Kaspar Fails to Return Home: An Excerpt from Aria to Death

Unfortunately, the last excerpt scheduled to appear today on the Haydn’s Great Escape hasn’t posted up yet. For those of you following the blog tour, I’ve included it here.

Kaspar has failed to return home. Unable to find Haydn, Kaspar’s servant, Rudi, seeks out Konzertmeister Luigi Tomasini. Where could Kaspar have gone?

“It is quite all right, Rudi.” Luigi set off down the street toward the Tuchlauben at a brisk pace. A police guard would have to be found and the night watchmen questioned. Where could Kaspar have gone so late last night?

A commotion down the road attracted his attention. He was about to head down one of the side streets on the left toward the Graben, and thence to Kohlmarkt, when he caught a glimpse of a white uniform trimmed with blue

“There appears to be some trouble up ahead,” he murmured. “But no doubt one of the police guards can be persuaded to help us.”

“The street was blocked this morning.” Rudi panted heavily from the exertion of keeping pace with Luigi. The servant drew a deep breath. “I had to go past Petersplatz to get to your lodgings.”

The crowd milling around the Seizerkeller had begun to disperse by the time Luigi and Kaspar’s man-servant arrived at the wine cellar, sent firmly about their business by two of the police guards. A third supervised two watchmen as they carefully began to hoist a makeshift litter carrying the supine body of a man onto their shoulders.

“Beaten and left to die, poor soul,” a stout woman observed to Luigi. “By robbers, the guards think.” The woman sighed. “It is a common enough occurrence, I fear,” she added, evidently in response to Luigi’s horror-struck gaze.

The Konzertmeister found himself unable to tear his gaze away from the man on the litter, his plain brown suit of clothing scuffed and torn, his arms and neck covered in lacerations, and his brown-gray hair matted with blood. His mouth felt parched. He attempted to shield the aged servant behind him from the grim sight, but Rudi’s dim eyes were already widening in horrified recognition.

“It is my master!” He turned a stricken face toward the Konzertmeister. “But why would anyone harm him? Poor man! He had nothing worth stealing.”

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