“The next move will be to London, old fellow,” he said; “and then you’ll soon see my prophecies come true. My opinion mayn’t be worth much, but you know what it is. You’ll be a great writer some day, never fear.”
“Thank you, dear old boy. And you know what I think about your acting, don’t you?”
Then it was that Esther appeared, and Henry made some transparent excuse to leave them awhile together.
“You dear old thing,” said Esther, kissing him, “now don’t stay away too long.”
Of the love of Esther and Mike, and
the Mesurier law in regard to
I’m afraid Esther was little more than fourteen when she had first seen and fallen in love with Mike. She had heard much of him from her brother; but, for one reason or another, he had never been to the house. One evening, however, at a concert, Henry had told her to look in a certain direction and she would see Mike.
“I don’t suppose you’ll call him good looking,” he said.
So Esther had looked round, and seen the pretty curly red hair and the eager little wistful humorous face for the first time.
“Why, he’s got a lovely little face!” she said, blushing deeply for no reason at all,—except perhaps that there had seemed something pleading and shelter-seeking in that little face, something that cried out to be “mothered,” and that instantly there had welled up in her heart a great warm wish that some day she might be that for it and more.
And at the same instant it had occurred to the boy, that the face thus turned to him for a moment was the loveliest face he had ever seen, the only lovely face he would ever care to see. But with that thought, too, had come a curious pang of hopelessness into his heart. For Esther Mesurier was one of those girls who are the prizes of men. With all those pretty tall fellows about her, it was unlikely indeed that she would care for a little red-headed, face-pulling ragamuffin like him! And yet if she never could care for him,—never, never at all, what a lonely place the world would be!
When, after the concert, Henry looked round to introduce Mike to his sister, he had somehow slipped away and was nowhere to be seen.
However, it was not long after this that Mike paid a visit to Henry’s study one evening, and, coming ostensibly to look at his books, once more saw his sister, and spoke to her a brief introductory word. His interest in literature became positively remarkable from this time; and the enthusiasm with which his actor’s mind reflected, and, no doubt in all good faith, mimicked the various philosophical and literary enthusiasms of his friend, was, though neither realised it, a sure earnest of his future. More and more frequent visits to that study became necessary for its gratification; and, in the course of one of