Sunday, August 23, 2009


Pierre Lapin went the way of all rabbits. No one was quite sure what happened, but one morning he was not in his tree.

Some time later Carlysle replaced him with a pygmy goat. The goat also needed a name and inspection revealed that he had been “pruned.” Castrated, if one is to be indelicate about it. Carlysle immediately thought of Mozart.

Well, not Mozart really, but the castrato, Venanzio Rauzzini. As every schoolboy knows, Rauzzini was one of Mozart's favorite castrati. The relationship leaped to Carlysle's mind, and so the newest resident at Chez Carlysle was christened Rauzzini.

Like his predecessor, Pierre, Rauzzini was determined to live in the house with Carlysle and Cadence. The humans were firm in their desire to not share their living quarters with a goat, but Rauzzini was much more intelligent than a rabbit, wily, cunning, sly. Effective. And there was so much in the house to tempt a goat, cat food, potato chips, musical scores. There was so much paper in Carlysle's house, books, pamphlets, magazines, and scores, hundreds and hundreds of musical scores, art songs, Broadway hits, motets, Medieval chorale music, orchestrations. Very tempting to a goat's palate, especially one named Rauzzini.

He'd take advantage whenever a visiting student or performer left the door even slightly ajar. Carlyle's house was in the Victorian style, two stories, two stairwells, and many small rooms. It even had a dumb waiter, which Rauzzini never found. (If I ever write the screen play, Rauzzini will find the dumb waiter.)

Many were the hunts, the “hallo-o-os” raised by small groups of people as they chased after and tried to locate the well hidden pygmy goat. I recall chasing him down once myself, my voice lesson interrupted by the escapade of a goat. I had no idea there were so many rooms in that house, but I had a chance to visit them all. And once I had located Rauzzini, and dragged him from under the bed, I still had to find a way to get him outside. He wouldn't lead. Carrying a wriggling goat down steep stairs is not one of the safest things I have ever done. I'm not sure who was the angrier when I deposited Rauzzini outdoors.

Carlysle once tried to show me what a clever goat Rauzzini was. He was going to have the goat run back and forth on the driveway in front of the house. But first he had to show the goat what was wanted. Carlysle ran back and forth on the driveway in front of the house by way of demonstration. Rauzzini sat down and watched Carlysle run back and forth. I guess he wanted to study the technique.

Carlysle eventually ran out of breath and decided that if Rauzzini could run back and forth, he wasn't going to do so on that particular day. So everyone but the goat came in and we sang songs for a while.

Rauzzini eventually crossed over to where the weather is always fair in that great goat pasture in the sky. Carlysle had this final accolade for him. “Rauzzini had great taste. He only ate first violin parts.”

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