Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/118

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The Prison Prayer was wailed and thundered passionately; Floyd watched with a certain admiration Letty's strong white hands as they pounced about among the keys while her figure swayed and her cheeks flushed, whether with the heat of the exercise or with emotion, he did not know. Standing behind her, Hugh Farrell, with streaming face and with limp locks of yellow hair hanging over his forehead, contributed a solid, trustworthy accompaniment, a background of gloomy sound against which contrasted Letty's more colored and expressive performance. When in a last gorgeous burst the selection was finished, the audience clapped loudly; and through the open window came the sound of applause from a house on the opposite side of the street. Letty and Farrell responded to the encore, and then Miss Lally Gorham rose from her seat under the piano-lamp and putting her arm about Letty's neck, kissed her, and then stood embracing her with affectionate admiration.

"Always shovin' herself forward, the blarneyin' thing," commented Mrs. Tustin. "Besides bein' next door to an idiot. Asked me once if Letty's hair did n't resemble an oriole. I told her if she thought that she must be color-blind; the only orioles I ever seen were yellow, not red. Letty," and she raised her all-powerful voice, "it don't seem possible, but how you have improved!"

Floyd stepped forward to congratulate Letty upon her playing; "I don't know much about music, but you put a lot of go into it, and that's what I like," he said.

She laughed with honest pleasure at the compliment. "I get really worked up when I play," she answered. "But my fingers are too clumsy; it makes me wild sometimes, the way they seem to hold me back."

"But, Letty," broke in her friend Miss Gorham, with her deep voice, "your technique is grand. Did n't you think it was quite won—derful, Mr. Halket?"

She had a way of booming out this adjective with a profound expressiveness.