Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/155

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37
THE READING-CLUB.

to the first families, I suppose. They are an uncommon good-looking set of men. Is Mrs. Patte a furrener?"—"Yes; she's a mixture of Spanish and Italian. She was born in Madrid, but came to the United States when only five years of age, and remained here until she was nearly seventeen. There, aunt; there's the bell, and the curtain will rise in a minute. Yes; see, there it goes."—"Louisa!"—"Sh—! listen. I want you to hear Signor Monti. He is considered a very fine bass."—"But, Louisa, oughtn't we to stand up during prayer-time?"—"You forget, aunt, that this is only a play, and not a temple."—"Dear suz! I only wish your uncle Peleg was here. Somehow it seems kinder unchristian to be play-acting worship."—"Why, aunt, there's no need of your feeling so conscience-stricken. Lots of church-people come to the opera. It isn't like the theatre, you know. It's more—more—er—well, I can't just express it, aunt. But, anyway, people who discountenance the theatre, especially during Lent, approve of the opera."—"But, Louisa, what is the matter? La sakes, child! let's get out as spry as ever we can! The theatre is all on fire. Hurry, Louisa! Wish that your uncle Peleg"—"Sh—aunt; do sit down. It isn't a fire. It's only the people applauding because Patti is on the stage. Don't you see her?"—"Sakes alive! Is that it? I thought we was all afire, or Wiggin's flood had come. So that is Mrs. Patte. Well, I declare for it! she's as spry as a cricket, and no mistake. Why, Louisa, how old is she? She looks scarcely out of her teens."—"Oh, aunt, you must not be so practical, and ask such personal questions. Ladies don't always want their ages known; but, between ourselves, she's over forty."—"Is it possible? There, they're at it again. What is the matter now?"—"Why, Scalchi has appeared. Don't you see?"—"What, that dapper little fellow a-bowing and a-scraping and a-smirking! Is that Mr. Scalchi?"—"That's Madame Scalchi, aunt; and she's taking the part of Arsaces, the commander of the Assyrian army, you know."—"Louisa, are you sure that this is a perfectly proper place? I only wish Peleg was here, for then I shouldn't feel so sort a-skerry like and guilty."—"Now, aunt, we mustn't speak another word till the opera is through, because we disturb the people."—"I suppose we do; but, whenever any thing happens, you nudge me, and I'll nudge you; or we can squeeze hands,—that's the way Peleg and I do when we go