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XXVII. A Sacred Concert
In spite of Miss Cornelia's new point of view she could not help feeling a little
disturbed over the next performance of the manse children. In public she carried
off the situation splendidly, saying to all the gossips the substance of what Anne
had said in daffodil time, and saying it so pointedly and forcibly that her hearers
found themselves feeling rather foolish and began to think that, after all, they
were making too much of a childish prank. But in private Miss Cornelia allowed
herself the relief of bemoaning it to Anne.
"Anne dearie, they had a CONCERT IN THE GRAVEYARD last Thursday
evening, while the Methodist prayer meeting was going on. There they sat, on
Hezekiah Pollock's tombstone, and sang for a solid hour. Of course, I understand
it was mostly hymns they sang, and it wouldn't have been quite so bad if they'd
done nothing else. But I'm told they finished up with _Polly Wolly Doodle_ at full
length--and that just when Deacon Baxter was praying."
"I was there that night," said Susan," and, although I did not say anything about it
to you, Mrs. Dr. dear, I could not help thinking that it was a great pity they picked
that particular evening. It was truly blood-curdling to hear them sitting there in
that abode of the dead, shouting that frivolous song at the tops of their lungs."
"I don't know what YOU were doing in a Methodist prayer meeting," said Miss
Cornelia acidly.
"I have never found that Methodism was catching," retorted Susan stiffly. "And,
as I was going to say when I was interrupted, badly as I felt, I did NOT give in to
the Methodists. When Mrs. Deacon Baxter said, as we came out, 'What a
disgraceful exhibition!' _I_ said, looking her fairly in the eye, 'They are all
beautiful singers, and none of YOUR choir, Mrs. Baxter, ever bother themselves
coming out to your prayer meeting, it seems. Their voices appear to be in tune
only on Sundays!' She was quite meek and I felt that I had snubbed her properly.
But I could have done it much more thoroughly, Mrs. Dr. dear, if only they had left
out _Polly Wolly Doodle_. It is truly terrible to think of that being sung in a
"Some of those dead folks sang _Polly Wolly Doodle_ when they were living,
Susan. Perhaps they like to hear it yet," suggested Gilbert.
Miss Cornelia looked at him reproachfully and made up her mind that, on some
future occasion, she would hint to Anne that the doctor should be admonished
not to say such things. They might injure his practice. People might get it into
their heads that he wasn't orthodox. To be sure, Marshall said even worse things
habitually, but then HE was not a public man.
"I understand that their father was in his study all the time, with his windows
open, but never noticed them at all. Of course, he was lost in a book as usual.
But I spoke to him about it yesterday, when he called."
"How could you dare, Mrs. Marshall Elliott?" asked Susan rebukingly.
"Dare! It's time somebody dared something. Why, they say he knows nothing
about that letter of Faith's to the JOURNAL because nobody liked to mention it to
him. He never looks at a JOURNAL of course. But I thought he ought to know of