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"I was afraid of Vizard," said he; "he hates bad music."
"None of your tricks," said the squire; "yours is not bad music; you speak your words articulately, and even eloquently. Your accompaniment is a little queer, especially in the bass; but you find out your mistakes, and slip out of them Heaven knows how. Zoe, you are tame, but accurate. Correct his accompaniments some day--when I'm out of hearing. Practice drives me mad. Give us another."
Severne laughed good-humoredly. "Thus encouraged, who could resist?" said he. "It is so delightful to sing in a shower bath of criticism."
He sung a sprightly French song, with prodigious spirit and dash.
They all applauded, and Vizard said, "I see how it is. We were not good enough. He would not come out for us. He wanted the public. Uxmoor, you are the public. It is to you we owe this pretty warbler. Have you any favorite song, Public? Say the word, and he shall sing it you."
Severne turned rather red at that, and was about to rise slowly, when Uxmoor, who was instinctively a gentleman, though not a courtier, said, "I don't presume to choose Mr. Severne' s songs; but if we are not tiring him, I own I should like to hear an English song; for I am no musician, and the words are everything with me."
Severne assented dryly, and made him a shrewd return for his courtesy.
Zoe had a brave rose in her black hair. He gave her one rapid glance of significance, and sung a Scotch song, almost as finely as it could be sung in a room: