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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/117

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"'The Blue Danube,' by Strauss," proclaimed Farrell.

And while he came booming in, "One—two—three," "One—two—three," to Letty's glib tinkle, Mrs. Tustin continued to urge her claims in Floyd's ear. Wearied by the importunate woman, he sat stolid, seeming not to hear a word that she said; and finally with a malicious glance at him she desisted. She was so angry that in the next intermission she did not converse with him at all, but contented herself with crying out,—

"Letty dear, you have the most elegant touch."

Miss Lally Gorham's contralto thrilled across the room,—"It is the most won—derful waltz;"—and Floyd felt transfixed by those hypnotic eyes. He turned from them coldly.

"Are n't you going to sing something for us to-night, Mrs. Tuslim?" he asked.

She was mollified by the compliment. "Oh, I ain't a singer," she replied, and then she laughed. "You do have a time with my name, don't you? Tustin, not Tuslim. No, I'm modest about it; I've got no gifts, except for housekeepin'. That I do pride myself on."

"Well, that's certainly the most important for a woman," Floyd observed with cheerful platitude.

"It seems so to me. Now I would n't trade what I know about squarsh pies and other things for all that Letty knows about that instrument. My knowledge ain't showy and it don't entertain for the moment, like her playin' does—but you stop in one house for a week and then in the other, and you'll find where cookin' and comfort is,—if I do say it."

"The 'Misereer' from Verdy's Trovator," announced Hugh Farrell; and while he scraped his strings once or twice to reassure himself for this supreme effort, Mrs. Tustin hastily concluded her remarks to Floyd—"And Tustin often says to me there ain't a better fed nor a comfortabler man in all New Rome."