“No, what should be the matter?”
“I don’t know, but if there is anything you want to talk out with me, let’s have it now. We can’t afford to have any misunderstandings between us.”
“There is nothing,” he said, and left the room.
That night, after dinner, he sat late in his study, writing. Two days later the result of the evening’s work came to Bambi:
“DEAR AUTHOR LADY: Some days ago I sent you my new address, so that you need not send letters to the theatre, but so far I have not heard from you. To-night, for some reason, I feel moved to write to you as I would wish to talk to you were you near me.
“I say for some reason, and yet I know the reason. It is because of your human understanding of the things that make men glad or sad. I am beginning to know that only through the ache of experience can we come to understand each other. Surely there must be something of sadness back of your life, Lady of Mystery, to give you this power.
“To-day I have fought out a bitter fight with myself, and I feel the loneliness that comes in a crisis, when each man of us must stand or fall, alone.
“The play goes ahead rapidly. As I told you, Mrs. Jocelyn and I have great satisfaction in our work on it. I am determined to wring success from it. Both for your sake and for mine, I must!
“Is this personal letter distasteful to you? Do I depend too much upon your gracious understanding? If I do, say so, and I will not offend again.
Bambi read this letter over and over again, behind the locked door of her bedroom. What did it all mean? What was the bitter fight that drove Jarvis to this other woman for solace? How far did she dare draw him out on it, without offending her own sense of fitness? Had this innocent plot of hers, to startle him into amazed admiration, led them both into a labyrinth of misunderstanding?
She answered Jarvis’s letter and sent it to the theatre, asking them to forward it:
“DEAR MR. JOCELYN: Your letter touched me very much in its appeal for my sympathy and understanding. I am regretful that sorrow has found you out. I think of you always as young and strong and happy, with a young wife, and the world before you. I hate to have you spoil my picture.
“I repeat my satisfaction that you and your wife enjoy your work on ‘Francesca.’ I found such happiness myself in doing her, that I like to think we share the pleasure between us, we three.
“Is it your own ambition that drives you so that you say ‘I must,’ in regard to success? Sometimes, if we set our hearts too much on a thing, our very determination thwarts us. Is it not so? Perhaps it is for the sake of some one else that you are so eager for accomplishment. I feel that it is to come to you in this play, and I am glad.