Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/181

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Fred M. Simpson

me to let myself go a bit occasionally, you would excuse everything.

Lucy.You have a right to be conceited.

Harold.Not yet. I have done nothing yet; but I mean to.[Takes up the book.]I wonder what will become of you and your fellows; what will be your future? Will you one day adorn the shelves of libraries, figure in catalogues of "Rare books and first editions," and be contended for by snuffy, long-clothed bibliomaniacs, who will bid one against the other for the honour of possessing you? Or will you descend to the tables of secondhand book-stalls marked at a great reduction; or lie in a heap, with other lumber, outside the shop-front, all this lot sixpence each, awaiting there, uncared for, unnoticed, and unknown, your ultimate destination, the dust-hole?

Lucy.You are horrid. What an idea!

Harold.No, I don't think that will be your end.[Puts down the book.]You are not going to the dustbin, you are going to be a success. No more hack work for me after this. Why, supposing only the first edition is sold, I more than clear expenses, and if it runs to two—ten—twenty editions, I shall receive—the amount fairly takes my breath away. Twentieth thousand; doesn't it sound fine? We shall have our mansion in Grosvenor Square yet, Luce; and that charming, little old house we saw the other day up the river—we'll have that, too; so that we can run down here from Saturday to Monday, to get away from London fog and nastiness. Yes, I am going to be rich some day—rich—in ten years time, if this book gets a fair start and I have anything like decent luck, I shall be the best known author in England.[Rises.]The son of the old bookseller who failed will be able then to repay those who helped him when he wanted help, and, more delightful thought still, pay back those with interest

The Yellow Book—Vol. I.