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"The Organ" by Henry Ward Beecher

The following is the complete text of Reverend Henry Ward Beecher's "The Organ." The various books, short stories and poems we offer are presented free of charge with absolutely no advertising as a public service from Internet Accuracy Project.

To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.

Potential uses for the free books, stories and poetry we offer
* Rediscovering an old favorite book or short story.
* Bibliophiles expanding their collection of public domain eBooks at no cost.
* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a book or short story for use in the classroom.

NOTE: We try to present these classic literary works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, offensive language, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.

"The Organ" by Rev. Henry Ward Beecher



At one of his week night lectures, Beecher was speaking about the building and equipping of new churches. After a few satirical touches about church architects and their work, he went on to ridicule the usual style of pulpit--the "sacred mahogany tub"--"plastered up against some pillar like a barn-swallow's nest." Then he passed on to the erection of the organ, and to the opening recital.

"The organ long expected has arrived, been unpacked, set up, and gloried over. The great players of the region round about, or of distant celebrity, have had the grand organ exhibition; and this magnificent instrument has been put through all its paces in a manner which has surprised every one, and, if it had had a conscious existence, must have surprised the organ itself most of all. It has piped, fluted, trumpeted, brayed, thundered. It has played so loud that everybody was deafened, and so soft that nobody could hear. The pedals played for thunder, the flutes languished and coquetted, and the swell died away in delicious suffocation, like one singing a sweet song under the bed-clothes. Now it leads down a stupendous waltz with full brass, sounding very much as if, in summer, a thunderstorm should play, 'Come, Haste to the Wedding,' or 'Moneymusk.' Then come marches, galops, and hornpipes. An organ playing hornpipes ought to have elephants as dancers.

"At length a fugue is rendered to show the whole scope and power of the instrument. The theme, like a cautious rat, peeps out to see if the coast is clear; and, after a few hesitations, comes forth and begins to frisk a little, and run up and down to see what it can find. It finds just what it did not want, a purring tenor lying in ambush and waiting for a spring; and as the theme comes incautiously near, the savage cat of a tenor springs at it, misses its hold, and then takes after it with terrible earnestness. But the tenor has miscalculated the agility of the theme. All that it could do, with the most desperate effort, was to keep the theme from running back into its hole again; and so they ran up and down, around and around, dodging, eluding, whipping in and out of every corner and nook, till the whole organ was aroused, and the bass began to take part, but unluckily slipped and rolled down-stairs, and lay at the bottom raving and growling in the most awful manner, and nothing could appease it. Sometimes the theme was caught by one part, and dangled for a moment, then with a snatch, another part took it and ran off exultant, until, unawares, the same trick was played on it; and, finally, all the parts, being greatly exercised in mind, began to chase each other promiscuously in and out, up and down, now separating and now rushing in full tilt together, until everything in the organ loses patience and all the 'stops' are drawn, and, in spite of all that the brave organist could do--who bobbed up and down, feet, hands, head and all--the tune broke up into a real row, and every part was clubbing every other one, until at length, patience being no longer a virtue, the organist, with two or three terrible crashes, put an end to the riot, and brought the great organ back to silence."

~~~~~~~ THE END ~~~~~~~

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