“Wait,” said I, and I read—
“—poor Prescott’s wife. I don’t think you ever knew Prescott, but he was a good sort. He died of typhoid. Only quaggas and yaks and other iron-gutted creatures like myself can stand Albania. I’m escorting her to England, so look out for us. How’s everybody? Do you ever hear of Adrian? If so, collar him. I want to work the widow off on him. She has a goodish deal of money and is a kind of human dynamo. The best thing in the world for Adrian.”
Adrian confounded the fellow. I continued—
for the Dynamic Widow. Love to Barbara, the fairy
Susan Freeth. The last time he saw her, she was
hopping about in a green jumper—Barbara would give you the
elementary costume’s commercial name.”
yourself,” I read. “By the way, do
you know of a
granite-built, iron-gated, portcullised, barbicaned, really
comfortable home for widows?
Without waiting for comment from Adrian, I went with the letter into the drawing room, he following. I handed it to Barbara, who ran it through.
“That’s just like Jaffery. He tells us nothing.”
“I think he has told us everything,” said I.
“But who and what and whence is this lady?”
“Goodness knows!” said I.
“Therefore, he has told us nothing,” retorted Barbara. “My own belief is that she’s a Brazilian.”
“But what,” asked Adrian, “would a lone Brazilian female be doing in the Balkans?”
“Looking for a husband, of course,” said Barbara.
And like all wise men when staggered by serene feminine asseveration we bowed our heads and agreed that nothing could be more obvious.
Some weeks passed; but we heard no more of Jaffery Chayne. If he had planted his widow there, in Cettinje, and gone off to Central Africa we should not have been surprised. On the other hand, he might have walked in at any minute, just as though he lived round the corner and had dropped in casually to see us.
In the meantime events had moved rapidly for Adrian. Everybody was talking about his book; everybody was buying it. The rare phenomenon of the instantaneous success of a first book by an unknown author was occurring also in America. Golden opinions were being backed by golden cash. Adrian continued to draw on his publishers, who, fortunately for them, had an American house. Anticipating possible alluring proposals from other publishers, they offered what to him were dazzling and fantastic terms for his next two novels. He accepted. He went about the world wearing Fortune like a halo. He achieved sudden fame; fame so widespread that Mr. Jornicroft heard of it in the city, where he promoted (and still promotes)