154 MOLLY BAWN.
across the room to the seat she had originaUy vacated, Aa
she does so she passes close by Marcia, who, ever since her
cousin's voice first sounded in her ears, has been sitting
sUent, now pale, now red.
She stays MoUy by a sUght movement of the hand, and
'I thought you told me you could neither sing, noi
understand French ?'
'I don't think I could have said quite that,' IMoUy
replies quietly; ' I told you I sang a Uttle; it is not cus¬
tomary to laud one's own performances.'
' You are a clever actress,' says Marcia, so low as to be
unheard by all but Molly; ' with such a voice as yours, and
such masterly command of all emotion and expression, you
should make the stage your home.'
' Perhaps I shall find your hint useful in the future,'
says iloUy, with a slight shrug of her shoulders; ' when one
is poor it is always weU to know there is something one can
put one's hand to when things come to the worst—but at
present I feel sufficiently at home where I am. I am glad,'
calmly, ' my singing pleased you—if indeed it did.'
' You sing magnificently,' ]Marcia says aloud, giving her
meed of praise justly, but unwiUingly.
' Ajid such a charming song as that is,' breaks in Mrs,
Darley; ' I remember hearing it for the first time, just after
my marriage, indeed whUe we were yet enjoying our wed¬
ding tour. Do you remember it, dearest ?' As she murmurs
the tender words, she turns upon her lord two azure eyes,
so limpid, and full of trust and love, that any man ignorant
of the truth would have sworn by all his gods her desire
was with her husband, whereas every inch of heart she
possesses has long since been handed over to a man in the
Horse Guards Blue.
' Humph,' says Henry Darley, eloquently; and without
further rejoinder goes on with the game of chess he is play¬
ing with Mr. Amherst.
' Let us have something else, Eleanor,' her grandfather
says, looking up for an instant from his beloved queens and
kings and castles; ' another song.'
This is such a wonderful request coming from Mr,
Amherst, who is known to abhor Marcia's attempts, that
everyone looks surprised.