“You think Miss Euclid ought to have the part,” he added quickly, before she could speak.
“Oh! I do!” cried Elsie, positively and eagerly. “Rose will do simply wonders with that part. You see she can speak verse. I can’t. I’m nobody. I only took it because—”
“Aren’t you anybody?” he contradicted. “Aren’t you anybody? I can just tell you—”
There he was again, bringing back the delicious terror! An astounding situation!
But the door creaked. The babble from the stage invaded the room. And in a second the enchantment was lifted from him. Several people entered. He sighed, saying within himself to the disturbers:
“I’d have given you a hundred pounds apiece if you’d been five minutes sooner.”
And yet simultaneously he regretted their arrival. And, more curious still, though he well remembered the warning words of Mr. Seven Sachs concerning Elsie April, he did not consider that they were justified.... She had not been a bit persuasive ... only....
He sat down to the pianisto with a strange and agreeable sense of security. It is true that, owing to the time of year, the drawing-room had been, in the figurative phrase, turned upside down by the process of spring-cleaning, which his unexpected arrival had surprised in fullest activity. But he did not mind that. He abode content among rolled carpets, a swathed chandelier, piled chairs, and walls full of pale rectangular spaces where pictures had been. Early that morning, after a brief night spent partly in bed and partly in erect contemplation of his immediate past and his immediate future, he had hurried back to his pianisto and his home—to the beings and things that he knew and that knew him.
In the train he had had the pleasure of reading in sundry newspapers that “The Orient Pearl,” by Carlo Trent (who was mentioned in terms of startling respect and admiration), had been performed on the previous evening at the dramatic soiree of the Azure Society, with all the usual accompaniments of secrecy and exclusiveness, in its private theatre in Kensington, and had been accepted on the spot by Mr. E.H. Machin ("that most enterprising and enlightened recruit to the ranks of theatrical managers”) for production at the new Regent Theatre. And further that Mr. Machin intended to open with it. And still further that his selection of such a play, which combined in the highest degree the poetry of Mr. W.B. Yeats with the critical intellectuality of Mr. Bernard Shaw, was an excellent augury for London’s dramatic future, and that the “upward movement” must on no account be thought to have failed because of the failure of certain recent ill-judged attempts, by persons who did not understand their business, to force it in particular directions. And still further that he, Edward Henry, had engaged for the principal part Miss Rose Euclid, perhaps the greatest