First Henry Cooper came on with his violin — a great master as I now remember him. Then Hope ascended to the platform, her dainty kid slippers showing under her gown, and the odious Livingstone escorting her. I was never so madly in love or so insanely jealous. I must confess it for I am trying to tell the whole truth of myself — I was a fool. And it is the greater folly that one says ever ‘I was,’ and never ‘I am’ in that plea. I could even see it myself then and there, but I was so great a fool I smiled and spoke fairly to the young man although I could have wrung his neck with rage. There was a little stir and a passing whisper in the crowd as she stood waiting for the prelude. Then she sang the ballad of Auld Robin Grey — not better than I had heard her sing it before, but so charmingly there were murmurs of delight going far and wide in the audience when she had finished. Then she sang the fine melody of ‘Angels ever Bright and Fair’, and again the old ballad she and I had heard first from the violin of poor Nick Goodall.
By yon bonnie bank an’ by yon bonnie
The sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
Where me an’ me true love were ever won’t if gae
On the bonnie, bonnie bank o’ Loch Lomond.
Great baskets of roses were handed to her as she came down from the platform and my confusion was multiplied by their number for I had not thought to bring any myself.
I turned to Uncle Eb who, now and then, had furtively wiped his eyes. ‘My stars!’ he whispered, ’ain’t it reemarkable grand! Never heard ner seen nothin’ like thet in all my born days. An’ t’ think it’s my little Hope.’
He could go no further. His handkerchief was in his hand while he took refuge in silence.
Going home the flowers were heaped upon our laps and I, with Hope beside me, felt some restoration of comfort.
‘Did you see Trumbull?’ Mrs Fuller asked. ’He sat back of us and did seem to enjoy it so much — your singing. He was almost cheerful.
‘Tell me about Mr Trumbull,’ I said. ’He is interesting.
‘Speculator,’ said Mrs Fuller. ’A strange man, successful, silent, unmarried and, I think, in love. Has beautiful rooms they say on Gramercy Park. Lives alone with an old servant. We got to know him through the accident. Mr Fuller and he have done business together — a great deal of it since then. Operates in the stock market.
A supper was waiting for us at home and we sat a long time at the table. I was burning for a talk with Hope but how was I to manage it? We rose with the others and went and sat down together in a corner of the great parlour. We talked of that night at the White Church in Faraway when we heard Nick Goodall play and she had felt the beginning of a new life.
‘I’ve heard how well you did last year,’ she said, ’and how nice you were to the girls. A friend wrote me all about it. How attentive you were to that little Miss Brown!