"I guess you can do it!" Helm said bluntly. "Goodnight! I'll call you in the morning."
It was several minutes before she moved. She stood there, thinking, thinking, her brain almost numbed by the glory that had befallen her. This had been her day of days!
When she went back to her hotel she sent half a dozen telegrams, each one cancelling an engagement to play in a small town. Mary Jennings told herself that these telegrams were the knives that cut her free for a wonderful world wide experience.
It was hours before she slept and from a fitful slumber her telephone rudely aroused her. It was a telegram from John Higgins.
Cannot release you from engagement Christmas Day. Have made all preparations for gala performance. Will release you all the rest of the week.
The message angered her. How dare he! When Helm later called her on the telephone, she told him of Higgins' message.
"Did you sign any kind of contract with him?"
"Yes, a little slip of paper."
"H-m! That probably constitutes a contract. Perhaps I can buy him off."
Mary Jennings said that she hoped that it would be possible.
"Well, don't worry about it," Helm assured her. "I've got a lot of work for you to do. I've just had word that Albrie, who's been playing in a concert town with a pianist, and Madame Shavet, the soprano, has been taken sick. I want you to fill in his dates for a few days. Can you start this afternoon?
Could she start? She could have been ready in twenty minutes!
It was ten days before she returned to Springfield and Carl Helm's office. She had not heard from him for several days and was anxious as to whether she was to start for Chicago at once, or if by any strange chance, she would be forced to play the Christmas date at Thompsonville.
To be continued...