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A Window Of Music
by [?]

I

“About so high, I should think,” said the girl, with a swift twinkle. She measured off a diminutive man on the huge blue-and-white porcelain stove and stood back to survey it. “And about as big,” she added reflectively.

Her sister laughed. The girl nodded again.

“And terribly homely,” she said, making a little mouth. Her eyes laughed. She leaned forward with a mysterious air. “And, Marie, his coat is green, and his trousers are–white!”

The two girls giggled in helpless amusement. They had a stolid German air of family resemblance, but the laughing eyes of the younger danced in their round setting, while the sleepy blue ones of the older girl followed the twinkling pantomime with a look of half protest.

“They were in the big reception-room,” went on the girl, “and I bounced in on them. Mamma Rosine was giving him the family history–you and me.”

They giggled again.

The younger one drew down her face and folded her hands in matronly dignity, gazing pensively at the blue-and-white stove, her head a little to one side.

“My own voice is alto, Herr Schubert, and my daughter Caroline’s; but my daughter Marie has a beautiful soprano.” She rolled her eyes, with an air of resigned sentiment, and shook the bobbing black curls gently from side to side. “And he just twiddled his thumbs like this, and grunted.” She seized her sister around her plump waist and shook her vigorously. “Don’t you see it?” she demanded.

The older girl laughed hysterically, with disturbed eyes.

“Don’t, Cara!” she protested.

The dark eyes bubbled again.

“And his hair curls as tight–” She ran a hand along her rumpled curls, then a look of dismay crossed the laughing face. She subsided into a chair and folded her hands meekly. The little feet, in their stout ankle-ties, swung back and forth beneath the chair, and the round, German face assumed an air of wholesome stupidity.

Her sister, whose slow glance had followed hers, gave a little gasp, and sank into a chair on the opposite side of the stove, in duplicate meekness.

The door at the other end of the room had swung open, and a tall woman swept in, followed by a diminutive figure in green coat and white trousers. A pair of huge spectacles, mounted on a somewhat stumpy nose, peered absently from side to side as he approached.

“My daughters, Herr Schubert,” said the tall lady, with a circumflex wave of her white hand that included the waxlike figures on each side the stove.

They regarded him fixedly and primly.

His glance darted from one to the other, and he smiled broadly.

“I haf seen the young Fraeulein before,” he said, indicating the younger with his fat hand.

The dark, round eyes gazed at him expressionless. His spectacles returned the gaze and twinkled.

“She has come into the reception-room while you were explaining about the voice of Fraeulein Marie,” he said, with a glance at the other sister.

The waxlike faces shook a little.

The lady regarded them severely.

“She is only eleven,” she murmured apologetically to the little man.

“Ja! So?” he muttered. His glance flashed again at the immovable face.

“Caroline, my child, come here,” said her mother.

The child slipped down from the stiff chair and crossed to her mother’s side. Her little hands were folded, and her small toes pointed primly ahead.

“My youngest daughter, Herr Schubert,” said the lady, slipping an arm around the stiff waist. “Caroline, this is your new music tutor, Herr Schubert.”

The child bobbed primly, and lifted a pair of dark, reflective eyes to his face.

His own smiled shrewdly.

“She will be a good pupil,” he said; “it is the musical type.” The green coat and white trousers bowed circumspectly to the small figure.

“Now, Marie”–the tall lady shook out her skirts–“Herr Schubert will try your voice. But first, Herr Schubert, will you not give us the pleasure?” She motioned politely toward the piano, and sank back with an air of fatigued sentiment.