“And how wonderful even to have something written to one like that!”
“Surely that must have happened to you,” said Henry, slyly.
“You’re only laughing at me.”
“No, I’m not. You don’t know what may have been written to you. Poems may quite well have been written to you without your having heard of them. The poet mayn’t have thought them worthy of you.”
“What nonsense! Why, I don’t know any poets!”
“Oh!” said Henry.
“I mean, except you.”
“And how do you know that I haven’t written a whole book full of poems to you? I’ve known you—how long now?”
“Two months next Monday,” said Angel, with that chronological accuracy on such matters which seems to be a special gift of women in love. Men in love are nothing like so accurate.
“Well, that’s long enough, isn’t it? And I’ve had nothing else to do, you know.”
“But you don’t care enough about me?”
“You never know.”
“But tell me really, have you written something for me?”
“Ah, you’d like to know now, wouldn’t you?”
“Of course I would. Tell me. It would make me very happy.”
“It really would?”
“You know it would.”
“But you couldn’t care for the poetry, unless you cared for the poet?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Poetry’s poetry, isn’t it, whoever makes it? But what if I did care a little for the poet?”
“Do you mean you do, Angel?”
“Ah, you want to know now, don’t you?”
“Tell me. Do tell me.”
“I’ll tell you when you read me my poem,” and as Angel prepared to run off with a laugh, Henry called after her,—
“You will really? It’s a bargain?”
“Yes, it’s a bargain,” she called back, as she tripped off again down the yard.
* * * * *
Mike’s debut was as great a success as so small a part could make it; and the main point about it was the excitement of knowing that this was an actual beginning. He had made them all laugh and cry in drawing-rooms for ever so long; but to-night he was on the stage, the real stage—real, at all events, for him, for Mike could never be an amateur. Esther’s eyes filled with glad tears as the well-loved little figure popped in, with a baker’s paper hat on his head, and delivered the absurd words; and if you had looked at Henry’s face too, you would have been at a loss to know which loved the little pastry-cook’s boy best.
When Mike returned to his dressing-room, a mysterious box was awaiting him. He opened it, and found Esther’s wreath and Henry’s sonnet.
“God bless them,” he said.
No doubt it was very childish and sentimental, and old-fashioned; but these young people certainly loved each other.
As Mike had left the stage, Henry had turned round and smiled at some one a few seats away. Esther had noticed him, and looked in the same direction.