“You changed her greatly.”
“It is to be hoped so,” he answered, with a laugh.
“She told me much of you: of your power, of your ability to make people over. And she said you had studied in the East, and had learned how to make people do your will, even when they were far away from you. Is it true?”
“Some say so,” he answered.
“It is not hypnotism?” she questioned.
“I’m no Svengali, if that’s what you mean,” he responded, grimly. “I’ll watch you, Katrine Dulany, and, if I find you worthy, some day I may tell you more.”
More moved by her personality than he had been by any other in the twenty-five years of his teaching, he stood by the window and watched her cross the court-yard below and disappear through the great iron gates.
“Poor little girl!” he thought. “Beauty and gift and a divine despair. Everything ready to make the great artist. And then the heart of a woman, which is like quicksilver, to reckon with. I spoke bravely about her forgetting, but I have doubts. Sometimes I wonder if it be possible for a person with a fine and generous nature to become a really great artist. Perhaps it is necessary to have great egotism and selfishness for the arts’ development. I wonder,” he said, aloud; repeating, after a minute’s silence, “I wonder—”
MRS. RAVENEL UNWITTINGLY BECOMES AN ALLY OF KATRINE
After his mother’s recovery Frank went back to New York immediately, keen to arrange the railroad matters and get the actual work started. In the first interview with De Peyster, however, he found that Dermott McDermott was far from being out of the reckoning.
“It is rumored,” said De Peyster, “that he is trying to elect himself president of N.C. & T. road. If he succeeds he can control the traffic in Carolina to such an extent that our line would be a failure, even if built.”
“Then,” returned Frank, and any one who loved him would have gloried at the set of his mouth and chin as he spoke, “he mustn’t be allowed to be president of the N.C. & T. We must buy up the proxies.”
Before the end of the week, however, they were surprised again by the news that McDermott had refused to consider the presidency of the N.C. & T. road, even if tendered him, and had given out that he would sail for Europe within a fortnight for an indefinite stay.
“But,” De Peyster ended, as he repeated the news to Frank, “if you think he’s whipped you don’t know him! I’m more anxious over this last move than if he stayed right here and fought us openly. There is more to it than we know.”
In silence Frank held the same belief, though he reasoned that McDermott’s European trip could be well explained by his affection for Katrine; and so the thought of Dermott away from New York disturbed him far more than it did Philip de Peyster, but for very different reasons.