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The Newspaper Proprietor
by [?]

“Don’t do that,” pleaded Dorothy.

Strong tore up the note and turned to her. “What do you want of me?” he asked.

She blushed and looked down. “I–I have written a–a play,” she faltered.

He smiled indulgently. He did not write plays himself, but he knew that other people did.

“When does it come off?” he asked.

“The manager says it will have to at the end of the week. It came on a week ago.”

“Well,” he smiled, “if people don’t want to go, I can’t make them.”

“Yes, you can,” she said boldly.

He gave a start. His brain working at lightning speed saw the possibilities in an instant. At one stroke he could win Lady Dorothy’s gratitude, provide The Daily Vane with a temporary policy, and give a convincing exhibition of the power of his press.

“Oh, Mr. Strong—-“

“Hector,” he whispered. As he rose from his desk to go to her, he accidentally pressed the button of the trap-door. The next moment he was alone.

. . . . .

“That the British public is always ready to welcome the advent of a clean and wholesome home-grown play is shown by the startling success of Christina’s Mistake, which is attracting such crowds to The King’s every night.” So wrote The Daily Vane, and continued in the same strain for a column.

“Clubland is keenly exercised,” wrote The Evening Vane, “over a problem of etiquette which arises in the Second Act of Christina’s Mistake, the great autumn success at The King’s Theatre. The point is shortly this. Should a woman …” And so on.

“A pretty little story is going the rounds,” said Slosh, “anent that charming little lady, Estelle Rito, who plays the part of a governess in Christina’s Mistake, for which (‘Manager’ Barodo informs me) advance booking up to Christmas has already been taken. It seems that Miss Rito, when shopping in the purlieus of Bond Street …”

Sloppy Chunks had a joke which set all the world laughing. It was called—-


Flossie.‘Who’s the lady in the box with Mr. Johnson?’

Gussie.‘Hush! It’s his wife!’

And Flossie giggled so much that she could hardly listen to the last Act of Christina’s Mistake, which she had been looking forward to for weeks!”

The Sunday Sermon offered free tickets to a hundred unmarried suburban girls, to which class Christina’s Mistake might be supposed to make a special religious appeal. But they had to collect coupons first for The Sunday Sermon.

And, finally, The Times, of two months later, said:

“A marriage has been arranged between Lady Dorothy Neal, daughter of the Earl of Skye, and the Hon. Geoffrey Bollinger.”

. . . . .

Than a successful revenge nothing is sweeter in life. Hector Strong was not the man to spare anyone who had done him an injury. Yet I think his method of revenging himself upon Lady Dorothy savoured of the diabolical. He printed a photograph of her in The Daily Picture Gallery. It was headed “The Beautiful Lady Dorothy Neal.”