“Rice,” he said abruptly, “about that young fellow you brought to see me to-day—”
Rice looked his chief full in the face.
“Well?” he said simply.
“I don’t want to altogether lose sight of him. You haven’t his address by any chance, have you?”
“I only wish I had,” Rice answered shortly. “May be there by now.”
He pointed out of the window to where the Thames, black and sullen, but lit with a thousand fitful lights, flowed sullenly seaward. Drexley shuddered.
“Don’t talk rot, Rice,” he said.
“Oh, I don’t know,” the younger man answered. “You gave him a knockdown blow, and an unexpected one.
“I was sorry,” Drexley said, awkwardly. “In the conduct of the magazine I have to sometimes consider other people. I am not wholly my own master.”
Rice, who knew who the “other people” were, muttered a curse between his teeth. Drexley turned frowning away.
“At any rate, if you hear anything of him,” he said, “let me know.”
“Does the Countess de Reuss intend to be kind to him?” Rice asked.
“Go to the devil!” Drexley answered savagely.
Douglas guest gets his “Chance”
There followed a time then when the black waters of nethermost London closed over Douglas’s head. He struggled and fought to the last gasp, but in the end the great stream carried him away on her bosom, and with scarcely a sob he watched all those wonderful rose-coloured dreams of his fade away into empty space. He was one of the flotsam and jetsam of life. No one would have the work of his brains, and his unskilled hands failed to earn anything for him save a few dry crusts. He had made desperate efforts to win a hearing. Whilst his few pence lasted, and his inkpot was full, he wrote several short stories, and left them here and there at the offices of various magazines. He had no permanent address, he would call for the reply, he said; and so he did, till his coat burst at the seams and his boots gave out. Then he gave it up in despair. It was his work that was wrong, he told himself. What had seemed well enough to him amongst the Cumberland hills was crude and amateurish here. He was a fool ever to have reckoned himself a writer. It was the Ibex which had misled him. He cursed the Ibex, its editor, and all connected with it. That was at the time when he had sunk lowest, when it seemed to him, who, only a few days ago, had looked out upon life a marvellous panorama of life and colour and things beautiful, that death after all was the one thing to be desired. Yet he carried himself bravely through those evil days. Every morning he stripped and swam in the Serpentine, stiff enough often after a night spent out of doors, but ever with that vigorous desire for personal cleanliness which never left him even at the worst. As soon as his