In spite of her cheerful acceptance of Jarvis’s mood of despair, the day before, she was really deeply touched by it, and appealed to by his helplessness to cope with the situation. She remembered her words to her father, “He cannot accommodate himself to the commercial standards of the times.” It was so true. And was she right in submitting him to them so ruthlessly? Was she blunting something fine in him by this ugly picture she was holding up for him to see, of a thoroughly commercialized drama, the laws and restrictions of which he must know and conquer, or be silenced? All the mother in her hated to have him hurt, but the sensible helpmeet part of her knew that it must be done. Of course he could not be expected to know how to approach managers, all at once. He was probably very tactless. He admitted that he had called the enemy of yesterday a “pig.” Naturally that was no way to help his cause. Perhaps, after this experience, and his new cognizance of conditions, it would be better for him to write in quiet and solitude, while she acted as salesman.
“I’m just plain adventuress enough to love the fight of it,” she admitted to herself as she approached the office she had selected for her first try. She tripped in, confidently, and addressed the office boy.
“Mr. Claghorn in?” she asked.
“When do you expect him?”
“Oh, any time. He’s in and out.”
“Probably won’t be back until after lunch.”
A railing shut off the hall where she stood from the office proper, where the boy was on guard. Doors opened off this central room into the private offices. There were no chairs in this hall, and the boy made no move to open the railing.
“Is that large armchair in there rented for the day?” Bambi inquired.
“Not so far as I know,” he grinned.
“Does this thing open, or do I have to jump it?” she smiled.
“Where are you goin’?”
“To the large armchair.”
“Welcome to our city,” said he, as he lifted the rail. “Nobody allowed in here except by appointment.”
“That’s all right. I understand that,” she said nonchalantly, and sank into the haven of the chair.
All the details of the office, which bored Jarvis, or which he entirely failed to see, fascinated Bambi. She set herself to the subjection of the office boy, by a request for the baseball score.
“Say, are you a fan?” he asked.
“Can’t you see it in my eye?”
He was launched. He gave her a minute biographical sketch of every player on the team, his past and future possibilities. He went over all the games of the past season, while Bambi turned an enraptured face upon him.
He was frequently interrupted by actors and actresses who came by appointment, or otherwise, and he gave her all the racy details concerning them at his disposal. By indirection she obtained a description of Claghorn, so that he might not escape her if he came in.