"Poems ?" Mr. Kane suggested.
"No, a novel," the author answered, bashfully.
"The great American one, of course?"
"We are going to see," said the young publisher, gaily.
"Well, that is good. It is pleasant to have the old literary tradition renewed in all the freshness of its prime, and to have young Genius coming up to New York from the provinces with a manuscript under its arm, just as it used to come up to London, and I've no doubt to Memphis and to Nineveh, for that matter; the indented tiles must have been a little more cumbrous than the papyrus, and were probably conveyed in an ox-cart. And when you offered him your novel, Mr. Kay, did Mr. Brandreth say that the book trade was rather dull, just now ?"
"Something of that kind," Ray admitted, witli a laugh; and Mr. Brandreth laughed too.
"I'm glad of that," said Mr. Kane. "It would not have been perfect without that. They always say that. I've no doubt the publishers of Memphis and Nineveh said it in their day. It is the publishers' way with authors. It makes the author realize the immense advantage of getting a publisher on any terms at such a disastrous moment, and he leaves the publisher to fix the terms. It is quite right. You are launched, my dear friend, and all you have to do is to let yourself go. You will probably turn out an ocean greyhound; we expect no less when we are launched. In that case, allow an old water-logged derelict to hail you, and wish you a prosperous voyage to the Happy Isles." Mr. Kane smiled blandly, and gave Ray a bow that had the quality of a blessing.