two was cool enough to laugh over the scene, and long for next week.
When she went again, Mr. Dashwood was alone, whereat she rejoiced. Mr. Dashwood was much wider awake than before,—which was agreeable,—and Mr. Dashwood was not too deeply absorbed in a cigar to remember his manners,—so the second interview was much more comfortable than the first.
"We'll take this" (editors never say "I"), "if you don't object to a few alterations. It's too long,—but omitting the passages I've marked will make it just the right length," he said, in a business-like tone.
Jo hardly knew her own MS. again, so crumpled and underscored were its pages and paragraphs; but, feeling as a tender parent might on being asked to cut off her baby's legs in order that it might fit into a new cradle, she looked at the marked passages, and was surprised to find that all the moral reflections,—which she had carefully put in as ballast for much romance,—had all been stricken out.
"But, sir, I thought every story should have some sort of a moral, so I took care to have a few of my sinners repent."
Mr. Dashwood's editorial gravity relaxed into a smile, for Jo had forgotten her "friend," and spoken as only an author could.
"People want to be amused, not preached at, you know. Morals don't sell nowadays;" which was not quite a correct statement, by the way.
"You think it would do with these alterations, then?"
"Yes; it's a new plot, and pretty well worked up