“Splendid!” she exclaimed. “Splendid!”
Edward Henry read: “Released. Isabel.”
“What does it mean?”
“It’s from Isabel Joy—at Marseilles.”
Edward Henry’s ignorance of affairs round about the centre of the universe was occasionally distressing—to himself in particular. And just now he gravely blamed Mr. Marrier, who had neglected to post him about Isabel Joy. But how could Marrier honestly earn his three pounds a week if he was occupied night and day with the organizing and management of these precious dramatic soirees? Edward Henry decided that he must give Mr. Marrier a piece of his mind at the first opportunity.
“Don’t you know?” questioned the dame.
“How should I?” he parried. “I’m only a provincial.”
“But surely,” pursued the dame, “you knew we’d sent her round the world. She started on the Kandahar, the ship that you stopped Sir John Pilgrim from taking. She almost atoned for his absence at Tilbury. Twenty-five reporters, anyway!”
Edward Henry sharply slapped his thigh, which in the Five Towns signifies: “I shall forget my own name next.”
Of course! Isabel Joy was the advertising emissary of the Militant Suffragette Society, sent forth to hold a public meeting and make a speech in the principal ports of the world. She had guaranteed to circuit the globe and to be back in London within a hundred days, to speak in at least five languages, and to get herself arrested at least three times en route.... Of course! Isabel Joy had possessed a very fair share of the newspapers on the day before the stone-laying, but Edward Henry had naturally had too many preoccupations to follow her exploits. After all, his momentary forgetfulness was rather excusable.
“She’s made a superb beginning!” said the resplendent dame, taking the telegram from Edward Henry and inducting it into another row. “And before three months are out she’ll be the talk of the entire earth. You’ll see!”
“Is everybody a suffragette here?” asked Edward Henry, simply, as his eyes witnessed the satisfaction spread by the voyaging telegram....
“Practically,” said the dame. “These things always go hand in hand,” she added in a deep tone.
“What things?” the provincial demanded.
But just then the curtain rose on the second act.
“Won’t you cam up to Miss April’s dressing-room?” said Mr. Harrier, who in the midst of the fulminating applause after the second act seemed to be inexplicably standing over him, having appeared in an instant out of nowhere like a genie.