ging for the theatre is stronger than I can tell. I believe that if papa had refused his permission, it would have made me unhappy and that I should have fallen ill and pined away. You remember how, about a year ago, I almost died of anaemia and consumption. Really, mother dear, my illness was simply caused by my overstrung nerves. I had often heard papa express his disapproval of the theatre; and you, you remember, said one day, in reference to the suicide of a well-known actress, 'Ah, her poor mother, God keep me from seeing my daughter on the stage!'"
Madame Darbois was silent for a moment; then two tears rolled quietly from beneath her eyelids and a little sob escaped her.
"Ah! mama, mama," cried Esperance, "have pity, don't let me see you suffer so. I feared it; I did not want to be sure of it. I am an ungrateful daughter. You love me so much! You have indulged me so! I ought to give in. I can not, and your grief will kill me. I suffered so yesterday, out driving, feeling papa so far away.