“You wouldn’t mind my being away, if I went to New York, would you?”
“Oh, no. I’d be busy.”
“That’s good. I really think you are almost ideal.”
“As a husband. They are usually so exacting and interfering.”
“I’ve not decided yet to be your husband.”
“But you are it.”
“Suppose you should fall in love with somebody else?”
“I’m much more apt to fall in love with you.”
“Heaven forbid!” he exclaimed, and came to her side quickly. “Bambi, promise me that no matter what happens you will not do that. You will not fall in love with me.”
She looked at him a minute, and then laughed contagiously.
“I am serious about this. My work is everything to me. Nothing matters but just that, and it might be a dreadful interruption if you fell in love with me.”
“I don’t see why, unless you fell in love with me.”
“No danger of that,” said he, and at her laugh turned to her again. “If ever you see any signs of my being such a fool as that, you warn me, will you?”
“And what will you do then?”
“I’ll run away. I will go to the ends of the earth. That particular madness is death to creative genius.”
“All right. I’ll warn you.”
“I’ve got to begin to polish my first draft to-day, so I’ll go upstairs and get at it.”
“Will you be gone two days this trip?”
He turned to smile at her.
“Some people would think you were eccentric,” he said.
“They might,” she responded.
“I am almost sane when I polish,” he laughed. “It’s only when I create that I am crazy.”
“It’s all right then, is it? We go on?”
“Well, I have no objection, if you insist, but you’d better think over what I told you. I think you have made a mistake; and you shall never support me.”
“I never think over my mistakes,” said Bambi. “I just live up to them.”
“I agree with your father that you risk a good deal.”
“Risks are exciting.”
“If you don’t like it, you can divorce me the next time I am in a work fit. I’ll never know it, so it will be painless.”
“Jarvis, that’s unfair.”
He came back quickly.
“That was intended for humour,” he explained.
“I so diagnosed it,” she flashed back at him.
He looked down at her diminutive figure with its well-shaped, patrician head, its sensitive mouth, its wide-set, shining eyes.
“Star-shine,” he smiled.
She poked him with a sharp “What?”
“You don’t think I ought to—to—kiss you, possibly, do you?”
“Good! I was afraid you might expect something of me.”
“Oh, no. Think what you have done for the girl,” she quoted, and he heard her laugh down the hall and out into the garden. He took a step as if to follow her. Then, with a shake of his shoulders, he climbed the stairs to his new workshop with a smile on his lips.