Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/180

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The Dedication

Lucy.[Looks over his shoulder and reads.]"To my Lady Luce." Oh, Harold, you have dedicated it to me!

Harold.Who else could I dedicate it to? although 'tis—

"Not so much honouring thee,
As giving it a hope that now
It may immortal be."

Lucy.It is good of you.

Harold.[Writes again.]"Harold Sekbourne"—what's to-day?—oh, yes, "3rd November, 1863."

Lucy.And will people know who the "Lady Luce" is?

Harold.They will some day. The dedication in my next book shall be "To my Lady Wife."

Lucy.I wonder if I shall ever be that. It seems so long coming.

Harold.I don't mind when it is—to-morrow, if you like.

Lucy.Don't talk nonsense, although it is my fault for beginning it. And now sit down—no, here in the arm-chair—and you shall have some nice tea.

[She makes and pours out the tea as Harold talks.]

Harold.You won't have to wait long if this proves a success: and it will be one. I know it; I feel it. It isn't only that everybody who has read it, likes it; it's something else that I can't describe, not even to you; a feeling inside, that—call it conceit if you like, but it isn't conceit; it isn't conceit to feel confidence in oneself. Why, look at the trash, the arrant trash, that succeeds every day; you will say, perhaps, that it succeeds because it is trash, that trash is what people want—they certainly get it. But no book that ever had real stuff in it has failed yet, and I feel that—Ha! ha! the same old feeling mentioned above. Don't think me an awful prig, Luce. I don't talk to anybody else as I do to you; and if you only knew what a relief it is to