Now it so happened that among these four girls there were two to whom God had given special gifts: though neither of them had ever considered that there were such things as gifts from God, which they were bound to use in his service.
There was Ruth Erskine, who had capabilities for music in the ends of her fingers, that would have almost entranced the angels. What did she do with her talent? Almost nothing. She hated the sickly sentimentalities which, set to music, find their way into fashionable parlors by the score. She was not in the society that knew of, or craved, the higher, grander kind of music; and because she did, and did not know it, she simply palled of the kind within her reach and let her gift lie waste.
Then there was Marion, whose voice was simply grand, both in power and tone. What had she done with her voice? Sung by the hour to the old father whose tender memory lingered with her to-day; less than nothing with it since; no one knew she could sing; she hated singing in school, she never went anywhere else; so only occasionally could the four walls of her upper back room have testified that there was a talent buried there.
Did Dr. Tourjee travel from Boston to Chautauqua for the purpose of inspiring and educating these two girls. I don’t suppose he knew of their existence, but that makes no difference, they are working out his lecture all the same; in fact it is nearly a year since these Chautauqua girls came home, and if you have any sort of desire to know what Chautauqua theories develop into, when put to the test, please keep a sharp lookout for “The Chautauqua Girls at Home.”
As the familiar talk on music went on, Ruth, with her eyes aglow, began to plan in her own heart, first what she might do, and presently what she would do. And Marion, at the other end of the seat, went through the same process neither imagining that these same ‘doings’ would bring them together, and lead to endless other doings. But that is just the way in which life is going on every where, who imagined that what you did yesterday, would lead your neighbor to do what he has done to-day?
“Luther said: ‘Next to theology, I place sacred music.’” This was the sentence that started a train of thought for Ruth. After that, she listened in order that she might work.
“Never use an interlude in church, I pray God that I may be forgiven for the fiddle-faddle that I have strummed on organs, in the name of interludes.”
This, delighted Marion, she hated interludes. She hated quartette choirs. She had steadily refused to be beguiled into one, by the few who knew that she could sing, so, when Dr. Tourjee said: “Think of the grand old hymn, ’From all that dwell below the skies, let the Creator’s praise arise,’ being warbled by one voice, a grand chorus of four coming in on the third line!”