These daily councils of war, his incessant need of her, interfered with her plan of a career as a danseuse. She found that her days were resolving themselves into two portions—times when Jarvis needed her, and times when he did not. The hours they devoted together to his work constituted the core of her day, her happy time. She considered Jarvis as impersonally as she did the typewriter. It was the sense of being needed, of helping in his work, that filled her with such new zest. But the hours hung heavy between the third-floor summons, and one day, as she lay in the hammock, a book in her hand, it came to her that she might try it herself. She might put down her thoughts, her dreams, her ambitions, and make a story of them. Thought and action were one with Bambi. In five minutes’ time she had pencil and paper, and had set forth on her new adventure.
For the next few days she was so absorbed in her experiment that she almost neglected the “Heavenly Twins.” The Professor commented on her abstraction, and Ardelia complained that “everybody in dis heah house is crazy, all of them studyin’ and writin’; yo’ cain’t even sing a hallelujah but somebody is a shoutin’, ‘Sh!’”
Only Jarvis failed to note any change. It was too much to expect that the great Jocelyn could concentrate on any but his own mental attitudes.
Like most facile people, Bambi was bored with her masterpiece at the end of a week, and abandoned it without a sigh. She decided that literature was not to be enriched by her. In fact, she never gave a thought to her first-born child until a month after its birth, when a New York magazine fell into her hands offering a prize of $500 for a short story. She took out her manuscript and read it over with a sense of surprise. She marched off to a stenographer, had it typed, and sent it to the contest, using a pen name as a signature, and then she promptly forgot about it.
Six weeks more of hard labour brought “Success” almost to completion. Bambi was absorbed in the play. It was undoubtedly much better; her hopes were high that it would get a production. If only Jarvis could get to New York with it and show it to the managers; but that meant money, and they had none. Her busy brain spent hours scheming, but no light came.
Then out of the blue fell a shining bolt! A long envelope, with a magazine imprint on it, came with her morning’s mail and nearly ended a young and useful life. The editor begged to inform her that the committee of judges had awarded her the short-story prize, that her tale would be published in the forth-coming issue, and she would please find check enclosed. Had she any other manuscript that they might see? Would she honour them with a visit the next time she came to New York? They would like to talk over a series of stories similar to the prize winner.
The Professor and Jarvis had both departed to their lairs, or they would have witnessed the best pas seul of Bambi’s life. She fluttered the joy-bringing letter above her head, and circled the breakfast room in a whirl of happiness. Ardelia entered as she reached her climax.