Emilia had caught blindly at Sir Purcell’s hand, by which she raised herself, and then uncovering her face, looked furtively at the malign furnace-white face of Mr. Pericles.
“It cannot have gone,”—she spoke, as if mentally balancing the possibility.
“It has gone, I say; and you know why, Mademoiselle ze Fool!” Mr. Pericles retorted.
“No, no; it can’t be gone. Gone? voices never go!”
The reiteration of the “You know why,” from Mr. Pericles, and all the wretchedness of loss it suggested, robbed her of the little spark of nervous fire by which she felt half-reviving in courage and confidence.
“Let me try once more,” she appealed to him, in a frenzy.
Mr. Pericles, though fully believing in his heart that it might only be a temporary deprivation of voice, affected to scout the notion of another trial, but finally extended his forefinger: “Well, now; start! ’Sempre al tuo Santo!’ Commence: Sem—” and Mr. Pericles hummed the opening bar, not as an unhopeful man would do. The next moment he was laughing horribly. Emilia, to make sure of the thing she dreaded, forced the note, and would not be denied. What voice there was in her came to the summons. It issued, if I may so express it, ragged, as if it had torn through a briar-hedge: then there was a whimper of tones, and the effect was like the lamentation of a hardly-used urchin, lacking a certain music that there is in his undoubted heartfelt earnestness. No single note poised firmly for the instant, but swayed, trembling on its neighbour to right and to left when pressed for articulate sound, it went into a ghastly whisper. The laughter of Mr. Pericles was pleasing discord in comparison.
ETEXT EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS:
Am I ill? I must be hungry!
Depreciating it after the fashion of chartered hypocrites.
Fine Shades were still too dominant at Brookfield
He thinks that the country must be saved by its women as well
I know that your father has been hearing tales told of me
My voice! I have my voice! Emilia had cried it out to herself
She had great awe of the word ‘business’