Mr. Ventnor smiled. "Ah!" he said enigmatically, "these lady novelists! Does she make any money by them?"
Bob Pillin knew that to make money by writing meant success, but that not to make money by writing was artistic, and implied that you had private means, which perhaps was even more distinguished. And he said:
"Oh! she has private means, I know."
Mr. Ventnor reached for the Madeira.
"So she's a relative of old Heythorp's," he said. "He's a very old friend of your father's. He ought to go bankrupt, you know."
To Bob Pillin, glowing with passion and Madeira, the idea of bankruptcy seemed discreditable in connection with a relative of Phyllis. Besides, the old boy was far from that! Had he not just made this settlement on Mrs. Larne? And he said:
"I think you're mistaken. That's of the past."
Bob Pillin also smiled. "I should be bettin' on a certainty."