The usual "grace" had hardly been said, when a trim maid announced that a little girl was at the door, who must see the doctor about something particular. "There is nobody sick more than usual," she says; "but she must come in," continued the irritated damsel-in-waiting.
"Let her come in here. You can never have your meals in peace!" said the doctor's wife affectionately.
The soup and the little girl came in together, the latterly evidently quite prepared to state her errand. She was a small, straight child, with a determined air and a cheery face, as if sure of success in her undertaking. Fresh in Monday cleanliness, her white cotton head-kerchief stood stiffly out in a point behind, and her calico apron was without spot or wrinkle. Her shoes, though they had been diligently blackened and were under high polish, did not correspond with the rest of her appearance. They had evidently been made for a boy, an individual much larger than their present wearer. Great wrinkles crossing each other shut off some low, unoccupied land near the toe, and showed how much of the sole had been too proud to touch the common ground. All this the observers saw at once.
"Well, Tora!" said the doctor pleasantly, after she had dropped her bob-courtesies, and "good-days" had been exchanged.
"May I sing for you?" said the little girl, without further hesitation, as she hastily took out a thin, black book from the small pocket handkerchief in which it had been carefully wrapped.
"Sing? yes, surely!" said the doctor. "Just the thing for us while we are taking our dinner. My brother-in-law here is a famous judge of music, so you must do your best."
Tora opened the book, took what she considered an imposing position, and announced the name of the song. It was a patriotic one, and in the full chorus of the schoolroom it had stirred the young Swedish hearts to their depths.