“Going away,” she repeated, smiling up at him; “not for long, I hope. Where are you going now?”
“I’m going to London,” he said. “They cabled me this morning. It seems they’ve taken the play, and are going to put it on at once.” He smiled, and blushed slightly at her exclamation of pleasure. “Yes, it is rather nice. It seems ‘Jilted’ was a failure, and they’ve taken it off, and are going to put on ‘School,’ with the old cast, until they can get my play rehearsed, and they want me to come over and suggest things.”
She stopped him with another little cry of delight that was very sweet to him, and full of moment.
“Oh, how glad I am!” she said. “How proud you must be! Now, why do you pretend you are not? And I suppose Tree and the rest of them will be in the cast, and all that dreadful American colony in the stalls, and you will make a speech—and I won’t be there to hear it.” She rose suddenly with a quick, graceful movement, and held out her hand to him, which he took, laughing and conscious-looking with pleasure.
She sank back on the divan, and shook her head doubtfully at him. “When will you stop?” she said. “Don’t tell me you mean to be an Admirable Crichton. You are too fine for that.”
He looked down at the fire, and said, slowly, “It is not as if I were trying my hand at an entirely different kind of work. No, I don’t think I did wrong in dramatizing it. The papers all said, when the book first came out, that it would make a good play; and then so many men wrote to me for permission to dramatize it that I thought I might as well try to do it myself. No, I think it is in line with my other work. I don’t think I am straying after strange gods.”
“You should not,” she said, softly. “The old ones have been so kind to you. But you took me too seriously,” she added.
“I am afraid sometimes,” he answered, “that you do not know how seriously I do take you.”
“Yes, I do,” she said, quickly. “And when I am serious, that is all very well; but to-night I only want to laugh. I am very happy, it is such good news. And after the New York managers refusing it, too. They will have to take it now, now that it is a London success.”
“Well, it isn’t a London success yet,” he said, dryly. “The books went well over there because the kind of Western things I wrote about met their ideas of this country—cowboys and prairies and Indian maidens and all that. And so I rather hope the play will suit them for the same reason.”
“And you will go out a great deal, I hope,” she said. “Oh, you will have to! You will find so many people to like, almost friends already. They were talking about you even when I was there, and I used to shine in reflected glory because I knew you.”
“Yes, I can fancy it,” he said. “But I should like to see something of them if I have time. Lowes wants me to stay with them, and I suppose I will. He would feel hurt if I didn’t. He has a most absurd idea of what I did for him on the ranche when he had the fever that time, and ever since he went back to enjoy his ill-gotten gains and his title and all that, he has kept writing to me to come out. Yes, I suppose I will stay with them. They are in town now.”