“Don’t you think father looks very much disturbed lately?” asked Felicia a little while after he had gone out.
“Oh, I don’t know! I hadn’t noticed anything unusual,” replied Rose. After a silence she said: “Are you going to the play tonight, Felicia? Mrs. Delano will be here at half past seven. I think you ought to go. She will feel hurt if you refuse.”
“I’ll go. I don’t care about it. I can see shadows enough without going to the play.”
“That’s a doleful remark for a girl nineteen years old to make,” replied Rose. “But then you’re queer in your ideas anyhow, Felicia. If you are going up to see mother, tell her I’ll run in after the play if she is still awake.”
Felicia started off to the play not very happy, but she was familiar with that feeling, only sometimes she was more unhappy than at others. Her feeling expressed itself tonight by a withdrawal into herself. When the company was seated in the box and the curtain had gone up Felicia was back of the others and remained for the evening by herself. Mrs. Delano, as chaperon for half a dozen young ladies, understood Felicia well enough to know that she was “queer,” as Rose so often said, and she made no attempt to draw her out of her corner. And so the girl really experienced that night by herself one of the feelings that added to the momentum that was increasing the coming on of her great crisis.
The play was an English melodrama, full of startling situations, realistic scenery and unexpected climaxes. There was one scene in the third act that impressed even Rose Sterling.
It was midnight on Blackfriars Bridge. The Thames flowed dark and forbidden below. St. Paul’s rose through the dim light imposing, its dome seeming to float above the buildings surrounding it. The figure of a child came upon the bridge and stood there for a moment peering about as if looking for some one. Several persons were crossing the bridge, but in one of the recesses about midway of the river a woman stood, leaning out over the parapet, with a strained agony of face and figure that told plainly of her intention. Just as she was stealthily mounting the parapet to throw herself into the river, the child caught sight of her, ran forward with a shrill cry more animal than human, and seizing the woman’s dress dragged back upon it with all her little strength. Then there came suddenly upon the scene two other characters who had already figured in the play, a tall, handsome, athletic gentleman dressed in the fashion, attended by a slim-figured lad who was as refined in dress and appearance as the little girl clinging to her mother, who was mournfully hideous in her rags and repulsive poverty. These two, the gentleman and the lad, prevented the attempted suicide, and after a tableau on the bridge where the audience learned that the man and woman were brother