Page:Twilight.djvu/164

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156
TWILIGHT

she craved. She broke down quickly,—had not the health, so the doctors said, for her chosen profession. They said her heart was weak, and that she was anæmic. So father and stepmother brought her back to England, and installed her as the centre of interest in the big house in Queen Anne's Gate.

At eighteen she published her first novel, at her father's expense. It was new in method and tone. Word was sent round by the publisher that the authoress was a young and beautiful American heiress, and the result was quite an extraordinary little success.

The Lady Mayoress presented her to her Sovereign, after which the social atmosphere of the house quickly changed. Margaret began to understand, and act. Into the thick coagulated stream of city folk for whom the new Mrs. Rysam had an indefinable respect there meandered journalists, actors, painters, musicians. The whole tone of the house unconsciously but quickly altered. Culture was now the watchword. Money, no longer a topic of conversation, was nevertheless permitted to minister to the creature comfort of men and women of distinction in art and letters. The two elderly people accustomed themselves easily to the change, they were of the non-resistant type, and Margaret led them. When in her twentieth year her first play was produced at a West End theatre, and she came before the curtain to bow her acknowledgment