Three days afterward the Illustrated Age published a review of “John Camberwell” which brought an agreeable perplexity to Messrs. Lash and Black. It was too good to compress, and their usual advertising space would not contain it all. It was almost passionately appreciative; here and there the effect of criticism was obviously marred by the desire of the writer to let no point of beauty or of value escape divination. Quotations from the book were culled like flowers, with a delicate hand; and there was conspicuous care in the avoidance of any phrase that was hackneyed, any line of criticism that custom had impoverished. It seemed that the writer fashioned a tribute, and strove to make it perfect in every way. And so perfect it was, so cunningly devised and gracefully expressed, with such a self-conscious beauty of word and thought, that its extravagance went unsuspected, and the interest it provoked was its own.
Janet read the review in glow of remorseful affection. She was appealed to less by the exquisite manipulation with which the phrases strove to say the most and the best, than by the loyal haste to praise she saw behind, them, and she forgave their lack of blame in the happy belief that Elfrida had not the heart for it. She was not in the least angry that her friend should have done her the injustice of what would have been, less adroitly managed, indiscriminate praise; in fact, she hardly thought of the value of the critique at all, so absorbed was she in the sweet sense of the impulse that made Elfrida write it. To Janet’s quick forgiveness it made up for everything; indeed, she found in it a scourge for her anger, for her resentment. Elfrida might do what she pleased, Janet would never cavil again; she was sure now of some real possession in her friend. But she longed to see Elfrida, to assure herself of the warm verity of this. Besides, she wanted to feel her work in her friend’s presence, to extract the censure that was due, to take the essence of praise from her eyes and voice and hand. But she would wait. She had still no right to know that Elfrida had returned, and an odd sensitiveness prevented her from driving instantly to Essex Court to ask.
The next day passed, and the next. Lawrence Cardiff found no reason to share his daughter’s scruples, and went twice, to meet Mrs. Jordan on the threshold with the implacable statement that Miss Bell had returned but was not at home. He found it impossible to mention Elfrida to Janet now.
John Kendal had gone back to Devonshire to look after the thinning of a bit of his woodlands—one thing after another claimed his attention there. Janet had a gay note from him now and then, always en camarade, in which he deplored himself in the character of an intelligent land-owner, but in which she detected also a growing interest and satisfaction in all that he was finding to do. Janet saw it always with a throb of pleasure; his art was much