Page:In the Roar of the Sea.djvu/50

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42
IN THE ROAR OF THE SEA

stuffing apparatus in the other, and to run from one to the other in his favorite desultory way, that never permitted him to stick to one thing at a time.

Into this house Judith and her brother were introduced. Mr. Menaida had been attached to the late rector, the only other gentleman in culture, as in birth, that lived in the place, and when he was told, by Miss—or, as she was usually called, Mrs.—Trevisa that the children must leave the parsonage and be put temporarily with some one suitable, and that no other suitable house was available, he consented without making much objection to receive them into his cottage. He was a kindly man, gentle at heart, and he was touched at the bereavement of the children whom he had known since they were infants.

After the first salutation Mr. Menaida led Judith and the boy into his parlor, the room openingout of his workshop.

"Look here," said he, "what is that?" He pointed to his piano.

"A piano, sir," answered Judith.

"Yes and mind you, I hate strumming, though I love music. When I am in, engaged at my labors, no strumming. I come in here now and then as relaxation, and run over this and that; then, refreshed, go back to my work, but, if there is any strumming, I shall be put out. I shall run my knife or needle into my hand, and it will upset me for the day. You understand—no strumming. When I am out, then you may touch the keys, but only when I am out. You understand clearly? Say the words after me: 'I allow no strumming.'"

Judith did as required. The same was exacted of Jamie. Then Mr. Menaida said—

"Very well; now we shall have a dish of tea. I daresay you are tired. Dear me, you look so. Goodness bless me! indeed you do. What has tired you has been the trial you have gone through. Poor things, poor things! There, go to your rooms; my maid, Jump, will show you where they are, and I will see about making tea. It will do you good. You want it. I see it."

The kind-hearted man ran about.

"Bless my soul! where have I put the key of the caddy? And—really—my fingers are all over arsenical soap. I think I will leave Jump to make the tea. Jump,