MOLLY BAWN. 149
masters to be found, I am sorry for Marcia, but I could
not bring myself to speak just then,'
Cecil burst into a merry irresistible laugh,
' It is delicious,' cries she wickedly, ' A very comedy of
errors. If we could but manage some effective way of
showing Marcia her mistake. Can you,' with sudden in¬
spiration, ' sing ?'
' I can,' says Molly calmly.
' You can. That sounds promising, I wonder you don't
say " a Uttle," as all young ladies do, more especially when
they sing a good deal more than anyone wants them to!
Come here, and let me see what you mean by that un¬
compromising " can,"'
Opening a small cottage piano, at the other end of her
pretty sitting room, she motions Molly to the instrument.
' Play for me,' Molly says, bent on doing her very best,
'I can sing better standing,'
' What, then ?'
* This,' taking up a song of Sullivan's, after a rapid
survey of the pile of music lying on one side.
She sings, her lovely voice thrilling and sobbing through
the room, sings with a passionate desire to prove her powers,
and well succeeds. For a minute after she has finished,
Cecil does not speak, and then goes into raptures, as ' is her
' Oh I that I had your voice,' cries she, with genuine tears
in her eyes, ' I would have the world at my feet. What a
gift! a voice for a goddess ! Molly—may I call you so ? I
absolutely pity Marcia, when I think of her consternation.'
' She deserves it,' says Molly, who feels her cousin's con¬
duct deeply. ' I will sing to-night, if you will get Marcia to
So the two conspirators arrange their little plan, Cecil
Stafford being quite mischievous enough to enjoy the thought
of Miss Amherst's approaching discomfiture, while Molly
feels all a woman's desire to restore her hurt vanity.
Dinner is half over, so far it has been highly successful.
Mr. Amherst's temper has taken this satisfactory turn—he
absolutely refuses to speak to any of his guests.
Under these circumstances everyone feels it will be the
better part of valour not to address him—all, that is, except