Broadway glared and grinned and gambolled, goat-like. Bambi clung to Jarvis tightly. He looked down at her swollen face, red eyes, and bewildered mouth without a word. He put her into a taxicab and got in after her. In silence she looked out at the glittering white way.
“The veneer is all rubbed off. I can see only bones,” she said, and caught her breath in a sob.
Jarvis awkwardly took her hand and patted it.
“I am sorry we went to that play to-night. You must not feel things so,” he added.
“Didn’t you feel it?”
“I felt it, didactically, but not dramatically. It’s a big sermon and a poor play.”
“I feel as if I had had an appendicitis operation, and I am glad it is over.”
“I must meet young Richard Bennett. He has contributed to the big issues of the day. He’s a fine actor. He must be an intelligent man.”
For the rest of the way they drove in silence.
“Tired?” Jarvis asked as they neared the club.
She looked so little and crumpled, with all the shine drowned in her eyes.
“Life has beaten me raw to-day,” she answered him, with a shadowy smile.
Bambi announced the next morning that she had to have an entire day in which to get over “Damaged Goods.” Jarvis was nothing loath to put off the evil hour when he was to start on his manager-hunt. So they agreed on one more day of freedom.
The clouds threatened, so they looked over the papers for an announcement of picture exhibitions, concerts, and lectures. The choice was bewildering. They finally decided on a morning lecture, at Berkeley Lyceum, entitled “The Religion of the Democrat.” They made their way to the little theatre, in a leisurely manner, to find the street blocked with motor cars, the sidewalk and foyer crowded with fashionable women, fully half an hour before the lecture was announced. Distracted ushers tried to find places for the endless stream of ardent culturites, until even the stage was invaded and packed in solid rows.
“This is astonishing,” said Jarvis. “What on earth do these fine birds care for democracy?”
“Must be the lecturer,” said wise Bambi.
“Humph! A little mental pap before they run on to lunch.”
The cackle and babble ceased suddenly as the chairman and lecturer appeared. After a few announcements, the leading man was introduced. Bambi was right. It was the man. You felt personality in the slow way he swept the audience with his eyes, in the charming, friendly smile, in the humour of his face. The women fairly purred.
Jarvis grunted impatiently, and Bambi felt a sense of guilt for her ready response to this man, who had not yet spoken. Then he began, in a good, resonant voice, to hook this lecture to the one of the week before.
“Oh, it’s a course,” Bambi whispered.