“Oh, in Peterson’s, or the London Magazine, or Piccadilly.”
It was in the library after dinner, and Lawrence Cardiff was smoking. He took the slender stem of his pipe from his lips and pressed down the tobacco in the bowl with a, caressing thumb, looking appreciatively, as he did it, at the mocking buffoon’s face that was carved on it.
“It seems to me that you are the influential person in those quarters,” he said, with the smile that Janet privately thought the most delightfully sympathetic she knew.
“Oh, I’m not really!” the girl answered quickly; “and besides—” she hesitated, to pick words that would hurt her as little as possible—“besides, Frida wouldn’t care about my doing it.”
“I don’t know quite why. But she wouldn’t—it’s of no use. I don’t think she likes having things done for her by people anything like her own age, and—and standing.”
Cardiff smiled inwardly at this small insincerity. Janet’s relation with Elfrida was a growing pleasure to him. He found himself doing little things to enhance it, and fancying himself in some way connected with its initiation.
“But I’m almost certain she would let you do it,” his daughter urged.
“In loco parentis,” Cardiff smiled, and immediately found that the words left an unpleasant taste in his mouth. “But I’m not at all sure that she could do anything they would take.”
“My dear daddy!” cried Janet resentfully. “Wait till she tries! You said yourself that some of those scraps she sent us in Scotland were delicious.”
“So they were. She has a curious, prismatic kind of mind—”
“Soul, if you like. It reflects quite wonderfully, the angles at which it finds itself with the world are so unusual. But I doubt her power, you know, of construction or cohesion, or anything of that kind.”
“I don’t,” Janet returned confidently. “But talk to her about it, daddy; get her to show you what she’s done—I never see a line till it’s in print. And—I don’t know anything about it, you know. Above all things, don’t let her guess that I suggested it.”
“I’ll see what can be done,” Mr. Cardiff returned, “though I profess myself faithless. Elfrida wasn’t designed to please the public of the magazines—in England.”
When Janet reflected afterward upon what had struck her as being odd about this remark of her father’s, she found it was Elfrida’s name. It seemed to have escaped him; he had never referred to her in that way before—which was a wonder, Janet assured herself, considering how constantly he heard it from her lips.
“How does the novel come on?” Mr. Cardiff asked before she went to bed that night. “When am I to be allowed to see the proofs?”
“I finished the nineteenth chapter yesterday,” Janet answered, flushing. “It will only run to about twenty-three. It’s a very little one, daddy.”