Then Mr. Leith was of a convivial disposition; and Henry and he must have spent more hours drinking to the success of the little book than would have sufficed to print it twice over. However, the day did at last come when it was a living, breathing reality, and when Angel and Henry sat with tears of joy over the little new-born “Book of Angelica.” Was it not, they told each other, the little spirit-child of their love? How wonderful it all was! How wonderful their future was going to be!
“What does it feel like?” said Henry, playfully recalling their old talk, “to have a book written all about one’s self?”
“It is to feel the happiest and proudest girl in the world.”
That all the other young people were hardly less happy and excited about the little book goes without saying. Mike spent quite a large sum in copies, and for a while employed his luncheon-hour in asking at book-shops with a nonchalant air, as though he had barely heard of the author, if they sold a little book called “The Book of Angelica.” Mrs. Mesurier seemed to see her faith in her boy beginning to be justified; and when James Mesurier opened his local paper one morning, and found a long and appreciative article on a certain “fellow-townsman,” he cut it out to paste in his diary. Perhaps the lad would prove right, after all.
WHAT COMES OF PUBLISHING A BOOK
It is only just to Tyre to acknowledge that it behaved quite sympathetically towards the young poet thus discovered in its midst. Its newspapers reviewed him with marked kindness,—a kindness which in a few years’ time, when he had long since grown out of his baby volume, he was obliged to set to the credit of the general goodness of human nature, rather than to the poetic quality of his own verses. In many unexpected quarters also he met with recognition which, if not always intelligent, was at least gratifying. For praise, or at least some form of notice, is breath in the nostrils of the young poet. He hungers to feel that his personality counts for something, though it be merely to anger his fellow-men. It was perhaps no very culpable vanity on his part to be pleased that people began to point him out in the streets, and whisper that that was the young poet; and that distant acquaintances seemed more ready to smile at him than before. Now and again one of these would stop him to say how pleased he had been to see the kind article about him in The Tyrian Daily Mail, and that he intended to buy “the work” as soon as possible. Henry smiled to himself, to hear his frail little flower of a volume spoken of as a “work,” as though it had been the Encyclopaedia Britannica; and he rather wondered what that would-be purchaser would make of it, as he turned over pages of which so large a proportion was reserved for a spotless frame of margin. No doubt he would decide that the margin had been left for the purpose of making notes,—making notes on those abstruse rose-petals of boyish song!