Just as we had done dinner the doctor and the editor came in. The first had called to fetch the parcel--I mean the manuscript; the second had come out with him to Appletreewick for a walk. As soon as the farmer heard that the book was to be sent to London, he insisted that we should drink success to it all round. The children, in high glee, were mounted up on the table, with a glass of currant-wine apiece; the rest of us had ale; the farmer proposed the toast, and his sailor son led the cheers. We all joined in (the children included), except the editor--who, being the only important person of the party, could not, I suppose, afford to compromise his dignity by making a noise. He was extremely polite, however, in a lofty way, to me, waving his hand and bowing magnificently every time he spoke. This discomposed me a little; and I was still more flurried when he said that he had written to the London publishers that very day, to prepare them for the arrival of our book.
"Do you think they will print it, sir?" I ventured to ask.
"My dear madam, you may consider it settled," said the editor, confidently. "The letter is written--the thing is done. Look upon the book as published already; pray oblige me by looking upon the book as published already."
"Then the only uncertainty now is about how the public will receive it!" said my husband, fidgeting in his chair, and looking nervously at me.
"Just so, my dear sir, just so," answered the editor. "Everything depends upon the public--everything, I pledge you my word of honor."
"Don't look doubtful, Mrs. Kerby; there isn't a doubt about it," whispered the kind doctor, giving the manuscript a confident smack as he passed by me with it on his way to the door.
In another minute he and the editor, and the poor cheap-looking brown paper parcel, were gone. The others followed them out, and I was left in the hall alone.
Oh, Public! Public! it all depends now upon you! The children are to have new clothes from top to toe; I am to have a black silk gown; William is to buy a beautiful traveling color-box; the rent is to be paid; all our kind friends at the farmhouse are to have little presents, and our future way in this hard world is to be smoothed for us at the outset, if you will only accept a poor painter's stories which his wife has written down for him After Dark!