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hall when, instead of singing "Auld Robin Grey," she placed
herself at the piano, and, with a smiling glance over her shoulder
at the children, broke out in the old bird song which first won
Rose. But the chirping, twittering, and cooing were now the
burden to three verses of a charming little song, full of springtime
and the awakening life that makes it lovely. A rippling
accompaniment flowed through it all, and a burst of delighted
laughter from the children filled up the first pause with a fitting
answer to the voices that seemed calling to them from the vernal
It was very beautiful, and novelty lent its charm to the surprise, for
art and nature worked a pretty miracle and the clever imitation,
first heard from a kitchen hearth, now became the favorite in a
crowded concert room. Phebe was quite herself again; color in the
cheeks now; eyes that wandered smiling to and fro; and lips that
sang as gaily and far more sweetly than when she kept time to her
blithe music with a scrubbing brush.
This song was evidently intended for the children, and they
appreciated the kindly thought, for as Phebe went back among
them, they clapped ecstatically, flapped their pinafores, and some
caught her by the skirts with audible requests to "Do it again,
please; do it again."
But Phebe shook her head and vanished, for it was getting late for
such small people, several of whom "lay sweetly slumbering there"
till roused by the clamor round them. The elders, however, were
not to be denied and applauded persistently, especially Aunt
Plenty, who seized Uncle Mac's cane and pounded with it as
vigorously as "Mrs. Nubbles" at the play.
"Never mind your gloves, Steve; keep it up till she comes," cried
Charlie, enjoying the fun like a boy while Jamie lost his head with
excitement and, standing up, called "Phebe! Phebe!" in spite of his
mother's attempts to silence him.
Even the stout man clapped, and Rose could only laugh
delightedly as she turned to look at Archie, who seemed to have let
himself loose at last and was stamping with a dogged energy funny
So Phebe had to come, and stood there meekly bowing, with a
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