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11. CHAPTER XI (continued)
Over and above the recommendations already enumerated, she had another in the possession of what was supposed to be a very beautiful contralto voice. Her voice was certainly contralto, for she could not reach higher than D in the treble; its only defect was that it did not go correspondingly low in the bass: in those days, however, a contralto voice was understood to include even a soprano if the soprano could not reach soprano notes, and it was not necessary that it should have the quality which we now assign to contralto. What her voice wanted in range and power was made up in the feeling with which she sang. She had transposed "Angels ever bright and fair" into a lower key, so as to make it suit her voice, thus proving, as her mamma said, that she had a thorough knowledge of the laws of harmony; not only did she do this, but at every pause added an embellishment of arpeggios from one end to the other of the keyboard, on a principle which her governess had taught her; she thus added life and interest to an air which everyone--so she said-- must feel to be rather heavy in the form in which Handel left it. As for her governess, she indeed had been a rarely accomplished musician: she was a pupil of the famous Dr Clarke of Cambridge, and used to play the overture to Atalanta, arranged by Mazzinghi. Nevertheless, it was some time before Theobald could bring his courage to the sticking point of actually proposing. He made it quite clear that he believed himself to be much smitten, but month after month went by, during which there was still so much hope in Theobald that Mr Allaby dared not discover that he was able to do his duty for himself, and was getting impatient at the number of half-guineas he was disbursing--and yet there was no proposal. Christina's mother assured him that she was the best daughter in the whole world, and would be a priceless treasure to the man who married her. Theobald echoed Mrs Allaby's sentiments with warmth, but still, though he visited the Rectory two or three times a week, besides coming over on Sundays--he did not propose. "She is heart-whole yet, dear Mr Pontifex," said Mrs Allaby, one day, "at least I believe she is. It is not for want of admirers--oh! no--she has had her full share of these, but she is too, too difficult to please. I think, however, she would fall before a GREAT AND GOOD man." And she looked hard at Theobald, who blushed; but the days went by and still he did not propose.
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