Song of the Lark HTML version

Chapter I.20
On Monday morning, the day after Ray Kennedy's funeral, Dr. Archie called at
Mr. Kronborg's study, a little room behind the church. Mr. Kronborg did not write
out his sermons, but spoke from notes jotted upon small pieces of cardboard in a
kind of shorthand of his own. As sermons go, they were not worse than most. His
conventional rhetoric pleased the majority of his congregation, and Mr. Kronborg
was generally regarded as a model preacher. He did not smoke, he never
touched spirits. His indulgence in the pleasures of the table was an endearing
bond between him and the women of his congregation. He ate enormously, with
a zest which seemed incongruous with his spare frame.
This morning the doctor found him opening his mail and reading a pile of
advertising circulars with deep attention.
"Good-morning, Mr. Kronborg," said Dr. Archie, sitting down. "I came to see
you on business. Poor Kennedy asked me to look after his affairs for him. Like
most railroad men he spent his wages, except for a few investments in mines
which don't look to me very promising. But his life was insured for six hundred
dollars in Thea's favor."
Mr. Kronborg wound his feet about the standard of his desk-chair. "I assure
you, doctor, this is a complete surprise to me."
"Well, it's not very surprising to me," Dr. Archie went on. "He talked to me
about it the day he was hurt. He said he wanted the money to be used in a
particular way, and in no other." Dr. Archie paused meaningly.
Mr. Kronborg fidgeted. "I am sure Thea would observe his wishes in every
"No doubt; but he wanted me to see that you agreed to his plan. It seems that
for some time Thea has wanted to go away to study music. It was Kennedy's
wish that she should take this money and go to Chicago this winter. He felt that it
would be an advantage to her in a business way: that even if she came back
here to teach, it would give her more authority and make her position here more
Mr. Kronborg looked a little startled. "She is very young," he hesitated; "she is
barely seventeen. Chicago is a long way from home. We would have to consider.
I think, Dr. Archie, we had better consult Mrs. Kronborg."
"I think I can bring Mrs. Kronborg around, if I have your consent. I've always
found her pretty level-headed. I have several old classmates practicing in
Chicago. One is a throat specialist. He has a good deal to do with singers. He
probably knows the best piano teachers and could recommend a boarding-house
where music students stay. I think Thea needs to get among a lot of young
people who are clever like herself. Here she has no companions but old fellows
like me. It's not a natural life for a young girl. She'll either get warped, or wither
up before her time. If it will make you and Mrs. Kronborg feel any easier, I'll be