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[371] asleep, and slept her usual twenty minutes, to wake in the same gales of mirth. She laughed until the bed shook, but softly, trying to choke her laughter, lest I should wake.

“What is it about?” I asked. “What is so wonderful and funny?”

“Oh, my dear,” she said, breaking again into laughter, “it is nothing It is the most ridiculous thing! I was only trying to translate “fiddle-de-dee” into Greek!”

This was in her ninety-second year.

But we are still at the breakfast table. Sometimes there were guests at breakfast, a famous actor, a travelling scholar, caught between other engagements for this one leisure hour.

It was a good deal, perhaps, to ask people to leave a warm hotel on a January morning; but it was warm enough by the soft-coal blaze of the diningroom fire. Over the coffee and rolls, sausages and buckwheat cakes, leisure reigned supreme; not the poet's “retired leisure,” but a friendly and laughterloving deity. Everybody was full of engagements, harried with work, pursued by business and pleasure: no matter the talk ranged high and far, and the morning was half gone before they separated.

Soon after breakfast came the game of ball, played a deux with daughter or grandchild; the ball was tossed back and forth, the players counting meanwhile up to ten in various languages. She delighted in adding to her vocabulary of numerals, and it was a good day when she mastered those of the Kutch-Kutch Esquimaux..

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