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And so dolefully, too!-in that pathetic voice! why, if you were the dying minstrel herself you could not have done better!
66 6 She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps,
But coldly she turns from their gaze-and weeps,
mimicked the gay, thoughtless damsel, turning to Charles as she sang.
"That is just like it, is it not, Monsieur Beechley?"
"Not in the remotest degree, Mademoiselle Dormer," he made answer, decisively, striving to steady his voice, full of deep feeling as it was, excited by the plaintive melody. Then rising and coming unto her as he perceived the offended flush spreading over her pretty features, he said, courteously, "But now you must favour us with an Allegro, fair lady. It is by no means necessary girls should sing alike, to make their performances attractive; remember, 'it is to variety women owe their charms,' and one of those sprightly songs, of which I feel sure you possess an abundant store, will form a very agreeable contrast to the Penseroso Ennis has just bestowed upon us."
Saith Ennis shyly, and blushing the while,"I do not know why, for I am rarely out of spirits, but melancholy music always seems more in harmony with my taste than lively music is: I mean," quoth the sweet thing, correcting herself, "I like better to sing and play it myself. Perhaps the reason is quick movements are more difficult."
By the look in my brother's countenance I "perceived well how warmly he sympathized with this feeling; but he said naught, and thereupon little Mistress Monica immediately took to herself the flattering belief that his silence declared his disapproval of the same, and forthwith she commenced to cheer our depressed spirits by singing a right joyous ditty; yea, and not one only, but divers in rapid succession, thus showing off not merely her plentifully provided musical memory, but her excellent knowledge also.
She performed as cleverly as the first London masters could make her the tones of her voice, albeit naturally thin and passionless, being clear, well tuned, and correctly timed. But herein lies the great difference 'twixt the two young voices: the first went straight to the
heart, penetrating into every its most secret recess; the second sped not beyond the head -no, not one stray note even.
At Lady Denzell's request I contributed two or three Scotch ballads of a bygone period. They were in a quaint, serio-comic style, and so vastly amused merry Mistress Monica and Ennis that the former laughed until the tears chased them down her flushed cheeks. Howbeit, I do not myself see anything so very entertaining in the tunes, and bethink me they must have been writ in the time of good, excellent Master Bunyan, the fashion of the verses being somewhat like his.
Finally, we all joined in the Evening Hymn; Lady Denzell's sweet low voice fervently accompanying in words of grateful praise to the great God whom from childhood she had so faithfully loved and served. Anon, Mistress Monica's coach came to fetch her home.
"Good night to you all," said she, bending forward her pretty sparkling face at the window, as we, to wit, Charles, Ennis, and myself, stood on the door-step to watch her departure. It was a glorious moon-lit night.
'And, Monsieur Beechley, I intend to cease
lessly practise, 'She is far from the land,' &c., until even you confess my performance quite equals Ennis Denzell's."
"It will be time worse than wasted, Miss Monica."
"How can it be that?" laughed she.
Experience will teach you," said Charles, almost gruffly.
The damsel again laughed mockingly, while in a doleful voice, which came floating back sadly enough on the still night air, she chanted distinctly, the while driving away,—
"She sang the wild songs of her dear native plains,
Ah! little they think, who delight in her strains,
Some of the words were lost to our ear, but, acquainted with the verses, we knew what she was singing.
"Heartless little worldling!"
Charles, as he turned and strode into the house.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE VILLAGE FETE.
THE rustic fête given each year by grandmamma was regarded as an event of unequalled importance in the simple minds of the villagers. To be excluded, therefore, from participation in its festivities, through any misdemeanour, was to the excommunicated almost equivalent to the punishment of bearing the mark of Cain on their foreheads during the probationary period that must elapse ere their reappearance the following year announced a happy restoration to the pardon and favour of the noble owner of Riversdale Court. So tenderly considerate and just was the "good lady" known to be that every well-disposed man, woman, and yes, even child, rallied to her side in unquestioning, unhesitating support of her grieved