The cellist

We have a new disciple who plays the cello with the Puerto Rico Symphony. She also has about 50 students and teaches five or six hours daily. One by one her students come and play in front of her. When her good students come, she gives them five minutes. When the bad students come, after a minute she says, "Oh, you are playing very well. I am pleased with you." Then she sends them away immediately.

I wanted to practise the cello while I was in Puerto Rico, but this new disciple did not want to let me play on her cello. But after she refused, then for the whole day she felt totally miserable. So on her own she brought me her cello the next day. She said her cello cost $5,000. It was good, but mine is better. She herself was supposed to play that day, so she borrowed a cello from somebody else.

When I tried her cello she flattered me, saying that my intonation was good. That is why she allowed me to use it.

The day I was supposed to return the cello, I told her to come at twelve o'clock and take it back. She came exactly at twelve. I had brought her a trophy, and she said, "Can I not also have a plaque to put on this trophy that says you gave it to me?"

After I returned the cello, she told Alo that she felt some higher power was guiding her hand when she played it. When she played she felt that it sounded as if Pablo Casals were playing. So she was very happy that she had let me use it.

— 19 February 1984