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The Novel That Saved Her

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Zara was not happy with her life. Her boyfriend had disappeared, her mother was sick, and she “had the blues” as she liked to put it
Zara did not know what would have happened if her best friend, Laura, hadn't told her to get back to her novel. “It will make you feel better,” she'd said. It had helped...a little bit.
A car rushing by jolted Zara back to the present. She hurried on, which is no small feat in New York City.
At last, she got to the tall, gleaming, building where she was to go. Zara scuttled into the hall, ran into the elevator, and pressed the button for the 20th floor.
***
“Hello, Miss Trillip,” said the man when I opened the door.
I looked to see who it was. It was Mr. William Growwillson, a publisher with a bad reputation of being critical of everything.
“Hello, Mr. Growwillson,” said Miss Zara Trillip, otherwise me.
“Yes, yes, Miss Trillip,” Mr. Growwillson said. “I liked that chapter you sent me. I know you said what it was about in your letter, but I want you to repeat it.”
“Well,” I began. “It's a tragic romance. The two protagonists are Marianne Thompson and Fredrick Peterson. Marianne is engaged to Mr. Robinson, and then Robinson and Peterson get in a duel and then Peterson dies and its all a mess.” I stopped, feeling very uncomfortable and foolish.
“Hm. That seems to be the most appropriate description for that novel.” said Mr Growwillson with a smile I did not like. “It is still novell. And very moving too.” Mr Growwillson continued. “I think I would like to have the rest of your manuscript.”
I was worried that he was faking it. I couldn't really trust him, considering what I'd heard. We kept on talking, about this and that. Finally he said he would look over my manuscript and edit it. Then he would write to me, telling me if my novel would be published.

I waited in a breathless state of anticipation. Through that month, Laura kept checking in on me and telling me how her writing was going and saying that my book was sure to be published. I decided that I didn't really care about the novel that much. I mean not as much as mother getting well. Or Edmund coming back. Finally the letter came. It said something about Growwillson and Co. not wanting to publish my book.
Though I had said that I hadn't cared about the novel that much, it was still a blow. I wouldn't want to tell anyone that I cried that night. I was miserable. But there was one good thing that happened the day after the letter arrived. The doctor said mother was alright to have the surgery that would make her better. Well. you can imagine my surprise when the week after that another letter arrived from Growwillson and Co. with quite a different tone to it! It read:

Dear Miss. Trillip,

We are pleased to announce that your novel is out for publication. Inclosed is a payment of $500, a preview copy of, “A Miserable Fate” and some notes from the publisher on your book...

I did not read the rest, I just stood there gaping and then I called Laura to inform her of the news and to go on about how confusing this all was. Then I called mom. Then my brother John and then almost every friend I have ever had, just to go on about how confusing it all was. Then I went to see Mr. Growwillson, both letters in my purse.
I must admit that I burst into his office rather than walking in.
“Dear sir,” I said. “Your secretary must be mad. First I got a letter that publication was refused, than I got a letter that it was accepted. What does it mean?”
Mr Growwillson looked taken aback.
“What is this outrage?” I continued. “How am I to know if it is accepted or not? Out with it, you.”
Mr. Growwillson stood up and wiped his face, “I am most sorry, Miss. Trillip. It turns out my secretary is half deaf and didn't tell anyone. It is entirely his fault. I apologize.”
“How did he hide from you that he was half deaf?”
“Well, apparently I had two secretaries” said Mr Growwillson “The deaf one wrote and the other one carried messages of what I said.”
“Oh.” I said intelligently.
“But my dear Miss. Trillip, I think you have written the best novel of the century. I was going to publish your work.”
“Oh” I said again thinking that if it was not the best novel of the century, ( I was smart enough to know it wasn't), it was still a pretty good novel.
And your subject matter,” said Mr. Growwillson, “Is fabulous. I wouldn't be surprised if a year from now you were a millionaire, it is such a good selling point.” And it's true, a year from now, I have a lot of money, and A Miserable Fate is topping the charts.



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