“Oh, Nyoda, how splendid!” cried Hinpoha, her artistic soul delighted beyond measure at the hedge and the walk and the white door with its quaint knocker.
“Wait until you see the inside,” replied Nyoda, throwing open the door with the pleased air of a child exhibiting a new and cherished toy.
Cries of admiration and delight filled the air as the Winnebagos entered. The whole house was furnished just as it might have been in the old Colonial days—braided rugs on the floor, candlesticks in glass holders, slender-legged, spindle-backed chairs, quaint mahogany tables, a huge spinning wheel before the fireplace, and, wonder of wonders! between the two end windows of the stately parlor there stood a harp, the late sunshine gleaming in a soft radiance from its gilded frame and slender wires like the glory of a by-gone day. Hinpoha stood enraptured before the instrument.
“I’ve always been wild to learn to play on a harp,” she said, drawing her fingers caressingly over the strings and awaking faint, throbbing tones, too soft to be discords, that echoed through the room like the ghost of a song played years ago, and trembled away until they seemed to mingle with the golden light that flooded the room through the west windows.
“If I had my choice of being any of the fabulous creatures in the mythology book,” said Hinpoha musingly, “I think I’d choose to be a harpy.”
“A what?” asked Nyoda quizzically.
“A harpy,” repeated Hinpoha, touching the strings again. Then, looking up and seeing the twinkle in Nyoda’s eye, she added, “Weren’t the Harpies beautiful maidens that sat on the rocks and played harps and lured the sailors to destruction with their ravishing songs? Oh, I say, they were too,” she finished feebly, amid a perfect shout of laughter from the girls. “Well, what were they, then? Horrible monsters? Oh, what a shame! What a misleading thing the English language is, anyway! You’d naturally expect a harpy to play on a harp. Anyway, you needn’t laugh, Sahwah. I remember once you said in class that a peptonoid was a person with a lot of pep, so there!”
Sahwah joined gaily in the laugh that followed at her expense. “So I did,” she admitted unblushingly, “and what’s more, I only discovered day before yesterday that a trapezoid wasn’t a trapeze performer!”
“Oh, Sahwah, you imp, you’re making that up,” said Gladys in a skeptical tone.
“Nice child,” said Nyoda, patting Sahwah approvingly, trying to turn the laugh upon herself, on the principle that the hostess should always break another cut glass tumbler when the guest breaks one.”
“Oh dear,” said Migwan regretfully, “why did you say that about Harpies, Hinpoha, and make us laugh? I was just thinking how beautiful you looked, leaning over that harp, just like that oil painting in the gallery at home, and was getting into quite a poetical mood over it, when you had to make us laugh and spoil it all. I declare, that was too bad!”