“Did he mean us?” said the old lady nervously.
“No; that was one of his intervals. He’s not mad; he’s just crazy.”
“Is there any difference, my dear?”
“Why, we’re all crazy about something, you know; it’s only a question of what.”
“But what is his what?”
“He’s got a message. They’re in the air, you know.”
“I haven’t come across them,” said the old lady. “I fear I live a very quiet life—except for picking over sphagnum moss.”
“Oh, well! There’s no hurry.”
“Well, I shall tell my nephew what I’ve seen,” said the old lady. “Good-bye.”
“Good-bye,” responded the young; and, picking up her yellow book, she got back into the hammock and relighted her cigarette.
SEES AND EDITOR, AND FINDS A FARMER
Not for some days after his fall from the window did Mr. Lavender begin to regain the elasticity of body necessary to the resumption of public life. He spent the hours profitably, however, in digesting the newspapers and storing ardour. On Tuesday morning, remembering that no proof of his interview had yet been sent him, and feeling that he ought not to neglect so important a matter, he set forth to the office of the great journal from which, in the occult fashion of the faithful, he was convinced the reporter had come. While he was asking for the editor in the stony entrance, a young man who was passing looked at him attentively and said: “Ah, sir, here you are! He’s waiting for you. Come up, will you?”
Mr. Lavender followed up some stairs, greatly gratified at the thought that he was expected. The young man led him through one or two swing doors into an outer office, where a young woman was typing.
Mr. Lavender shook his head, and sat down on the edge of a green leather chair. The editor, resuming his seat, crossed his legs deferentially, and sinking his chin again on his chest, began:
“About your article. My only trouble, of course, is that I’m running that stunt on British prisoners—great success! You’ve seen it, I suppose?”
“Yes, indeed,” said Mr. Lavender; I read you every day.
The editor made a little movement which showed that he was flattered, and sinking his chin still further into his chest, resumed:
“It might run another week, or it might fall down to-morrow—you never can tell. But I’m getting lots of letters. Tremendous public interest.”
“Yes, yes,” assented Mr. Lavender, “it’s most important.”
“Of course, we might run yours with it,” said the editor. “But I don’t know; I think it’d kill the other. Still——”
“I shouldn’t like——” began Mr. Lavender.
“I don’t believe in giving them more than they want, you know,” resumed the editor. “I think I’ll have my news editor in,” and he blew into a tube. “Send me Mr. Crackamup. This thing of yours is very important, sir. Suppose we began to run it on Thursday. Yes, I should think they’ll be tired of British prisoners by then.”