“It’s about the best music we have,” said Mrs. Comstock. “I wonder if you couldn’t copy that and make a strong, original piece out of it for your violin, Elnora?”
There was one tense breath, then—— “I could try,” said Elnora simply.
Philip rushed to the rescue. “We must go to work,” he said, and began examining a walnut branch for Luna moth eggs. Elnora joined him while Mrs. Comstock drew her embroidery from her pocket and sat on a log. She said she was tired, they could come for her when they were ready to go. She could hear their voices around her until she called them at supper time. When they came to her she stood waiting on the trail, the sewing in one hand, the violin in the other. Elnora became very white, but followed the trail without a word. Philip, unable to see a woman carry a heavier load than he, reached for the instrument. Mrs. Comstock shook her head. She carried the violin home, took it into her room and closed the door. Elnora turned to Philip.
“If she destroys that, I shall die!” cried the girl.
“She won’t!” said Philip. “You misunderstand her. She wouldn’t have said what she did about the owls, if she had meant to. She is your mother. No one loves you as she does. Trust her! Myself—I think she’s simply great!”
Mrs. Comstock returned with serene face, and all of them helped with the supper. When it was over Philip and Elnora sorted and classified the afternoon’s specimens, and made a trip to the woods to paint and light several trees for moths. When they came back Mrs. Comstock sat in the arbour, and they joined her. The moonlight was so intense, print could have been read by it. The damp night air held odours near to earth, making flower and tree perfume strong. A thousand insects were serenading, and in the maple the grosbeak occasionally said a reassuring word to his wife, while she answered that all was well. A whip-poor-will wailed in the swamp and beside the blue-bordered pool a chat complained disconsolately. Mrs. Comstock went into the cabin, but she returned immediately, laying the violin and bow across Elnora’s lap. “I wish you would give us a little music,” she said.
WHEREIN MRS. COMSTOCK DANCES IN THE MOONLIGHT, AND ELNORA MAKES A CONFESSION
Billy was swinging in the hammock, at peace with himself and all the world, when he thought he heard something. He sat bolt upright, his eyes staring. Once he opened his lips, then thought again and closed them. The sound persisted. Billy vaulted the fence, and ran down the road with his queer sidewise hop. When he neared the Comstock cabin, he left the warm dust of the highway and stepped softly at slower pace over the rank grasses of the roadside. He had heard aright. The violin was in the grape arbour, singing a perfect jumble of everything, poured out in an exultant tumult. The strings were voicing the joy of a happy girl heart.