“But you’ve got to lunch some time,” he persisted.
She laughed a little hardly.
“Have I? We girls haven’t got to eat like you men. I’ll call up towards the evening and see if you’ve anything ready for me.”
She was gone before he could stop her. He turned back to his desk and seated himself. The sight of his last finished sentence presented itself suddenly in a new light. There was a suggestiveness about it which was almost poignant. He took up his pen and began to write rapidly.
It was a few minutes after six that evening when Philip was conscious of a knock at his door. He swung around in his chair, blinking a little.
Martha Grimes entered. She was in outdoor apparel, that is to say she wore her hat and a long mackintosh. She remained standing upon the threshold.
“Just looked up to see if you’ve got any more work ready,” she explained.
He sprang to his feet and stood there, for a moment, unsteadily.
“Come in and shut the door,” he ordered. “Look! Look!” he added, pointing to his table. “Thirty-three sheets! I’ve been working all the time. I’ve been living, I tell you, living God knows where!—not in this accursed little world. Here, let’s pick up the sheets. There’s enough work for you.”
She looked at him curiously.
“Have you been in that chair ever since?” she asked.
“Ever since,” he assented enthusiastically.
“Not a scrap. Never thought about it.”
“You’ll make yourself sick, that’s what you’ll do,” she declared. “Go out and get something at once.”
“Never even thought about lunch,” he repeated, half to himself. “Where have you been?”
“Some luck,” she replied. “First place I dropped in at. Found there was a girl gone home for the day, fainted. Lots of work to do, so they just stuck me down in her chair. Three dollars they gave me. The girl’s coming back to-morrow, though, worse luck.”
“When did you have your lunch?”
“Haven’t had any. I’m going to make myself a cup of tea now.”
He reached for his hat.
“Not on your life” he exclaimed. “Come along, Miss Martha Grimes. I have written lines—you just wait till you type them! I tell you it’s what I have had at the back of my head for months. It’s there now on paper—living, flaring words. Come along.”
“We are going to eat,” he insisted. “I am faint, and so are you. We are going to that same place, and we’ll have lunch and dinner in one.”
“Nothing doing,” she snapped. “You’ll see some more people who recognise you.”
He waved his hand contemptuously.
“Who cares! If you don’t come along with me, I’ll go up town to the Waldorf or the Ritz Carlton. I’ll waste my money and advertise myself. Come along—that same little quiet corner. I don’t suppose your friends will be there again.”