She hesitated before she wrote. Should she write “The Editor” only, or “George Alfred Curtis, Esq.,” first, which would attract his attention, perhaps, as coming from somebody who knew his name. She had a right to know his name, she told herself; she had met him once in the happy Paris days. Kendal bad introduced him to her, in a brief encounter at the Salon, and she remembered the appreciativeness of the glance that accompanied the stout middle-aged English gentleman’s bow. Kendal had told her then that Mr. Curtis was the editor of the Consul. Yes, she had a right to know his name. And it might make the faintest shadow of a difference—but no, “The Editor” was more dignified, more impersonal; her article should go in upon its own merits, absolutely upon its own merits; and so she wrote.
It was nearly three o’clock, and cold, shivering cold. Mr. Golightly Ticke had wholly subsided. The fog had climbed up to her, and the candle showed it clinging to the corners of the room. The water in the samovar was hissing. Elfrida warmed her hands upon the cylinder and made herself some tea. With it she disposed of a great many sweet biscuits from the biscuit box, and thereafter lighted a cigarette. As she smoked she re-read an old letter, a long letter in a flowing foreign hand, written from among the haymakers at Barbizon, that exhaled a delicate perfume. Elfrida had read it thrice for comfort in the afternoon; now she tasted it, sipping here and there with long enjoyment of its deliciousness. She kissed it as she folded it up, with the silent thought that this was the breath of her life, and soon—oh, passably soon—she could bear the genius in Nadie’s eyes again.
Then she went to bed. “You little brute,” she said to Buddha, who still smiled as she blew out the candle, “can’t you forget it?”
Miss Bell arose late the next morning, which was not unusual. Mrs. Jordan had knocked three times vainly, and then left the young lady’s chop and coffee outside the door on the landing. If she would ’ave it cold, Mrs. Jordan reasoned, she would, and more warnin’ than knockin’ three times no livin’ bean could expect Mrs. Jordan went downstairs uneasy in her mind, however. The matter of Miss Bell’s breakfast generally left her uneasy in her mind. It was not in reason, Mrs. Jordan thought, that a young littery lady should keep that close, for Elfrida’s custom of having her breakfast deposited outside her door was as invariable as it was perplexing. Miss Bell was as charming to her land-lady as she was to everybody else, but Mrs. Jordan found a polite pleasantness that permitted no opportunity for expansion whatever more stimulating to the curiosity and irritating to the mind generally than the worst of bad manners would have been. That was the reason she knocked three times when she brought up Miss Bell’s breakfast. At Mr. Ticke’s door she wrapped once, and cursorily