“Call me Roesie—thou!” she murmured, and her naivete brought the ready tears to his eyes. They made a rendezvous for the next morning on the Promenade Platz. The only thing he did not like was the scowling face of the dancer when he said good night to the others under the electric lights of the Kreuzbrunnen. He was correct, then, in his premonition.
That night Hugh Krayne dreamed he was a very skeleton for thinness—not an unusual vision of fat men—and also a Tyrolean yodler, displaying himself before a huge audience of gigantic human beings, who laughed so loudly that he could not open his lips to frame the familiar words of his song. In the despair of a frantic nightmare, his face streaming with anguished tears, he forced his voice:—
La, la, liriti! La, la, larita! Hallali! Then he awoke in triumph. Was he not a yodler?
He told her of his dream and strange ambition. She did not discourage him. It could be settled easily enough. Why not join the company and take a few lessons? “With such a teacher?” he had exclaimed, and his gesture was so impassioned that the promenaders, with their shining morning goblets of water, were arrested by the spectacle. Wonderful, wonderful Marienbad! was the general comment! But Krayne was past ridicule. He already saw Roeselein his bride. He saw himself a yodler. The cure? Ay, there was the rub. He laid bare his heart. She aided him with her cool advice. She was very sensible. Her brother-in-law and her sister would welcome him in their household, for he was a lover of music and his intentions were honourable. Of course, he sighed, of course, and fingered his red tie. Why not, she argued, remain at Marienbad for three weeks more and complete his cure? Anyhow, he was not so stout! She looked up at him archly. Again he saw mist.
That settled it. For another three weeks he lived in a cloud of expectation, of severe training, long walks, dieting, and Turkish baths. No man worked harder. And he was rewarded by seeing his flesh melt away a pound or two daily. When the company returned after its itinerary in the neighbourhood Roesie was surprised to meet a man who did not weigh much over two hundred pounds, healthy, vigorous, and at least five years younger in appearance. She was very much touched. So was her sister. There was a family consultation, and despite the surly opposition of the dancer, Hugh Krayne was welcomed as a member of the Praeger Bavarian Sextette company. Forgetting the future he had arranged for Roesie, he began his vocal lessons immediately.