Algie stayed reading the titles and wondering how he would feel if he got recognised for his talents as a writer; Berite had been right, he did have more imagination than many of his contemporaries but what he said about then remained true; they had education and influential friends which he lacked; his attention remained fixed to the geographic section of the selection and the various stories of far away lands and strange beasts as yet unseen in this country.
Bertie noticed Algie’s rapt delight and intrigue in the section and remarked, “Your imagination is as good as ever, Algie.”
Algie turned to face his friend and replied, “Yes, Bertie, stories of lands and animals I shall never see always intrigued me; do they exist or is it the writer’s visions?”
Bertie smiled to himself as he walked over to the bookcase and commented, “I can’t vouch for all those lands but I can say for certain the stories of the Dark Continent are true, some of my colleagues recently returned with tales, some of which turned my stomach, old friend.”
Algie faltered a little as the news hit him and went to sit down by the window for air; he was thinking about the letter from Charles Palmerston and why he had been contacted instead of Bertie who had money and influence?
Bertie wandered across to Algie and noticing the concerned look on his face he enquired, “What is on your mind, my good man?”
Algie glanced up from his seat and replied, “I’m puzzling over the letter, Bertie, why did he send it to me and not you?”
Bertie sat down in the chair opposite Algie’s and gave his views on the matter at hand, “I formed two ideas, Algie, one of which may upset you.”
Without a hesitation Algie replied, “Please, go ahead.”
Bertie took a sip of his whiskey and started, “In my opinion, Charles contacted you rather than me because he had been told of your desire to be a writer; this is the part you may not like, he contacted you because at the present you are unknown and no reputation as a writer and if this plan falls through, he thinks you won’t lose face.”
Algie swallowed his mouthful and replied, “What you say, Bertie, is true, if this plan does come to nothing I haven’t lost anything but if the plan were to work out, this chance may be the making of me.”
“There is always the risk when you take on anything new, Algie; are you willing to take this risk? While the writing may make your name, if you get associated with him and this turns sour, you stand to lose what reputation you spent months working towards.”