“Yes,” he said, sitting down at the piano, “if you’ll all sing with me,” and it came to pass that that classic, followed by Bring Back my Bonnie to Me, Paddy Duffy’s Cart, There’s Music in the Air, and sundry other ditties dear to all hearts, was given by “the full strength of the company” with such enthusiasm that even Mr. Fairman was moved to join in with his violin; and when the Soldier’s Farewell was given, Herr Schlitz would have sung the windows out of their frames had they not been open. Altogether, the evening’s programme was brought to an end with a grand climax.
“Thank you very much,” said John as he said good night to Mrs. Verjoos. “I don’t know when I have enjoyed an evening so much.”
“Thank you very much,” she returned graciously. “You have given us all a great deal of pleasure.”
“Yes,” said Miss Verjoos, giving her hand with a mischievous gleam in her half-shut eyes, “I was enchanted with Solomon Levi.”
David and John had been driving for some time in silence. The elder man was apparently musing upon something which had been suggested to his mind. The horses slackened their gait to a walk as they began the ascent of a long hill. Presently the silence was broken by a sound which caused John to turn his head with a look of surprised amusement—Mr. Harum was singing. The tune, if it could be so called, was scaleless, and these were the words:
“Monday mornin’ I married me a wife, Thinkin’ to lead a more contented life; Fiddlin’ an’ dancin’ the’ was played, To see how un_happy_ poor I was made.
“Tuesday mornin’, ’bout break o’ day, While my head on the piller did lay, She tuned up her clack, an’ scolded more Than I ever heard be_fore_.”
“Never heard me sing before, did ye?” he said, looking with a grin at his companion, who laughed and said that he had never had that pleasure. “Wa’al, that’s all ‘t I remember on’t,” said David, “an’ I dunno ’s I’ve thought about it in thirty year. The’ was a number o’ verses which carried ’em through the rest o’ the week, an’ ended up in a case of ‘sault an’ battery, I rec’lect, but I don’t remember jest how. Somethin’ we ben sayin’ put the thing into my head, I guess.”
“I should like to hear the rest of it,” said John, smiling.
David made no reply to this, and seemed to be turning something over in his mind. At last he said:
“Mebbe Polly’s told ye that I’m a wid’wer.”
John admitted that Mrs. Bixbee had said as much as that.
“Yes, sir,” said David, “I’m a wid’wer of long standin’.”
No appropriate comment suggesting itself to his listener, none was made.