Instrument of Joy

When Canon John Jordan's Sweeny arrived, I was greatly impressed that while it had been used for several years, it was in pristine condition. I sent John a note expressing my pleasure for the way he had cared for his vent figure. His response was (in part):

"I prized Sweeny since I first got him, and tried to keep him as pristine as possible ever since. It reminds me of a short spot I did with him last Spring. There was a small orchestra there at the same time. When we were packing up to come home, one of the violinists was beside me, and we had a pleasant chat. When he put his violin in the case, he covered it with a blue velvet cloth and closed the lid, while I was was putting Sweeny's travelling helmet and mitts on him.

He said jokingly, 'You fuss more packing that dummy in the case than I do with my instrument!' I said to him that if he didn't look after his instrument, and keep it cleaned and tuned, it would soon stop serving him well. I went on to say that Sweeny was my instrument, and without him, there would be no need for me to be there, and that's why I was taking care to see him well protected and put in his case. The point was well taken, and he said he'd never looked at a ventriloquist dummy that way."

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