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Rose laughed and let him fan her, leaning from his seat behind
with the devoted air he always assumed in public, but her wounded
feelings were not soothed and she continued to frown at the stout
man on the left who had dared to say with a shrug and a glance at
Phebe's next piece, "That young woman can no more sing this
Italian thing than she can fly, and they ought not to let her attempt
Phebe did, however, and suddenly changed the stout man's opinion
by singing it grandly, for the consciousness of her first failure
pricked her pride and spurred her to do her best with the calm sort
of determination which conquers fear, fires ambition, and changes
defeat to success. She looked steadily at Rose now, or the flushed,
intent face beside her, and throwing all her soul into the task, let
her voice ring out like a silver clarion, filling the great hall and
setting the hearers' blood a-tingle with the exulting strain.
That settled Phebe's fate as a cantatrice. The applause was genuine
and spontaneous this time and broke out again and again with the
generous desire to atone for former coldness. But she would not
return, and the shadow of the great organ seemed to have
swallowed her up, for no eye could find her, no pleasant clamor
win her back.
"Now I can die content," said Rose, beaming with heartfelt
satisfaction while Archie looked steadfastly at his program, trying
to keep his face in order, and the rest of the family assumed a
triumphant air, as if they had never doubted from the first.
"Very well, indeed," said the stout man with an approving nod.
"Quite promising for a beginner. Shouldn't wonder if in time they
made a second Cary or Kellogg of her."
"Now you'll forgive him, won't you?" murmured Charlie in his
"Yes, and I'd like to pat him on the head. But take warning and
never judge by first appearances again," whispered Rose, at peace
now with all mankind.
Phebe's last song was another ballad; she meant to devote her
talent to that much neglected but always attractive branch of her
art. It was a great surprise, therefore, to all but one person in the
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