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sarcastic recipe, who never drank tea, and therefore
kept her place at the other side of the room.

"Captain Vance," said Aunt Bella, as he
stood swinging his eye-glass moodily by its black
ribbon, a sure sign of squally weather in
Meadow-row "— Captain Vance, my dear. You
have never told Mr. Standiforth of the Pholex
you found the other day on the Holt rocks,
He is so anxious to hear all about it, that I have
been trying to describe what a rare Pholex it
was, but you will do it so much better."

Poor dear Aunt Bella, in her anxiety to find
a topic which might chase away the clouds,
had transgressed her usual wise rule of never
meddling with theologies, and having been called
upon a day or two before to admire the wonders
of a specimen of the Pholas parvus, a small
sallow shell with a bulb at one end of it, which
godpapa had, with infinite labour, poked out of
its hole in the rockPholases being just then
his beloved hobbyshe had adventured upon
the scientific name for once in a way, and
stumbled into a wrong termination, upon which
the captain pounced down like a kite.

"Pholas, Mrs. Vance!" cried the outraged
conchologist, with an angry emphasis which
made us all look up; and then he turned to Mr.
Standiforth, exclaiming, " Cot, sir!"— which
was with him the nearest approach to swearing
— " why won't women leave Latin names alone,
and stick to their cookery-books?"

Mr. Standiforth answered only by a nervous
little titter; but he conjured away the storm
notwithstanding, by professing so eager a desire
to see the testacean prodigy, that godpapa
could not in courtesy refuse to escort him
into the study, while Aunt Bella, hanging her
head very like a chidden child, muttered
submissively to Miss Rosetta and the teacups:

"Dear, dear! How stupid of me to think it
ended in x. And yet I know he did show me
something that day that ended in x. What was
it now? Ah! I recollecta rose-bughe was
vexed at my calling it so, and said it was a
Cimex. I was sure it ended in x; but, dear,
dear! no wonder he was put out!"

In a few minutes the two naturalists returned;
the parts were duly distributed on the
stand, Mr. Daley gave his fingers a last vicious
twist, preparatory to unlocking his violin-case.
The precious Amati was lifted out of its box
like a musical mummy, carefully divested of
its flannel shroud, and godpapa, seating himself,
bow in hand, added his quota to the
hideous din of tortured shrieks and groans
which the four instruments emitted in the
tuning, and which Mr. Standiforth in particular
always prolonged and recapitulated, to the
maddening of the audience, and was invariably
half a tone flatter than the others after all.

All this time the thunder-storm had been creeping
higher and higher,

       In dull hot scales of serpent grey,

above the rocks and bushes of the opposite hill.
The rising storm-wind threw capricious dashes
of rain against the glass, and in the pause
before the riot of tuning began, a deep distant
growl sounded over the sea.

Madame Huillier came out of her corner as
she heard it, and sat down beside Aunt Bella.
A dread of thunder-storms was, I do believe,
the good lady's only touch of cowardice. In all
else her moustache and her bass voice were
not belied by any petty weakness, though she
made no boast of her courage. I have seen her
hold upon her lap quietly and tenderly, but
quite firmly, the poor quivering struggling limbs
of a young child whose ankle-joint had just
been run over, while the surgeons set the bone,
and I know she has sat by the bedside of a
patient dying of scarlet fever, when all save the
mother held aloof for fear of infection. But
the sound of a moderate thunder-clap seemed
to change her whole nature, and startle her
into a superstitious agitation which I can only
explain by surmising, that it may have found
some echo in the terrors of her hard, bitter,
Calvinistic creed. Some haunting dread of the
inexorable judgments and visitations of her
God of Wrath was, I doubt not, at the bottom
of the old Frenchwoman's overweening trepidation.
If she had been a Catholic, madame
would have crossed herself, and said, " Ora pro
nobis." As she was not, she drew nearer to
the other two ladies, moved her lips nervously,
and lost the count of her stitches.

"Ah!" said godpapa, tapping the page with
the point of his bow. " Three crotchets in a
bar. Largo. That's well! Now, gentlemen!"
And off they set, and, for a few bars, they seemed
quite astounded at their own prowess. Aunt
Bella ejaculated audibly that it was " vastly
fine." By degrees, however, Mr. Standiforth
and godpapa began to lag behind. For Mr.
Standiforth stuck fast for a second or so at
some double notes of which he could not
compass the fingering, and then giving them up as
a bad job, skipped them and went on, just a bar
too late to join his fellow labourers; while
godpapa charged manfully at a solo passage
Monsieur Huillier's dry, correct tenor supporting
and when he found it too intricate for his
fingers, lapsed into his favourite, " one, two,
twang! twang! two, three!" mumbled in an
under tone; and so shambled onwards in the
rear as best he could.

It was well that a rattling peal of thunder,
which seemed nearly overhead, and made
madame plant her elbows firmly on the table
and her hands on her ears, covered the ravelled-
out close of that sorely misused largo; of which
I only remember that towards the end it broke
into a playful andante movement, and that
Mr. Standiforth, in a miz-maze, rested his violin
on his knee and stared helplessly at the
paper, while godpapa, who flattered himself he
had caught up his companions at last, and
nothing heeded the long-drawn chords which
announced their arrival at the end, still
continued his persistent little feeble twang! twang!
all by himself, till the hoarse roar of the
thunder extinguished him, not a little to the
listenerssatisfaction.

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