“I’ve got to account to ’Ucks, if that’s what you mean,” Sam assented.
“The bill, Smiles, is the theatrical agent’s first thought; the beginning which is notoriously half the battle. For three-inch lettering—and to that I restricted myself—five shillings can only be called dirt cheap. Listen—”
PROFESSOR AND MADAME
OF THE LEADING LONDON THEATRES
THE WHOLE TO CONCLUDE
SIDE-SPLITTING DUOLOGUE ENTITLED,
‘COURTSHIP IN THE RAIN’
PASSION WITH REFINEMENT AND MIRTH WITHOUT VULGARITY
Reserved Seats, One Shilling.
Gallery (limited), Threepence only
DOORS OPEN AT 7.30; TO
COMMENCE AT 8.
CARRIAGES AT HALF-PAST TEN
“Why carriages?” asked Mr. Bossom.
“It’s the usual thing,” answered Mr. Mortimer.
“You bet it isn’t, at Tizzer’s Green. Well, the first job is breakfast, an’ after breakfast we’ll get Old Jubilee round by the footbridge an’ make shift to borrow a cart down at Ibbetson’s, for the scenery. You didn’ forget the bacon?”
Mr. Mortimer unwrapped a parcel of greasy paper and exhibited six slices.
“A Baconian—O, Shakespeare, forgive!” He said this in a highly jocular manner, and accompanied it with a wink at Tilda, who did not understand the allusion. But again she felt the child’s hand thrill and tremble, and turned about, eyeing him curiously. Her movement drew upon him the Mortimerian flow, ever ebullient and ever by trifles easily deflected.
“Yes, Arthur Miles—if I may trouble you to pass it down to the cook’s galley—thank you; these eggs too—be careful of them—Yes, we are bound for Stratford-on-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace!” Again he lifted and replaced his hat. “Enviable boy! What would young Stanislas Mortimer not have given at your age to set eyes on that Mecca! Yet, perchance, he may claim that he comes, though late, as no unworthy votary. A Passionate Pilgrim, shall we say? Believe me, it is in the light of a pilgrimage that I regard this—er—jaunt. Shall we dedicate it to youth, and name it Childe Arthur’s Pilgrimage?”
By this time smoke was issuing in a steady stream from the stove-pipe above the cabin-top, and presently from within came the hiss and fragrance of bacon frying. Sam Bossom had stepped ashore, and called to the children to help in collecting sticks and build a fire for the tea-kettle. Tilda, used though she was to nomad life, had never known so delightful a picnic. Only her eyes wandered back apprehensively, now and then, to the smoke of the great town. As for Arthur Miles—Childe Arthur, as Mr. Mortimer henceforth insisted on their calling him—he had apparently cast away all dread of pursuit. Once, inhaling the smell of the wood fire, he even