[Illustration: “Well, believe me, that high-brow stuff is on the toboggan.”]
“I’ve come to see you about a play.”
“Oh, you’re a writer? What have you done?”
“Several plays, and some poetry.”
“Nix on the poetry. Who brought out the plays?”
“Nobody yet. I am just beginning to offer them.”
“What sort of stuff is it?”
“It’s a dramatic handling of the feminist movement.”
“The emancipation of woman.”
“I hadn’t heard about it. Is your stuff funny?”
“No. It is a serious presentation of an unique revolution——”
“Well, believe me, that high-brow stuff is on the toboggan. I knew it couldn’t last. I gave it to them when they demanded it, but I am cutting it out now. Haven’t you got a good melodrama, or a funny show?”
“I have not,” superbly.
“Say, do you know any Jews? I got a great idea for a Jew play that would take like the measles if some fellow would work it up. Pile of money in it.”
Jarvis rose, furious.
“It is so apparent that we have nothing to say to each other that I’ll bid you good morning.”
“If you fellows who come in here from the country to run Broadway could put yourselves in a show, it would be the scream of the town,” said the fat man in Jarvis’s wake.
“I’d rather starve than endure a pig like you!” cried Jarvis, as he fled.
The fat man’s laugh followed him to the street. He hated himself, and the whole situation. It galled him to think he had deliberately submitted himself to such treatment. Even Bambi could not expect it of him,—to set him to sell his dreams in such a market. He charged down Broadway, clearing a wake as wide as a battleship in action. He saw red. He was unconscious of people. He only felt the animus of the atmosphere, the sense of things tugging at him, which had to be cast off. Why was he here? He wanted the quiet, the open stretches, and his own free thoughts. What turn of the wheel had brought him into this maelstrom? Bambi! The old story, Samson and Delilah! He had visioned great things. She had shorn him, and pushed him into a net of circumstances. He would not endure it. He would sweep her out of his life, and be about his work.
He was disappointed to find her out when he returned to the club. He had his opening speech all ready and it was annoying to have his scene delayed. He raged about, to keep his wrath hot, until she came. “Greeting,” she began; then saw his face, and added, “Jungle beast!”
“I’ll not stay here another day!” he cried.
“You saw the manager?”
“He asked me if the stuff was funny! He invited me to write a Jew play, and make a pot of money! He said ‘Nix on the high-brow stuff,’ and never heard of the feminist movement,” he blurted out in one breath.