“I am afraid of our meeting. Suppose I should fall short of your ideal of me? That you should think me ugly or old, I could not bear it. I have come to know all my happiness lies in the balance of that one night, toward which we walk, you and I, every minute of every day.
His answer came, special delivery:
“It shall be as you wish, dear heart. But if anything should happen to delay the opening of the play, I think I should ask you to remit the sentence of banishment. I live only to look into your eyes!
“How can you say that you may disappoint me? If you were old, humpbacked, ugly—what difference? You are mine! We must find freedom for ourselves and a new life. I adore you.
“I wouldn’t have thought it of Jarvis,” said Bambi as she read it. “He makes a very creditable lover.”
“My DEAR ONE: I am as impatient as you are for our meeting. I gladly agree that we shall bring it about, at once, if anything happens to postpone the play opening.
“What you say about being indifferent to my looks makes me happy. I shall not try you too far, my lover. I’m quite pretty and young. Did you know I was young?
“You speak so confidently of freedom and a new life together. Are we to shed our old mates, like Nautilus shells? My new coming into love makes me pitiful. Must we be ruthless?
“DEAR, GENTLE HEART: I do not wish to seem ruthless to you, much less to be so. But has our suffering not entitled us to some joy? I know my wife to be absorbed in another man; you say your husband turns to another woman. We represent to them stumbling-blocks between them and their happiness. Surely it is only right that we should all be freed to find our true mates.
“I find it daily more of a burden to carry this secret in my heart, when knowledge of it would lighten my wife’s unhappiness. Shall we not confess the situation, and discuss plans for separation? I owe this girl who bears my name more than I can ever pay. I would not do anything to hurt her pride. Tell me what you think about it, dear one?
“JARVIS DEAR: Again I must seem to oppose you. Please let us keep our secrets to ourselves until our meeting. Suppose that something should happen even yet? Suppose we should not wish to take this step when the time comes? I do not want you to hurt your wife. I respect and love you for your sense of obligation to her. How can she help loving you, my Jarvis?
“When the day comes for me to prove my devotion, may you say about me that you owe me more than you can ever pay.
“I live only for the completion of the play.
Bambi felt the renewed vigour with which Jarvis attacked the final problems of their task. He was working toward the goal of his affections, a meeting with his lady. She, too, felt the strain of the situation, and keyed herself up to a final burst of speed. The middle of February came, bringing the day which ended their labours.