‘But how is it,’ asked Madame, who believed her fully, ’that I could not find you?’
‘Because I was up the country all the time,’ replied Kitty, quickly, ‘and of course did not act under my real name.’
‘You would not like to go back to your father, I suppose,’ suggested Madame.
Kitty made a gesture of dissent.
‘No,’ she answered, determinedly; ’I was tired of my father and his religion; I’m on the stage now, and I mean to stick to it.’
‘Kitty! Kitty!’ said Madame, sadly, ’you little know the temptations—’
‘Oh! yes, I do,’ interrupted Kitty, impatiently; ’I’ve been nearly two years on the stage, and I have not seen any great wickedness— besides, I’m always with Mrs Wopples.’
‘Then you still mean to be an actress?’ asked Madame.
‘Yes,’ replied Kitty, in a firm voice; ’if I went back to my father, I’d go mad leading that dull life.’
‘But why not stay with me, my dear?’ said Mrs Villiers, looking at her; ’I am a lonely woman, as you know, and if you come to me, I will treat you as a daughter.’
‘Ah! how good you are,’ cried the girl in a revulsion of feeling, falling on her friend’s neck; ’but indeed I cannot leave the stage— I’m too fond of it.’
Madame sighed, and gave up the argument for a time, then showed the two girls all over the house, and after they had dinner with her, she sent them back to town in her carriage, with strict injunctions to Kitty to come down next day and bring Mr Wopples with her. When the two girls reached the hotel where the family was staying, Fanny gave her father a glowing account of the opulence of Madame Midas, and Mr Wopples was greatly interested in the whole affair. He was grave, however, when Kitty spoke to him privately of what Madame had said to her, and asked her if she would not like to accept Mrs Villiers’ offer. Kitty, however, said she would remain on the stage, and as Wopples was to see Madame Midas next day, made him promise he would say nothing about having found her on the streets, or of her living with a lover. Wopples, who thoroughly understood the girl’s desire to hide her shame from her friends, agreed to this, so Kitty went to bed confident that she had saved Vandeloup’s name from being dragged into the affair.