The item mentioned the death of Raphael Ricci, ex-consul, and the senator’s object in writing was to inquire further as to the facts. Did he leave a competency? If not, would the family receive such assistance as would enable the daughter, if Rosie Ricci was her daughter, to obtain a further musical education?
The senator’s letter dropped from the mother’s hands; she was overcome with the good news. Rosie picked it up saying, “Mother dear, what is the matter? What terrible news does it contain?”
“Not bad news, child! possibly good news; a letter from a stranger who offers aid in our distress, a letter from one holding a high position. I wonder what it all means? Has the senator been prompted by the spirit of your anxious father, or is there evil in the communication?”
“Tell me, mother, tell me all about it!” But before the mother could speak, Rosie was reading the letter aloud. She threw up her hands in delight and flew into her mother’s arms. “How good the Lord is to us!” Rosie exclaimed. She had been eager for a musical education and to win fame on the stage.
In June, by appointment, Mrs. Ricci and daughter met the Senator at the Fifth Avenue Hotel. It was arranged that Rosie should have the best musical education obtainable in Boston, and further that the senator should pay her expenses in Boston and New York, and that the mother’s rent should be included in his liberality. At times, the mother questioned the senator’s motives, but he always seemed so kind and fatherly that she spurned the thought as coming from the Evil One.
The senator as he left, put several bills in Mrs. Ricci’s hand, saying, “You and Rosie will find need of them for clothes for the daughter and for other expenses.”
Never was a girl happier than Rosie the morning she and her mother left the Grand Central Depot for New England. Rarely, if ever, did a girl work harder than Rosie at her studies. Her soul often had burned with ambition for fame and for money so that she could assist her mother. The way was now open and success was possible. At the sunset hour she often walked with a friend among the historic elms on Boston Common and in the beautiful flower gardens.
Often young men longed for her acquaintance, but they could never get the consent of her pretty eyes. She was petite, her hair black, her eyes dark brown, her lips ruby-red, and her nose and chin finely chiselled. She had a cameo-like face and complexion of olive tint that told of the land of vines and figs in sunny Italy. Her step was elastic, her manner vivacious and confiding. Her dress was always tidy and stylish. Usually she carried a roll of music in one hand as she left the conservatory, and lovely flowers in the other that had been expressed either by the senator or Leo.
On the completion of her course in the conservatory, Leo had pressed his suit so devotedly that Rosie consented to an engagement without her mother’s knowledge. The ring of gold contained a single ruby, and Leo had had engraved on the inside of the ring, “Et teneo, et teneor.” When Rosie saw the old Roman motto she said, “I hold, and am held. How appropriate, Leo! Your love for me, devotion to the beautiful, and our bright memories of artistic Italy shall bind us together forever.