‘Oh, how lovely!’ exclaims Anna Maria in wonder, letting the lining
of Antonio’s new cloak glide through her ﬁngers. ‘Oh,’ and a
mischievous look comes to her eyes, ‘may I try it on?’
‘Why not?’ says Antonio, helping her on with the tabarro.
‘It’s so beautiful. Mmmm. How fantastic it would be one
day to parade along the quay and the Piazzetta.’
The Maestra, meanwhile, never takes her eyes from the
priest and his young pupil. Those two, they’re always chatting away
together. She wonders if they ever talk about her. Sometimes she
leans near, or even goes right up to them if she thinks things are
getting a bit too intimate. But she never gets a chance to catch what
they are saying, as if they have a secret language to whisper in.
When it gets too much for her she taps spitefully on the ﬂoor with
her stick, yet however hard she knocks, it never seems to bother the
pair unduly. But now, now things have gone too far! She watches as
the redhead priest holds out his cloak for the girl, and how,
giggling, she slips the costly crimson cloth about her. Anna Maria
is not much shorter in stature than the Maestro di Violino himself
these days, so that the cloak looks far from ill on her. The young
violinist struts around the room in a stately fashion, makes a
sweeping turn and runs laughing into the arms of the priest.
‘Enough!’ cries the Maestra, beside herself. ‘What is the
meaning of this?’ she shrieks, brandishing her stick above her head
as if threatening to bring it down upon them.
‘Don’t get so worked up, madam,’ intervenes Vivaldi with a
severe expression. ‘Nothing is going on here of which we need be
ashamed.’ With a wink he takes the garment back from Anna and
drapes it over the back of a chair. Anna Maria, as has been her habit
for years, totally ignores the Maestra, and quietly proceeds to
remove her violin from its case.
The next half-hour is ﬁlled with hard work. Exercises are
repeated, new positions tried and fresh pieces practised. They get
through the lesson in record time. To the depths of her being the
Maestro is incensed with jealousy; jealousy of Anna Maria’s talent
and envy of the attention she gets from Don Vivaldi. Their duets
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