Song of the Lark
THEA reached Moonstone in the late afternoon, and all the Kronborgs were there
to meet her except her two older brothers. Gus and Charley were young men
now, and they had declared at noon that it would "look silly if the whole bunch
went down to the train." "There's no use making a fuss over Thea just because
she's been to Chicago," Charley warned his mother. "She's inclined to think
pretty well of herself, anyhow, and if you go treating her like company, there'll be
no living in the house with her." Mrs. Kronborg simply leveled her eyes at
Charley, and he faded away, muttering. She had, as Mr. Kronborg always said
with an inclination of his head, good control over her children. Anna, too, wished
to absent herself from the party, but in the end her curiosity got the better of her.
So when Thea stepped down from the porter's stool, a very creditable Kronborg
representation was grouped on the platform to greet her. After they had all kissed
her (Gunner and Axel shyly), Mr. Kronborg hurried his flock into the hotel
omnibus, in which they were to be driven ceremoniously home, with the
neighbors looking out of their windows to see them go by.
All the family talked to her at once, except Thor,-impressive in new trousers,--
who was gravely silent and who refused to sit on Thea's lap. One of the first
things Anna told her was that Maggie Evans, the girl who used to cough in prayer
meeting, died yesterday, and had made a request that Thea sing at her funeral.
Thea's smile froze. "I'm not going to sing at all this summer, except my
exercises. Bowers says I taxed my voice last winter, singing at funerals so much.
If I begin the first day after I get home, there'll be no end to it. You can tell them I
caught cold on the train, or something."
Thea saw Anna glance at their mother. Thea remembered having seen that
look on Anna's face often before, but she had never thought anything about it
because she was used to it. Now she realized that the look was distinctly spiteful,
even vindictive. She suddenly realized that Anna had always disliked her.
Mrs. Kronborg seemed to notice nothing, and changed the trend of the
conversation, telling Thea that Dr. Archie and Mr. Upping, the jeweler, were both
coming in to see her that evening, and that she had asked Spanish Johnny to
come, because he had behaved well all winter and ought to be encouraged.
The next morning Thea wakened early in her own room up under the eaves and
lay watching the sunlight shine on the roses of her wall-paper. She wondered
whether she would ever like a plastered room as well as this one lined with
scantlings. It was snug and tight, like the cabin of a little boat. Her bed faced the
window and stood against the wall, under the slant of the ceiling. When she went
away she could just touch the ceiling with the tips of her fingers; now she could
touch it with the palm of her hand. It was so little that it was like a sunny cave,
with roses running all over the roof. Through the low window, as she lay there,
she could watch people going by on the farther side of the street; men, going