“I was there that night,” said Susan,” and, although I did not say anything about it to you, Mrs. Dr. dear, I could not help thinking that it was a great pity they picked that particular evening. It was truly blood-curdling to hear them sitting there in that abode of the dead, shouting that frivolous song at the tops of their lungs.”
“I don’t know what you were doing in a Methodist prayer meeting,” said Miss Cornelia acidly.
“I have never found that Methodism was catching,” retorted Susan stiffly. “And, as I was going to say when I was interrupted, badly as I felt, I did not give in to the Methodists. When Mrs. Deacon Baxter said, as we came out, ’What a disgraceful exhibition!’ I said, looking her fairly in the eye, ’They are all beautiful singers, and none of your choir, Mrs. Baxter, ever bother themselves coming out to your prayer meeting, it seems. Their voices appear to be in tune only on Sundays!’ She was quite meek and I felt that I had snubbed her properly. But I could have done it much more thoroughly, Mrs. Dr. dear, if only they had left out Polly Wolly Doodle. It is truly terrible to think of that being sung in a graveyard.”
“Some of those dead folks sang Polly Wolly Doodle when they were living, Susan. Perhaps they like to hear it yet,” suggested Gilbert.
Miss Cornelia looked at him reproachfully and made up her mind that, on some future occasion, she would hint to Anne that the doctor should be admonished not to say such things. They might injure his practice. People might get it into their heads that he wasn’t orthodox. To be sure, Marshall said even worse things habitually, but then HE was not a public man.
“I understand that their father was in his study all the time, with his windows open, but never noticed them at all. Of course, he was lost in a book as usual. But I spoke to him about it yesterday, when he called.”
“How could you dare, Mrs. Marshall Elliott?” asked Susan rebukingly.
“Dare! It’s time somebody dared something. Why, they say he knows nothing about that letter of Faith’s to the JOURNAL because nobody liked to mention it to him. He never looks at a JOURNAL of course. But I thought he ought to know of this to prevent any such performances in future. He said he would ’discuss it with them.’ But of course he’d never think of it again after he got out of our gate. That man has no sense of humour, Anne, believe ME. He preached last Sunday on ‘How to Bring up Children.’ A beautiful sermon it was, too—and everybody in church thinking ‘what a pity you can’t practise what you preach.’”
Miss Cornelia did Mr. Meredith an injustice in thinking he would soon forget what she had told him. He went home much disturbed and when the children came from Rainbow Valley that night, at a much later hour than they should have been prowling in it, he called them into his study.