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[372]

Then came the walk, gallantly taken in every weather save the very worst. She battled with the west wind, getting the matter over as quickly as might be. “It is for my life I” she would say. But on quiet, sunny days she loved to linger along Commonwealth Avenue, watching the parade of babies and little children, stopping to admire this one or chat with that.

This function accomplished, she went straight to her desk, and “P. T.” reigned till noon. It was a less rigorous “P. T.” than that of our childhood. She could break off in a moment now, give herself entirely, joyously, to the question of dinner for the expected guest, of dress for the afternoon reception, then drop back into Aristotle or Aeschylus with a happy sigh. It was less easy to break off when she was writing; we might be begged for “half a moment,” as if our time were fully as precious as her own; but there was none of the distress that interruption brought in earlier years. Perhaps she took her writing less seriously. She often said, “Oh, my dear, I am beginning to realize at last that I shall never write my book now, my Magnum Opus, that was to be so great”

She practised her scales faithfully every day, through the later years. Then she would play snatches of forgotten operas, and the granddaughter would hear her — if she thought no one was near — singing the brilliant arias in “a sweet thread of a voice.”

After her practising, if she were alone, she would sit at the window and play her Twilight Game: counting the “passing,” one for a biped, two for a quadruped, ten for a white horse, and so on.

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