“No. I have something to attend to myself. Good luck.”
She held out her hand to him. He held it a second, looking at it as if it was a specimen of something hitherto unknown.
“I am not forgetting that you are giving me this chance,” he said, and left abruptly.
Bambi leaped about the rooms in a series of joy-leaps that would have shamed Mordkin, before she began the serious business of the day.
Jarvis had carefully looked up the exact location of the Belasco Theatre. He decided to walk uptown, in order to arrange his thoughts, and to make up his mind just how much and what he would say to Mr. Belasco. The stir, the people, the noise and the roar were unseen, unheard. He strolled along, towering above the crowd, a blond young Achilles, with many an admiring eye turned in his wake.
None of the perquisites of success, so dear to Bambi’s dreams, appealed to him. He saw himself, like John the Baptist, crying in the wilderness, which was the world, and all the people, in all the cities, were roused out of their lethargy and dull submission at his call—not to prayer, but to thought. It was a great mission he was upon, and even Broadway became consecrated ground. He walked far beyond the cross street of the theatre in his absorption, so it was exactly half-after nine when he arrived at the box office.
“I want to speak to Mr. Belasco,” he said to the man there.
“Three flights up.”
“Is there an elevator?”
He resented the man’s grin, but he made no reply. He began to climb the long flights of dark stairs. Arrived at the top, the doors were all locked, so he was forced to descend again to the box office.
“There is nobody up there,” he said.
“You didn’t expect anybody to be there at this hour of the dawn, did you?”
“What time does Mr. Belasco usually come?”
“There is nothing usual about him. He is liable to land here any time between now and midnight, if he comes at all.”
“He doesn’t come every day, then?”
The man grinned.
“Say, you’re new to this game, ain’t you? Sometimes he don’t show up for days. The steno can tell you whether he is coming to-day.”
“Yes. The skirt that’s in his office.”
“When does she come?”
“Oh, about ten or eleven.”
“Don’t mention it.”
Jarvis made the ascent again. He stood about for nearly an hour before the office girl arrived. “Those stairs is the limit,” she gasped. “You waiting for me?”
“I am waiting for Mr. Belasco.”
“Got a letter to him?”
“What do you want to see him about? A job?”
“No. About a play.”
She ushered him in, opened the windows, took off her hat, looked at herself in the mirror, while she patted her wonderful hair. She powdered her nose, fixed her neck ruffle, apparently oblivious of Jarvis.