“Yes, but Helen; such frantic, dreadful noise!”
“But, Daddy, the Germans are emotional people, you know; no one would have been in the least surprised at that in Germany; it was a hymn, Daddy!”
“A hymn!” gasped Mr. Davis.
“Yes, honestly,” said Helen. “It is a wonderful hymn. Every German knows it nearly by heart.”
Mr. Davis had as much knowledge of German music as might be expected of one who had lived twenty years in the country and heard three hymns and an anthem sung every Sunday by a volunteer choir. Helen’s musical education, as all her other education, had been superintended by Aunt Polly, and the only idea that came to Mr. Davis’ mind was of Wagner, whose name he had heard people talk about in connection with noise and incoherency.
“Helen,” he said, “I trust that is not the kind of hymn you are going to sing to-morrow.”
“I don’t know,” was the puzzled reply. “I’ll see what I can do, Daddy. It’s dreadfully hard to find anything in German music like the slow-going, practical lives that we dull Yankees lead.” Then a sudden idea occurred to the girl, and she ran to the piano with a gleeful laugh: “Just see, for instance,” she said, fumbling hurriedly amongst her music, “I was playing the Moonlight Sonata this morning, and that’s a good instance.”
“This is the kind of moonlight they have in Germany,” she laughed when she found it. After hammering out a few discords of her own she started recklessly into the incomprehensible “presto,” thundering away at every crescendo as if to break her fingers. “Isn’t it fine, Daddy?” she cried, gazing over her shoulder.
“I don’t see what it has to do with the moon,” said the clergyman, gazing helplessly at the open window, and wondering if another crowd was gathering.
“That’s what everybody’s been trying to find out!” said Helen; then, as she heard the dinner bell out in the hall, she ended with half a dozen frantic runs, and jumping up with the last of them, took her father’s arm and danced out of the room with him.
“Perhaps when we come to see the other side of the moon,” she said, “we may discover all about it. Or else it’s because the moon is supposed to set people crazy.” So they passed in to dinner, where Helen was as animated as ever, poor Arthur and his troubles seeming to have vanished completely from her thoughts.
In fact, it was not until the meal was nearly over that she spoke of them again; she noticed that it was growing dark outside, and she stepped to the window just as a distant rumble of thunder was heard.
“Dear me!” she exclaimed. “There’s a fearful storm coming, and poor Arthur is out in it; he must be a long way from town by this time, and there is no house where he can go.” From the window where she stood she had a view across the hills in back of the town, and could see the black clouds coming swiftly on. “It is like we were imagining this morning,” she mused; “I wonder if he will think of it.”