He watched her face eagerly, greedily. When Marian's eyes rose to his he looked away.
'Then, of course,' she said, 'you don't expect me to give any decided answer.'
'Of course not--of course not. I merely put before you the chief advantages of such an investment. As I am a selfish old fellow, I'll talk about the benefit to myself first of all. I should be editor of the new review; I should draw a stipend sufficient to all my needs--quite content, at first, to take far less than another man would ask, and to progress with the advance of the periodical. This position would enable me to have done with mere drudgery; I should only write when I felt called to do so--when the spirit moved me.' Again he laughed, as though desirous of keeping his listener in good humour. 'My eyes would be greatly spared henceforth.'
He dwelt on that point, waiting its effect on Marian. As she said nothing he proceeded:
'And suppose I really were doomed to lose my sight in the course of a few years, am I wrong in thinking that the proprietor of this periodical would willingly grant a small annuity to the man who had firmly established it?'
'I see the force of all that,' said Marian; 'but it takes for granted that the periodical will be successful.'
'It does. In the hands of a publisher like Jedwood--a vigorous man of the new school--its success could scarcely be doubtful.'
'Do you think five thousand pounds would be enough to start such a review?'