The fiddler was the Professor, of course. Any one but a blind man would have seen it. So she had made mock of them, the two men nearest to her, for all the world to laugh at! That she wanted to punish him for not coming up to her expectations, that he could understand, but why had she betrayed the Professor whom she loved?
He reviewed the period of rehearsals—her sure touch revealed again. She knew every move. She even saw herself so clearly that she could correct the actress in a false move. She had held herself up for public inspection, too. He had to admit that. It seemed so shameless to him, so lacking in reserve.
He urged his mind on to the night now passing, the night he had looked forward to, for so many months, as the first white stone along the road to success. Well, it had been a success, but none of his. Bambi’s—all Bambi’s. She had conceived the book, worked out the play, and rehearsed it, to a triumphant issue. It was all hers! The only part he could claim was that Frohman had sent for him. But had he? Was it possible he had only humoured Bambi in her desire to give him a chance? He would find out the truth about that, and if it were so, he could never forgive her.
He saw her coming toward him in reply to the calls for “Author!” her eyes fixed on him, shining and expectant! What had she wanted him to do? Was it possible she expected him to be pleased?
Broad daylight found him far up toward the Bronx, weary, footsore, and hungry. When he came to himself he realized that he must send some word to the club of his whereabouts. He wrote a message to Bambi:
“I shall not come back to-day. I cannot. You have hurt me very deeply.
He put a special delivery stamp on it and mailed it. He found some breakfast, and went into the Bronx Park, where he sat down under the bare trees to face himself.
In the meantime Bambi, after a sleepless night, was up betimes. At breakfast she protested that she was not at all worried. Jarvis had no doubt decided to celebrate the success in the usual masculine way. He would come home later, with a headache.
“But Jarvis isn’t a drinking man, is he?” the Professor inquired.