Doria, I say, with beaver cocked and plumes ruffled, intent on striking terror into the heart of Wittekind, presented herself in the outer office and sent in her card. At the name of Mrs. Adrian Boldero, doors flew open, and Doria marched straight away into Wittekind’s comfortably furnished private room. Wittekind himself, tall, loose-limbed, courteous, the least tradesman-like person you can imagine, rose to receive her. For some reason or the other, or more likely against reason, she had pictured a rather soapy, smug little man hiding crafty eyes behind spectacles; but here he was, obviously a man of good breeding, who smiled at her most charmingly and gave her to understand that she was the one person in the world whom he had been longing to meet. And the office was not a sort of human charcuterie hung round with brains of authors for sale, but a quiet, restful place to which valuable prints on the walls and a few bits of real Chippendale gave an air of distinction. Doria admits to being disconcerted. She had come to bite and she remained to smile. He seated her in a nice old armchair with a beautiful back—she was sensitive to such things—and spoke of Adrian as of his own blood brother. She had not anticipated such warmth of genuine feeling, or so fine an appreciation of her Adrian’s work.
“Believe me, my dear Mrs. Boldero,” said he, “I am second only to you in my admiration and grief, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to keep your husband’s memory green. But it is green, thank goodness. How do I know? By two signs. One that people wherever the English language is spoken are eagerly reading his books—I say reading, because you deprecate the purely commercial side of things; but you must forgive me if I say that the only proof of all their reading is the record of all their buying. And when people buy and read an author to this prodigious extent, they also discuss him. Adrian Boldero’s name is a household word. You want advertisement and an edition de luxe. But it is only the little man that needs the big drum.”