But during the night (and oh, my little, little boy! you will forgive me if what I write hurts you, won’t you?) I awoke suddenly, and it seemed that everything was clear to me. I recalled your story of loving the woman whom you didn’t think it right for you to marry, of your inexplicable stay at Ravenel through an entire summer, your depression afterward, and your sudden plunge into business. I couldn’t help putting these things together and believing that this little Irish girl was the woman in the case.
But if you don’t want me to know, I won’t know. I never knew anything you didn’t want me to. That’s a mother’s way. And don’t say a word about the matter to me unless you care to. Believe me, boy of my heart, I will respect your silence.
It is three months since
you have been here. Miss Dulany sings on
the 23d. Can’t you come over? Every one is going, and we have taken
a box. Do come.
Even to his mother Frank could not bring himself to mention Katrine’s name, and he avoided all explanations by cabling his reply:
Will arrive in Paris on the 20th.—F.R.
THE NIGHT OF KATRINE’S DEBUT
The yearly recital of Josef’s pupils is an event to which Paris looks forward with interest, for the great teacher makes of it always an artistic triumph. That year there was more than usual excitement over the event, because of the first appearance in public of Mademoiselle Dulany, whose voice had been enthusiastically written of by every critic whom Josef had permitted to hear her sing. Two of the greatest singers of the world, old pupils of Josef, had been bidden to sing with her. Campanali and Rigard, whose sonorous bass tones have thrilled two continents, came gladly at the bidding of their old master, to whom they owed so much. The opera was “Faust.” The house was packed from pit to dome, with seats in the aisles, and many great people.
The Countess, trembling with excitement, had with her in her box her old friends the Townes, from London, for the event. In the next box the Duc d’Aumale and a party of club men were making bets about the success of the evening. In the next sat Francis Ravenel, with his mother and Anne Lennox. He was more excited than he had believed it possible for him to be over anything in life. The lights, the chatter of the gay throng, the moving of the people in their visiting from place to place, the tuning of the instruments, jarred upon his nerves frightfully and heightened the tension at which he was. Outwardly, however, he appeared as unmoved as if sitting alone at the club. His mother and Anne were recognizing many acquaintances in the audience, and there was a constant procession of men coming to the box to pay their respects. With every one the topic was La Dulany. “Would she have stage fright?” Josef said not. “Will she be as beautiful as rumor has said?” “It is a great undertaking for an absolutely unknown debutante to sing with Campanali, who will, nay, must, naturally take all the honors.”