Some days she was in a fury at him for not understanding her. Other days she wanted him so that she could scarcely refrain from taking a train to New York and looking for him. In her sane moments she knew that the only thing she could do now was to wait.
Richard Strong came down to dine and spend the night, and one thing he said added to her misery.
“Jarvis stayed in town, didn’t he?” he remarked.
“Looking after things there, I suppose? I passed him on the street yesterday, but he didn’t see me.”
“You passed him yesterday?” breathlessly.
“Yes. The opening and the strain of the rehearsal knocked him out, didn’t it? He looked as gaunt as a monk.”
“Jarvis takes things very seriously.”
“By the way, how did he take your joke?”
She looked directly at him and answered frankly: “He didn’t think it was funny at all.”
“Oh, that’s a pity.”
“I’m through with jokes, Richard, through with them for all time,” she said, her lips quivering.
“Oh, no—try one on me, I’d like it,” he laughed to cover her emotion, and changed the subject quickly.
When he returned to town he called up the Frohman offices, asking for Jarvis’s address. He was still at the National Arts Club, they assured him. So that evening he presented himself there unannounced. He found Jarvis alone in the reading-room, a book open before sightless eyes. He rose to greet Strong, with evident reluctance.
“I’m glad to find you, Jocelyn. I have something particular to say to you.”
“So? Sit down, won’t you?”
“I’ve just come back from Sunnyside, where I spent the night. I wanted to settle the details of your wife’s next serial.”
“Have you seen her since the opening night?”
“I think she is either very ill, or very unhappy, possibly both. She seems such a frail little thing that one dreads any extra demands on her. I knew you stayed on to look after the business here, of course.... You know the dear, blind, old Professor. Naturally you are the person to look after her, and I thought it would be just like her not to say a word to you about it all, so here I am, playing tame cat, carrying tales. Go down to-night, Jocelyn, and take that girl away somewhere.”
“They think she’s ill?” Jarvis repeated.
“She looks it to me. If she were my wife, I’d be alarmed.”
He rose as he finished, and Jarvis rose, too. They looked each other in the eyes.
“Thank you!” said Jarvis.
He suddenly realized, without words of any kind, that this man suffered as he did, because he, too, loved Bambi. He was big enough to come to her husband with news of her need. By a common impulse their hands met in a warm hand-clasp.
“She needs you, Jocelyn,” Strong said.
“You’re a good friend, Strong,” Jarvis answered.