"Well, I've kept away from the offices, where all the writs have been served by the way, and I've written a formal protest to the Postmaster-General against the use of the telephone for language that is entirely unfit for even the smoking-room of a woman's club. Now they write; but as I don't read the letters, it doesn't matter so much."

"The editor is in a passion, I suppose?"

"No; he's in a nursing-home. He's a master of diplomacy," replied Dare wearily. "I'd do the same, only I can't afford the fees. It's the general-manager who telephones. I'm going to put him in my next novel, curse him!"

"In addition to a writ," Dare proceeded, "each publisher has written me a letter, 'without prejudice' and with considerable heat."

"What about?" enquired Dick Little, thoroughly interested in the curious situation that had arisen out of Dare's unfortunate story.

"The man who crosses and recrosses his legs says that he is the only publisher in the world with that characteristic, and that I accuse him of unclean morals, as if a publisher had any morals, clean or otherwise. He of the nervous cough objects to the adjective 'deceitful,' and is having his books examined by an accountant He who salivates into the fireplace from impossible angles, is producing the testimony of three specialists to prove that he has chronic bronchitis, and that it is neither infectious nor contagious, and so on." Dare's voice trailed off drearily.

"And what do you propose to do?" questioned Dick Little.

"Do?" enquired the other, listlessly throwing himself into a chair and lighting a cigarette. "Do? Why, nothing. That's why I want the morphia. I'm the imperfect, not the present tense. I'm done."