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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Glory to the Father give Glory


Several

bits of fine, old-fashioned music had been given, from Mozart and Beethoven and Handel; and Betty had got into full swing of conversation again, when a pause around her gave notice that another performer was taking her seat at the piano. Betty checked her speech with a little impulse of vexation, and cast her eyes across the room.

'Who is it now?' she asked.

There was a little murmur of question and answer, for the gentlemen immediately at hand did not know; then she was told, 'It is a Miss Gainsborough.'

'Gainsborough!' Betty's eyes grew large, and her face took a sudden gravity. 'What Gainsborough?'

Nobody knew. 'English, I believe,' somebody said.

All desire to talk died out of Betty's lips; she became as silent as the most rigid decorum could have demanded, and applied herself to listen, and of course those around her were becomingly silent also. What was the astonishment of them all, to hear the notes of a hymn, and then the hymn itself, sung by a sweet voice with very clear accent, so that every word was audible! The hymn was not known to Miss Frere; it was fine and striking; and the melody, also unfamiliar, was exceedingly simple. Everybody listened, that was manifest; it was more than the silence of politeness which reigned in the rooms until the last note was ended. And Betty listened more eagerly

than anybody, and a strange thrill ran through her. The voice which sang the hymn was not finer, not so fine as many a one she had heard; it was thoroughly sweet and had a very full and rich tone; its power was only moderate. The peculiarity lay in the manner with which the meaning was breathed into the notes. Betty could not get rid of the fancy that it was a spirit singing, and not a woman. Simpler musical utterance she had never heard, nor any, in her life, that so went to the heart. She listened, and wondered as she listened what it was that so moved her. The voice was tender, pleading, joyous, triumphant. How anybody should dare sing such words in a mixed company, Betty could not conceive; yet she envied the singer; and heard with a strange twinge at her heart the words of the chorus, which was given with the most penetrating ring of truth--

'Glory, glory, glory, glory, Glory be to God on high, Glory, glory, glory, glory, Sing His praises through the sky; Glory, glory, glory, glory, Glory to the Father give: Glory, glory, glory, glory, Sing His praises, all that live!'

The hymn went on to offer Christ's salvation to all who would have it; and closed with a variation of the chorus, taken from the song of the redeemed in heaven,--'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.'

As sweet and free as the jubilant shout of a bird the notes rang; with a _lift_ in them, however, which the unthinking creature neither knows nor can express. Betty's eye roved once or twice round the room during the singing to see how the song was taken by the rest of the company. All listened, but she could perceive that some were bored and some others shocked. Others looked curiously grave.


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