The Breaking Point (Chapter 1, page 1 of 11)

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Chapter 1

"Heaven and earth," sang the tenor, Mr. Henry Wallace, owner of the
Wallace garage. His larynx, which gave him somewhat the effect of having
swallowed a crab-apple and got it only part way down, protruded above
his low collar.

"Heaven and earth," sang the bass, Mr. Edwin Goodno, of the meat market
and the Boy Scouts. "Heaven and earth, are full--" His chin, large and
fleshy, buried itself deep; his eyes were glued on the music sheet in
his hand.

"Are full, are full, are full," sang the soprano, Clare Rossiter, of the
yellow colonial house on the Ridgely Road. She sang with her eyes turned
up, and as she reached G flat she lifted herself on her toes. "Of the
majesty, of Thy glory."

"Ready," barked the choir master. "Full now, and all together."

The choir room in the parish house resounded to the twenty voices of the
choir. The choir master at the piano kept time with his head. Earnest
and intent, they filled the building with the Festival Te Deum of Dudley
Buck, Opus 63, No. 1.

Elizabeth Wheeler liked choir practice. She liked the way in which,
after the different parts had been run through, the voices finally
blended into harmony and beauty. She liked the small sense of
achievement it gave her, and of being a part, on Sundays, of the
service. She liked the feeling, when she put on the black cassock and
white surplice and the small round velvet cap of having placed in her
locker the things of this world, such as a rose-colored hat and a blue
georgette frock, and of being stripped, as it were, for aspirations.

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