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moved look on her face that showed how glad and grateful she
was, till a sudden hush came; then, as if inspired by the memory of
the cause that brought her there, she looked down into the sea of
friendly faces before her, with no trace of fear in her own, and
sang the song that never will grow old.
That went straight to the hearts of those who heard her, for there
was something inexpressibly touching in the sight of this
sweet-voiced woman singing of home for the little creatures who
were homeless, and Phebe made her tuneful plea irresistible by an
almost involuntary gesture of the hands which had hung loosely
clasped before her till, with the last echo of the beloved word, they
fell apart and were half outstretched, as if pleading to be filled.
It was the touch of nature that works wonders, for it made full
purses suddenly weigh heavily in pockets slow to open, brought
tears to eyes unused to weep, and caused that group of red-gowned
girls to grow very pathetic in the sight of fathers and mothers who
had left little daughters safe asleep at home. This was evident from
the stillness that remained unbroken for an instant after Phebe
ended; and before people could get rid of their handkerchiefs she
would have been gone if the sudden appearance of a mite in a
pinafore, climbing up the stairs from the anteroom with a great
bouquet grasped in both hands, had not arrested her.
Up came the little creature, intent on performing the mission for
which rich bribes of sugarplums had been promised, and trotting
bravely across the stage, she held up the lovely nosegay, saying in
her baby voice, "Dis for you, ma'am." Then, startled by the sudden
outburst of applause, she hid her face in Phebe's gown and began
to sob with fright.
An awkward minute for poor Phebe, but she showed unexpected
presence of mind and left behind her a pretty picture of the oldest
and youngest orphan as she went quickly down the step, smiling
over the great bouquet with the baby on her arm.
Nobody minded the closing piece, for people began to go, sleepy
children to be carried off, and whispers grew into a buzz of
conversation. In the general confusion Rose looked to see if Steve
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