly brought it down until it almost touched the paved walk; then balanced himself in one spot with an affected grace, eyes closed and face set in an ecstatic and ceremonious smile—always to the accompaniment of that rhythmical and feverish dance music, palpitating with all the abandoned ardor of a murderer or a lover.
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