“In view of what are now your very limited resources, I am sure dear mother, you will understand my unwillingness to make any additional drain upon them, as I should do if I followed your wishes and came home. I am convinced of my ability to support myself, and I am not coming home. To avoid giving you the pain of repeating your request, and the possibility of your sending me money which you cannot afford to spare, I have decided not to let you know my whereabouts until I can write to you that I am in an independent position. I will only say that I am leaving Paris, and that no letters sent to this address will be forwarded. I sincerely hope you will not allow yourself to be in any way anxious about me, for I assure you that there is not the slightest need. With much love to papa and yourself,
“Always your affectionate daughter,
“P.S.—I hope your
asthma has again succumbed
to Dr. Paley.”
There was a scraping and a stumbling sound in the second floor front bedroom of Mrs. Jordan’s lodgings in a by-way of Fleet Street, at two o’clock in the morning. It came up to Elfrida mixed with the rattle of a departing cab over the paving-stones below, outside where the fog was lifting and showing one street-lamp to another. Elfrida in her attic had been sitting above the fog all night; her single candle had not been obscured by it. The cab had been paid and the andirons were being disturbed by Mr. Golightly Ticke, returned from the Criterion Restaurant, where he had been supping with the leading lady of the Sparkle Company, at the leading, lady’s expense. She could afford it better than he could, she told him, and that was extremely true, for Mr. Ticke had his capacities for light comedy still largely to prove, while Mademoiselle Phyllis Fane had almost disestablished herself upon the stage, so long and so prosperously had she pirouetted there. Mr. Golightly Ticke’s case excited a degree of the large compassion which Mademoiselle Phyllis had for incipient genius of the interesting sex, and which served her instead of virtue of the more ordinary sort. He had a doable claim upon it, because, in addition to being tall and fair and misunderstood by most people, with a thin nose that went beautifully with a medieval costume, he was such a gentleman. Phyllis loosened her purse-strings instinctively, with genuine gratification, whenever this young man approached. She believed in him; he had ideas, she said, and she gave him more; in the end he would be sure to “catch on.” Through the invariable period of obscurity which comes before the appearance of any star, she was in the habit of stating that he would have no truer friend than Filly Fane. She “spoke to” the manager, she pointed out Mr. Ticke’s little parts to the more intimate of her friends of the press. She sent him delicate little presents of expensive cigars, scents, and soaps; she told him often that he would infallibly “get there.” The fact of his having paid his own cab-fare from the Criterion on this particular morning gave him, as he found his way upstairs, almost an injured feeling of independence.