Author: Gilbert Parker
Release Date: May 7, 2005 [eBook #15793]
Character set encoding: ISO-646-us (us-ASCII)
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AN UNPARDONABLE LIAR
Author of Seats of the Mighty, The Battle of the Strong, etc.
Charles H. Sergel Company
“O de worl am roun an
de worl am wide—
O Lord, remember your chillun in de mornin!
It’s a mighty long way up de mountain side,
An day aint no place whar de sinners kin hide,
When de Lord comes in de mornin.”
With a plaintive quirk of the voice the singer paused, gayly flicked the strings of the banjo, then put her hand flat upon them to stop the vibration and smiled round on her admirers. The group were applauding heartily. A chorus said, “Another verse, please, Mrs. Detlor.”
“Oh, that’s all I know, I’m afraid,” was the reply. “I haven’t sung it for years and years, and I should have to think too hard—no, no, believe me, I can’t remember any more. I wish I could, really.”
A murmur of protest rose, but there came through the window faintly yet clearly a man’s voice:
“Look up an look aroun,
Fro you burden on de groun”—
The brown eyes of the woman grew larger. There ran through her smile a kind of frightened surprise, but she did not start nor act as if the circumstance were singular.
One of the men in the room—Baron, an honest, blundering fellow—started toward the window to see who the prompter was, but the host—of intuitive perception—saw that this might not be agreeable to their entertainer and said quietly: “Don’t go to the window, Baron. See, Mrs. Detlor is going to sing.”
Baron sat down. There was an instant’s pause, in which George Hagar, the host, felt a strong thrill of excitement. To him Mrs. Detlor seemed in a dream, though her lips still smiled and her eyes wandered pleasantly over the heads of the company. She was looking at none of them, but her body was bent slightly toward the window, listening with it, as the deaf and dumb do.