And now he gazed through the peep-hole of the curtain upon a crammed and half-delirious auditorium. The assistant stage-manager ordered him off. The curtain went up on the drama in hexameters. He waited in the wings, and spoke soothingly to Isabel Joy, who, looking juvenile in the airy costume of the Messenger, stood flutteringly agog for her cue.... He heard the thunderous crashing roar that met her entrance. He did not hear her line. He walked forth to the glazed balcony at the front of the house, where in the entr’actes dandies smoked cigarettes baptized with girlish names. He could see Piccadilly Circus, and he saw Piccadilly Circus thronged with a multitude of loafers who were happy in the mere spectacle of Isabel Joy’s name glowing on an electric sign. He went back at last to the managerial room. Marrier was there, hero-worshipping.
“Got the figures yet?” he asked.
“Two hundred and sixty pounds. As long as it keeps up it means a profit of getting on for two hundred a naight!”
“But, dash it, man, the house only holds two hundred and thirty.”
“But my good sir,” said Marrier, “they’re paying ten shillings a piece to stand up in the dress-circle.”
Edward Henry dropped into a chair at the desk. A telegram was lying there, addressed to himself.
“What’s this?” he demanded.
He opened it and read:
* * * * *
“I absolutely forbid this monstrous outrage on a work of art.—TRENT.”
* * * * *
“Bit late in the day, isn’t he?” said Edward Henry, showing the telegram to Marrier.
“Besides,” Marrier observed, “he’ll come round when he knows what his royalties are.”
“Well,” said Edward Henry, “I’m going to bed.” And he gave a devastating yawn.
One afternoon Edward Henry sat in the king of all the easy-chairs in the drawing-room of his house in Trafalgar Road, Bursley. Although the month was September, and the weather warm even for September, a swansdown quilt lay spread upon his knees. His face was pale—his hands were paler; but his eye was clear and his visage enlightened. His beard had grown to nearly its original dimensions. On a chair by his side were a number of letters to which he had just dictated answers. At a neighbouring table a young clerk was using a typewriter. Stretched