He was gone from the room before she could really answer him. She sat there on the trunk, wide-eyed, but blind to the things about her, until the call for her second performance roused her.
The applause was as generous as usual but it had lost flavor. Springfield! A world tour! Was she dreaming?
When she went back to her dressing room, John Higgins was waiting.
"What did he want, Mary?" he asked quickly. "He said that he was a concert manager. Does he want you to work for him?"
"Yes, he said that I was a good player. He said that I might have an engagement with one of his bands, making a world tour. I'm going to play at a concert for him next Sunday, the twelfth--to try me out.
For a minute the man did not answer. From out of doors came the faint sound of sleighbells as some of the audience drove homeward.
It--it's mighty fine for you, Mary," he said slowly, "but you'll never get any better friends--any folks that like you more than we do."
"I know," she answered him quickly, still it's my chance, and after all, I'd never get any more money than I'm earning now as long as I play in these small towns."
"Money! It don't seem right for you to have to be earning money--why--"
"I know," she interrupted him, "I know that you have this theater and there's the farm that has been such a paying proposition but, John!" a sudden tenderness came into her voice, "I love to play. When I came past the front of the theater tonight and saw that billing, The Princess of the Violin, it seemed to have made up for all the rough places I have traveled. I've been very happy playing here in the small towns but now I want my chance to be great. We can always be wonderful friends, can't we John?"
To be continued...