Wopples saw Madame next day, and a long talk ensued, which ended in Kitty agreeing to stay six months with Mrs Villiers, and then, if she still wished to continue on the stage, she was to go to Mr Wopples. On the other hand, in consideration of Wopples losing the services of Kitty, Madame promised that next year she would give him sufficient money to start a theatre in Melbourne. So both parted mutually satisfied. Kitty made presents to all the family, who were very sorry to part with her, and then took up her abode with Mrs Villiers, as a kind of adopted daughter, and was quite prepared to play her part in the comedy of fashion.
So Madame Midas had been near the truth, yet never discovered it, and sent a letter to Vandeloup asking him to come to dinner and meet an old friend, little thinking how old and intimate a friend Kitty was to the young man.
It was, as Mr Wopples would have said, a highly dramatic situation, but, alas, that the confiding nature of Madame Midas should thus have been betrayed, not only by Vandeloup, but by Kitty herself—the very girl whom, out of womanly compassion, she took to her breast.
And yet the world talks about the inherent goodness of human nature.
M. VANDELOUP IS SURPRISED
Owing to the quiet life Kitty had led since she came to Melbourne, and the fact that her appearance on the stage had taken place in the country, she felt quite safe when making her appearance in Melbourne society that no one would recognise her or know anything of her past life. It was unlikely she would meet with any of the Pulchop family again, and she knew Mr Wopples would hold his tongue regarding his first meeting with her, so the only one who could reveal anything about her would be Vandeloup, and he would certainly be silent for his own sake, as she knew he valued the friendship of Madame Midas too much to lose it. Nevertheless she awaited his coming in considerable trepidation, as she was still in love with him, and was nervous as to what reception she would meet with. Perhaps now that she occupied a position as Mrs Villiers’ adopted daughter he would marry her, but, at all events, when she met him she would know exactly how he felt towards her by his demeanour.
Vandeloup, on the other hand, was quite unaware of the surprise in store for him, and thought that the old friend he was to meet would be some Ballarat acquaintance of his own and Madame’s. In his wildest flight of fancy he never thought it would be Kitty, else his cool nonchalance would for once have been upset at the thought of the two women he was interested in being under the same roof. However, where ignorance is bliss—well M. Vandeloup, after dressing himself carefully in evening dress, put on his hat and coat, and, the evening being a pleasant one, thought he would stroll through the Fitzroy Gardens down to the station.