Ray kept silent till he could say coldly, "Nothing. It's all over."
Kane stepped into the room, and took off his hat. "If you haven't been rejected by the object of your affections, you have had the manuscript of your novel declined. These are the only things that really bring annihilation. I think the second is worse. A man is never so absolutely and solely in love with one woman but he knows some other who is potentially lovable; that is the wise provision of Nature. But while a man has a manuscript at a publisher's, it is the only manuscript in the world. You can readily work out the comparison. I hope you have merely been disappointed in love, my dear boy."
Ray smiled ruefully. "I'm afraid it's worse."
"Then Chapley & Co. have declined your novel definitely?"
"Not in set terms; or not yet. But their readers have all reported against it, and I've passed the night in reading their opinions. I've got them by heart. Would you like to hear me repeat them ?" he demanded, with a fierce self-scorn.
Kane looked at him compassionately. "Heaven forbid! I could repeat them, I dare say, as accurately as you; the opinions of readers do not vary much, and I have had many novels declined."
"Have you?" Kay faltered with compunction for his arrogation of all such suffering to himself.