“I never leave him with any comfort,” she admitted to Jarvis. “He is so apt to mislay himself.”
“He always makes me think of a mechanical toy, ever since he told me that he always counted whatever he did. I am sure that you wind him up, like a watch, every night.”
“Poor old dear! Funny I should have chosen him for a father, isn’t it?”
“I think your choice of relations is distinctly queer.”
“My queer relations! That’s a good title. Everybody would understand it at once.”
“Thank heaven, I haven’t any, queer, or otherwise.”
“Didn’t you ever have any?”
“I remember a funny old man you lived with, when I first knew you. Wasn’t he a relative?”
“No, he found me some place. What’s the difference? Do you care?”
“No, I’m glad. I am sure I couldn’t abide ‘in-laws.’”
Over the luncheon table he suddenly looked at her, as if for the first time. He noticed that all the eyes in the crowded diner were upon her.
“What’s the matter?” she asked, intercepting his glance.
“Do people always stare at you?” he inquired.
She swept the car with an indifferent glance.
“I don’t know. I never noticed.”
“It’s queer for us to be going off like this,” he said, in a startled tone.
“It seems perfectly natural to me. Are you embarrassed?” she asked, suddenly aware of a new quality in him.
“No, certainly not,” he defended himself.
It was five o’clock when they drew into Grand Central Station, a time when the whole duty of man seems to be to get out of New York and into the suburbs. An army of ants ran through the great blue-vaulted rotunda, streaming into the narrow tunnels, where the steel horses were puffing and steaming. The sense of rushing waters was upon Jarvis. He halted, stunned and helpless.
“Isn’t it great? All the tribes of Shem, Ham, and Japhet,” cried Bambi, at his elbow. She piloted him through—big, powerful, bewildered Jarvis. Many a hurrying suburbanite slowed up enough to look after them, the tall, blond giant, and a little girl with shining eyes.
“Where are we going?” Jarvis asked, with child-like confidence that she would know.
[Illustration: “Good evening, Mrs. New York, and all you people out there! We’re here, Jarvis and I.”]
“Gramercy Park. We’ll put up at a club. We’ll act rich and take a taxi.”
She ordered the driver to go down the avenue slowly, and as he jolted around the crowded corner of Forty-second Street, on to the smooth asphalt, Bambi leaned forward eagerly.
“Good evening, home of the books,” she nodded to the Library. “Good evening, Mrs. New York, and all you people there! We’re here, Jarvis and I.”