“Well, Miss Mainwaring, the facts are these—yes, I fear it is a question of money, after all. The Joy-bell is a new magazine; we are most anxious to extend its circulation by every means in our power. We have hit on what we consider a novel, but effective expedient. Each contributor to our pages is expected to subscribe for a hundred copies per month of our magazine—these copies he is asked to disseminate as widely as possible amongst his friends. The magazine is only sixpence a month. Of course you get your friends to take the copies off your hands. Your story will, I think, run for six months—you are really put to no expense, for, of course, you must know a hundred people who will gladly take a magazine in which you appear. Thus you gain the advantage of having your story widely read and published not at your own expense.”
“But please—” began Jasmine.
“If I might speak who am brought here for the purpose,” here burst from Poppy, “what pay is the young lady to have for the words of genius that she has wrote upon the paper? Yes, Miss Jasmine, you said I was to let my voice be heard here—I’m not afraid, not of nobody, and here, I puts down my foot, and I says, ‘What’s the pay?’”
“The pay?” echoed the editor. “Surely the young lady does not expect to be paid for anything so very amateur—no, she cannot expect to be paid in money—in another way she is paid, and largely; she obtains a reputation, and what immature talent she has is brought to the fore! I am afraid, Miss Mainwaring, I must not take up any more of your valuable time—I think I have explained myself quite clearly—do you accept my offer? If you are willing to become a subscriber for one hundred copies monthly of The Joy-bell your story shall appear; if not, I must return you your MS. with regret.”
Poor Jasmine’s white little face grew piteous.
“Oh, Poppy!” she began.
“Do you want it, Miss Jasmine?” said Poppy. “I calls it a cheat; but do you want it?”
“Oh, dear Poppy, I thought my words would look so lovely in Print—I am disappointed!”
“Then you shan’t be, Miss Jasmine, darling. Here, sir, you’re another of the Aunt Flint tribe, but my darling Miss Jasmine shall not look as she does now if I can prevent it. Please, sir, will you look in this here little purse given to you by the honest hand of toil, and see if it contains the price of a hundred of those nasty Joy-bells. There’s my three months’ wage in that purse, sir, so I expect it will prove sufficient.”
The editor opened the little purse gingerly.
“Do you wish your friend to subscribe for you?” he asked, looking at Jasmine. “I will allow you to have the first instalment at a reduction. The full price for a hundred copies of The Joy-bell at sixpence a copy will be, of course, fifty shillings. On this occasion you shall have these delivered to you at your residence for forty-five shillings.”