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unsuspecting girl and retaining the property that is rightly hers. Eager to gain the bishop's consent, he cries sharply, “Is it a bargain?” Just at that moment, Pippa passes, all unconscious of the terrible fate that is threatening her.
From the street below rises in clear tones her quaint little song:
“Overhead the tree-tops meet,
31. The seven and one, probably the Pleiades and some other star that had especially attracted the singer's notice.
Nay, I could all but understand
Irresistibly, the sweet innocence of her words fills the bishop's heart with tenderness; and at the close, becoming terrified all at once by the returning thought of the evil plot in which he is asked to take part, he cries in his alarm:
“My people--one and all—all—within there! Gag this villain-tie him hand and foot! He dares -I know not half he dares—but remove him quick! Miserere mei, Domine!32 quick, I say!”
Shortly afterward, having "played out her fancy's fullest games,” Pippa returns to her room, tired after her long ramblings. As her holiday draws to an end she feels a little sad and disappointed. For how can she realize even in the least the greatness of the changes that her songs have brought about in the lives of the “Happiest Four in Asolo?” How can she know of the good fortune that is to transform so completely her own hardworking life? “Oh, what. a drear, dark close to my poor day! How could that red sun drop in that black cloud? Ah, Pippa, morning's rule33 is moved away, Dispensed with, never more to be allowed! Day's turn is over—now arrives the night's.
[After she has begun to undress herself. 32. Miserere mei, Domine! Have mercy on me, O Lord!
33. Morning's rule--that is, the brightness and cheerfulness shown by nature, in the morning hours.
Now, one thing I should like to really know:
[Sitting on the bedside.
[As she lies down. God bless me! I can pray no more to-night. No doubt, some way or other, hymns say right.
All service ranks the same with God-
[She sleeps.” Even though we have not really seen the curtain going down while Pippa sleeps in the big, cheerless room, we are sure to think more about her and wonder what kind of a girl she becomes after Maffeo is forced to give her the fortune of which she has been heartlessly cheated. Do you suppose that she could grow to be like the proud Ottima, who looks with such scorn and indifference upon the poor silk-winding girls? Though we cannot be sure, do we not feel that even if Pippa were to become the mistress of a great house and many servants, she would still treat with humble sympathy the working-people among whom she has lived, and would keep on believing that “All service ranks the same with God?”
Sometimes it is interesting to think out why it is that we like a person in a story just as we like our real friends. Probably one of the chief reasons for our liking Pippa is that she is so cheerful and plucky. Of course, some one may say, it was the day of all days in the year when she would be cheerful, and even at that she was somewhat inclined to complain and to be sad when her holiday came to a close. Yet do you think that Pippa would seem real if she had gone to bed just as joyful as she was when she arose, although for all she knew she must keep on working day after day, and month after month, to earn a bare living?
Then another especially likable thing is that Pippa is not one of the “goody-goody” sort of story-book girls. She has a very amiable disposition and is naturally so loving that she wishes deeply to make other people happy. Yet does she ever act as if she took credit to herself for these attractive qualities? Does she not very simply look upon herself as neither better than other people nor perhaps inferior to them? Notice again her words:
“I will pass each, and see their happiness,
Useful to men, and dear to God as they!"
Page 296. Notice what a fanciful way Pippa has of speaking to the Day, as if it could understand her thoughts and feelings. She pretends that it has duties and pleasures and gifts of various sorts for the people of the world. Most of the time the duties are all that it gives her, but this morning it is offering pleasures, and she must not lose one of these. Why does she think that the Day should be especially kind to her and should not treat her as if she were of the fortunate people of Asolo, who are free to take the pleasures of all the year? When she chooses the happiest four in Asolo, why is she so very earnest in trying to convince her holiday that these people do not mind at all what it has for them?
Page 297. "If you were to send rain,” she asks, "would that trouble Ottima, so long as her lover Sebald is with her? Could your clouds shut out the 'sunbeams and pleasant weather from the hearts of Jules and Phene, who are to be married this noon? Would Luigi and his mother, safe in their cheerful home, notice your gloom? Or could the raging of your storm disturb Monsignor the bishop's hours of prayer?” But it is very different with Pippa. Why must the Day be warned again of this?
Does she not become suddenly more hopeful when she says that she is wasting time in such doubting? How do we soon find that she has forgotten all her fear and has become playful and happy? Why do you think it is that she likes to treat the Day and the sunbeam and her flower as if they were friends who can think and feel with her? What is it that she is doing when she wakens the sunbeam from its sleep in the ewer and it begins to dance and wheel upward along the walls and across the ceiling? Have you ever seen a sunbeam do this? How does it "grow together on the ceiling?" On what does the sunbeam finally settle?
Page 299. Is it not a very pretty fancy to think of the martagon as a flower of coral watched by fairies as it unfolds in the "dusk green” depths of the sea and sends out its "thick red flame? How is the girl's great fondness for her flower shown?
It is plain by now that Pippa's imagination is wide awake and bent on a good time. It seems to take the part of fairy godmother to her, as it changes her from a poor little silk-winder into one after another of the happiest four people in Asolo. To play that she is thus changed will be fun enough for one day.
Page 301. What do you think are Pippa's feelings when she says:
“Let me be cared about, kept out of harm,
What was my mother's face—my father, too!" Do you suppose she says "best love of all is God's" merely because she has been taught these words, or does