152 MOLLY BAWS.
* I will ask her if you wish it,' Marcia says indifferently,
' but remember you need not look for a musical treat, I
detest bad singing myself,'
' Oh ! anything, anything,' says Cecil, languidly sinking
back into her chair.
Thus instigated Marcia does ask Molly to sing.
' If you will care to hear me,' Molly answers coldly
rather than diffidently, and rising goes to the piano.
' Perhaps there may be something of mine here, that you
may know,' Marcia says superciliously, pointing to the
stand, but Molly declaring she can manage without music,
sits down and plays the opening chords of Gounod's
A moment later, and her glorious voice, rarely soft, and
sweet as a child's, yet powerful withal, rings through the
room, swells, faints; every note a separate delight, falling
like rounded pearls from her Hps.
A silence—truest praise of all—follows. One by one
the talkers cease their chatter, the last word remains a last
word, they forget the thought of a moment before,
A dead calm reigns while Molly sings on, until the final
note drops from her with lingering tenderness.
Even then they seem in no hurry to thank her; almost
half a minute elapses before anyone congratulates her on
the exquisite gift that has been given her.
' You have been days in the house, and never until now
have let us hear you,' Philip saya, leaning on the top of the
piano—he is an enthusiast where music is concerned. ' How
selfish ! how unkind ! I could hardly have believed it of
' Was I ever asked before ? ' Molly says, raising her
eyes to his, while her fingers still run lightly over the notes.
' I don't know, I suppose it never occurred to us, and
a& you may have noticed, there is a dearth of graciousness
amongst us. But for you to keep such a possession a secret
was more than cruel Sing again.'
'I must not monopolise the piano, other people can
' Not like you.' He pauses, and then says slowly, ' I
xised to think Nature was impartial in the distribution of
her gifts, that, as a ride, we all receive pretty much the
same amount of good at her hands; to one beauty, to