Thyrsis received a reply to his note, and went to call upon Miss Ethelynda Lewis. Miss Lewis dwelt in a luxurious apartment-house on Riverside Drive, where a colored maid showed him into a big parlor, full of spindle-legged gilt furniture upholstered in flowered silk.
There was just one way to be thought of; venison in the woods was worth eleven cents a pound, and the smallest of deer would get him to the city! And so began a great adventure. Thyrsis wrote Miss Ethelynda that he would come; and that night he loaded up some more buckshot "shells", and before dawn of the next day was out upon the hunt.
All night he listened to the pounding of the flying train; and fast as the music of it went, it was not fast enough for his imagination. It seemed as if the rails were speaking saying to him, over and over and over again, "Ethelynda Lewis! Ethelynda Lewis! Ethelynda Lewis!" They sat still watching upon the hill-top, drinking in the scent of the clover.
It seemed strange to Thyrsis, when he thought it over afterwards, that the great Robertson Jones should have taken the trouble to argue so long with the unknown author of a play in which he did not believe. Was it that opposition incited him to persist? Or had he told Ethelynda Lewis he would get her what she wanted, and was now reluctant to confess defeat?
Now, as it happened, "Ethelynda Lewis" had been on the play-bill of "The Princess of Prague", that tragic "musical comedy" to which Thyrsis had been taken; but he never noticed the names of actors and actresses, and had no suspicions.
Then came the third morning after his interview; and Thyrsis found in his mail another letter from Robertson Jones, Inc. It was a letter brief and to the point, and it struck him like a thunderbolt. "Miss Ethelynda Lewis has decided that she wishes to accept your play as it stands.
Twice a week his mail came to the lumbercamp, in care of the friendly foreman. Each time that he went out to get it, he hoped for some new turn. There was a publisher interested in "The Hearer of Truth", and an editor was reading "The Higher Cannibalism"; also, and most important of all, Miss Ethelynda Lewis had now had "The Genius" for nearly two months, and had not yet reported.
Also he wrote several "charming" scenes for Ethelynda Lewis, and two weeks later the play had a second opening in another manufacturing town of New England where the critics, awed by the name of the distinguished dramatist upon the play-bills, were moved to faint praise. But perhaps it was that Mr.
Thyrsis pondered the problem for several days; and then, as chance would have it, his eye was caught by a newspaper paragraph to the effect that "Ethelynda Lewis, the popular comedienne, is to be starred in a serious drama next season, under the management of Robertson Jones. Miss Lewis's play has not yet been selected."
A curious feeling it gave Thyrsis, to know that she was so near to him, and yet not to be going to meet her! He could not endure any part of the city where he had been with her, and got himself a hall bedroom on the edge of a tenement-district far up town. Then he had his shoes shined, and purchased a clean collar, and wrote Miss Ethelynda Lewis that he was ready to call.