Page:The Romance of Isabel, Lady Burton.djvu/795
The Tinkling of the Camel's Bell
"I finished the book last night, and have never left Mortlake. It has taken me eight months. I hope it will be out the end of May. I do not know if I can harden my heart against the curs, but I can put out my tongue and point my pen and play pussy cat about their eyes and ears. I am to have six months' rest, but you know what that means."
Lady Burton received a substantial sum from the publishers for the book, and it was published in May. The success which it achieved was immediate and unqualified, and, what is more, deserved, for with all its faults it is a great book—the last great work in the life of the woman who never thought of self, and her supreme achievement to raise aloft her husband's name. Its success was very grateful to Lady Burton's heart, not on her own account, but her husband's; in fact, it may be said to have gilded with brightness the last years of her life. She felt now that her work was done and that nothing remained. She wrote to a friend early in the New Year (1894):
"I have had my head quite turned by the great success of my book. First came about a hundred half-nasty, or wholly nasty, critiques; then the book made its way. I had three leading articles, over a thousand charming reviews, and have been inundated with the loveliest letters and invitations. . . . With my earnings I am embellishing his mausoleum, and am putting up in honour of his poem, Kasidah, festoons
- Burton's enemies.
- Letter to Miss Bishop from Mortlake, March 25, 1893.
- Letter to Madame de Gutmansthal-Benvenuti, January 10, 1894.