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Song of the Lark

Chapter I.17
The summer flew by. Thea was glad when Ray Kennedy had a Sunday in town
and could take her driving. Out among the sand hills she could forget the "new
room" which was the scene of wearing and fruitless labor. Dr. Archie was away
from home a good deal that year. He had put all his money into mines above
Colorado Springs, and he hoped for great returns from them.
In the fall of that year, Mr. Kronborg decided that Thea ought to show more
interest in church work. He put it to her frankly, one night at supper, before the
whole family. "How can I insist on the other girls in the congregation being active
in the work, when one of my own daughters manifests so little interest?"
"But I sing every Sunday morning, and I have to give up one night a week to
choir practice," Thea declared rebelliously, pushing back her plate with an angry
determination to eat nothing more.
"One night a week is not enough for the pastor's daughter," her father replied.
"You won't do anything in the sewing society, and you won't take part in the
Christian Endeavor or the Band of Hope. Very well, you must make it up in other
ways. I want some one to play the organ and lead the singing at prayer-meeting
this winter. Deacon Potter told me some time ago that he thought there would be
more interest in our prayer-meetings if we had the organ. Miss Meyers don't feel
that she can play on Wednesday nights. And there ought to be somebody to start
the hymns. Mrs. Potter is getting old, and she always starts them too high. It
won't take much of your time, and it will keep people from talking."
This argument conquered Thea, though she left the table sullenly. The fear of
the tongue, that terror of little towns, is usually felt more keenly by the minister's
family than by other households. Whenever the Kronborgs wanted to do
anything, even to buy a new carpet, they had to take counsel together as to
whether people would talk. Mrs. Kronborg had her own conviction that people
talked when they felt like it, and said what they chose, no matter how the
minister's family conducted themselves. But she did not impart these dangerous
ideas to her children. Thea was still under the belief that public opinion could be
placated; that if you clucked often enough, the hens would mistake you for one of
themselves.
Mrs. Kronborg did not have any particular zest for prayer-meetings, and she
stayed at home whenever she had a valid excuse. Thor was too old to furnish
such an excuse now, so every Wednesday night, unless one of the children was
sick, she trudged off with Thea, behind Mr. Kronborg. At first Thea was terribly
bored. But she got used to prayermeeting, got even to feel a mournful interest in
it.
The exercises were always pretty much the same. After the first hymn her
father read a passage from the Bible, usually a Psalm. Then there was another
hymn, and then her father commented upon the passage he had read and, as he
 
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