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sound of a well-known voice. In another moment, with the song on her lips, Marion Archer was there before his eyes. He did not hear the loud applause which greeted her, but he saw the petulant quick motion which acknowledged it. She was impatient of these formalities, which kept her from her work. In the dead silence, which is so eloquent of pleasure, her voice rose again. She sang like a milkmaid fresh and sweet in a meadow of cowslips, like an artist brave and confident in her art. Irvine felt a great unreasonable pride. “She has gained her end,” he whispered to himself—“she has won her victory."
“Who is she?” he asked his neighbour, and smiled as he asked.
“Manetti," answered the musical amateur, glancing up from his score in mild surprise. Irvine's head swam. Was it madness, or had her eyes found his ? Was she singing to him, as in the old days at Amalfi ? It must be so. The clear unfathomable eyes were fixed on him. He could not move; he scarcely dared to breathe; it seemed that her voice would fail if he looked away. He felt that the whole crowd saw that she was singing to him, and to him only. Nothing could be hidden in the wide pitiless light. The curtain fell, and he sank back exhausted. He was weak and feverish. He made an effort to recall himself to the realities about him, and looked round the house. There was a great gathering of the usual people. The most exalted ladies were the most quiet in dress. Young men but little skilled in the fine art of lounging, stood stiffly in the entrances. Stout gentlemen who had been hurried from their dinnertables, dozed in their stalls. Their womenkind studied their books with furtive earnestness. There was much half-apologetic use of opera - glasses. Critically examined, the audience were not exciting. But Irvine was blind to details that evening. To him there was a throng of people who had just seen her and heard her voice. There was light and colour, and confused mankind. Suddenly from the confusion a face separated itself—a face painfully distinct — the face of Katharine Adare. She was in a box on the pit tier, with a great lady to guard her, and two young men in attendance; but Irvine saw only her face. It was a night of wonders—a night throbbing with possibilities of passion, mysterious, wherein events move quickly-a drama and a lifetime. Two girls were under one roof, so near and so far apart—in one room, and of two worlds. It was impossible. It was the dream of a summer night. If he looked, it would vanish away. He sat very still, and shaded his eyes with his hand. The curtain rose slowly, and he looked again. It was the great act for the prima donna. Irvine was half surprised to see the same face still—to hear the well-known voice singing pure and true. She looked childlike on the stage. She seemed artless but confident as a favourite child, with the heart of a woman and the enthusiasm of an artist. Stolid Britons smiled as they found themselves swayed by this innocent empress. Then they forgot to smile. It was as if a nightingale had found in the midst of her song a human heart, and the hearers of the bird stood smitten with sudden awe before unsuspected depths in themselves. There was a storm of applause as the great scene ended—such a roar of delight and affection as is heard from Englishmen alone when they forget to check their feelings. No man waited for his neighbour or feared to be conspicuous. It was overwhelming. Irvine turned pale and clutched the arms of his chair. He was swept away by her triumph. He was like a man alone far out to sea, hurled on by the tempest. Above him was a single star, on which his gaze was fixed. Slowly it changed before his eyes, and with no loss of brightness; it was a human face
the face of Katharine Adare. A sudden terror seized the dreamer. He thought that he was going mad. His head was on fire and his pulses were throbbing. He got up suddenly and passed quickly out of the theatre into the outer air. The night was close and sultry. London had become suddenly insupportable. He remembered the river-side village of Sunleigh with a sharp sense of contrast. By the river he would be cool and calm again. Truly, the imp of restlessness, who had haunted this youth from his cradle, had sprung on a sudden into a full-sized demon. He could not stay. He might yet catch the last train to Sunleigh. He dashed at a hansom. He sprang up the stairs of his hotel, hastily filled a bag, scrawled his address on a piece of paper, and sped down again to the hall.
“Send my things after me to-morrow,” he said, thrusting his address and some money into the hand of the porter; and the bill. I can't stop now. I must catch the train.”
"I'll attend to it, sir,” said the porter, who was accustomed to eccentric departures; and added, “There has been a gentleman to see you, as said he'd call again, Mr Harefel.”
Irvine only half heard the name as he ordered his cabman to drive quick.
A few minutes later Ned Harefel returned to the botel, and asked if his cousin had come in Ee was alarmed by his departure. He dared Dot think what Irvine Dale might do under a sudden impulse.
"He looked uncommon wild," said the porter, whose monotonous duties were relieved by little excitement.
“Is there a train to-night for Sunleigh ?” asked Harelel
"Twelve o'clock. You might catch it,” said the porter, briefly.
Ned glanced at the clock, made a rapid calculation, and dashed out of the hotel He reached the station just in time to spring into a carriage as the train began to move. He saw a pair of burning eyes fastened on his face, and knew that he was alone with Irvine Dale for the first time since their bitter parting on the terrace by the river.