[Illustration: “Look there, Doris—you see that path? Let’s go on to the moor a little.”]
A Great Success
Mrs. Humphry Ward
Author of “Eltham House,” “Delia Blanchflower,” etc.
Hearst’s International Library Co.
“Arthur,—what did you give the man?”
“Half a crown, my dear! Now don’t make a fuss. I know exactly what you’re going to say!”
“Half a crown!” said Doris Meadows, in consternation. “The fare was one and twopence. Of course he thought you mad. But I’ll get it back!”
And she ran to the open window, crying “Hi!” to the driver of a taxi-cab, who, having put down his fares, was just on the point of starting from the door of the small semi-detached house in a South Kensington street, which owned Arthur and Doris Meadows for its master and mistress.
The driver turned at her call.
“Hi!—Stop! You’ve been over-paid!”
The man grinned all over, made her a low bow, and made off as fast as he could.
Arthur Meadows, behind her, went into a fit of laughter, and as his wife, discomfited, turned back into the room he threw a triumphant arm around her.
“I had to give him half a crown, dear, or burst. Just look at these letters—and you know what a post we had this morning! Now don’t bother about the taxi! What does it matter? Come and open the post.”
Whereupon Doris Meadows felt herself forcibly drawn down to a seat on the sofa beside her husband, who threw a bundle of letters upon his wife’s lap, and then turned eagerly to open others with which his own hands were full.
“H’m!—Two more publishers’ letters, asking for the book—don’t they wish they may get it! But I could have made a far better bargain if I’d only waited a fortnight. Just my luck! One—two—four—autograph fiends! The last—a lady, of course!—wants a page of the first lecture. Calm! Invitations from the Scottish Athenaeum—the Newcastle Academy—the Birmingham Literary Guild—the Glasgow Poetic Society—the ’British Philosophers’—the Dublin Dilettanti!—Heavens!—how many more! None of them offering cash, as far as I can see—only fame—pure and undefiled! Hullo!—that’s a compliment!—the Parnassians have put me on their Council. And last year, I was told, I couldn’t even get in as an ordinary member. Dash their impudence!... This is really astounding! What are yours, darling?”