The fact may not be without interest that six months afterward “An Adventure in Stage-Land” was published by Messrs. Lash and Black, and met with a very considerable success. Mr. Arthur Rattray undertook its disposal, with the consent of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Bell, who insisted, without much difficulty, that he should receive a percentage of the profits for his trouble. Mr. Rattray was also of assistance to them when, as soon as the expense could be managed, these two middle-aged Americans, whose grief was not less impressive because of its twang, arrived in London to arrange that their daughter’s final resting-place should be changed to her native land. Mr. Bell told him in confidence that while he hoped he was entirely devoid of what you may call race prejudice against the English people, it didn’t, seem as if he could let anybody belonging to him lie under the British flag for all time, and found it a comfort that Rattray understood. Sparta is divided in its opinion whether the imposing red granite monument they erected in the cemetery, with plenty of space left for the final earthly record of Leslie and Margaret Bell, is not too expensive considering the Bells’ means, and too conspicuous considering the circumstances. It has hitherto occurred to nobody, however, to doubt the appropriateness of the texts inscribed upon it, in connection with three little French words which Elfrida, in the charmingly apologetic letter which she left for her parents, commanded to be put there—“Pas femme-artiste.” Janet, who once paid a visit to the place, hopes in all seriousness that the sleeper underneath is not aware of the combination.
Miss Kimpsey boards with the Bells now, and her relation to them has become almost daughterly. The three are swayed, to the extent of their several capacities, by what one might call a cult of Elfrida—her death has long ago been explained by the fact that a grandaunt of Mrs. Bell’s suffered from melancholia.
Mr. and Mrs, John Kendal’s delightful circle of friends say that they live an idyllic life in Devonshire. But even in the height of some domestic joy a silence sometimes falls between them still. Then, I fancy, he is thinking of an art that has slipped away from him, and she of a loyalty she could not hold. The only person whose equanimity is entirely undisturbed is Buddha. In his place among the mournful Magdalens of Mrs. Bell’s drawing-room in Sparta, Buddha still smiles.