“Daughter of Joy!”
“I have spent a very pleasant fortnight with you, Richard!”
“Has it seemed that long?”
“Since I left Sunnyside this morning? Quite.”
“How many personalities have you been since then?”
“Oh, not nearly all my mes.”
“Headliner,” she nodded.
They drank to the success of the play. Later, as he stood beside her in the car, a few minutes before she was to leave, she put her hand in his.
“I’ve had the loveliest time,” she said. “You are the most accomplished playmate I ever had.”
“It has been a happy day.”
“Come to Sunnyside soon.”
The train began to move out and he hurried to get off. She waved to him from the window. She was tired, so she went to bed at once, with never a dream of the emptiness her small presence left in New York for the “Playmate.”
“What luck did you have with the climax, yesterday?” she asked Jarvis, next day, as she came into the workroom.
“None at all. I worked all day, and tore it up last night.”
“Oh, why did you do that?”
“It was hopeless. If you wanted to teach me how vital you are to this work, you did it.”
“Such a thing never entered my mind.”
“Shall we begin at it now?”
“Of course. I’m keen to get at it.”
She plunged into the situation and swept all obstacles before her. The entire reaction from yesterday’s pleasure and change went into her work. Lunch-time came as a shock, the morning had fled so fast. Jarvis sighed as he piled up the pages.
“You work like an electric dynamo,” he remarked.
“I always work better after a happy vacation. Why don’t you run off for a day, to get your breath, as it were?”
“Where would I run to?”
“You might go look up the author-lady you’re so interested in,” she remarked, wickedly.
He made no answer to that.
The noon mail brought Bambi’s latest letter from Jarvis. All mail was brought immediately to her, so she had a chance to extract the telltale letters. Jarvis wrote:
“DEAR LADY: Your letters are fast becoming a necessity to me. I look for them as eagerly as a boy. I find myself more and more absorbed in the ‘Francesca’ of your fancy, whom I feel sure is the essence of you. Is it not so?
“I am bitterly unhappy these days—lonely, as I have never been before. The emotional side of life has always been a closed book to me, one I disdained to read. So once my heart begins to call attention to itself, I suppose the more poignant will be my experience.
“I have lately come back from a long exile spent in a hideous place. I brought with me the first hunger for love I had ever known. But I found no answering need in the heart I turned to. I have been thrown back on myself, to eat my heart out, because I know now that it is my own fault. If I had tried sooner to make myself a lover, I would not have to resign that place to another man.