“I wanted you sorely to-night, Miss Mite, to talk it over with me. I am always coming upon things I want to talk over with you, these days. You have such a decided way of seeing things.
“I shall not be needing any more money, because I am about to make something, on the side, for myself. Keep the Black Maria, and when the play goes we will have a mighty reckoning. I am not going to say thanks for what you and the Professor have done for me. I am going to act thanks.
“I shall read the scenario of the third act to Miss Harper to-morrow, the gods and the lady permitting. This is the third third act. I trust it will be ‘three and out,’ or, rather, three and on. My regards to the Professor and you. It is very hot here, and I relax by thinking myself in the arithmetical garden. It seems years ago since I was there. Has the Professor laid out any new figures? I think the ‘X’ bed ought to be wild orchids. He will understand.”
He took the letter out to mail, and went for another walk. The night crowds began to interest him. He planned to take a different walk every night, and learn something of this city which he was setting out to conquer.
The next morning he went from one newspaper office to another trying to get a job. His lack of experience handicapped him everywhere. Cub reporters were as thick as summer flies. He walked, to save carfare.
At three he gained admittance to Miss Harper and read her the new scenario. She decided that she liked the second one better. He arranged to go to work on it at once, so that she might have Mr. Parke read it before she sailed. The siren Hope sang a happy song to Jarvis as he swung down the drive. He had the golden apple in his grasp this time.
“I’m coming, oh, you people,” he apostrophized them with his old assurance. “You’ll hear from me soon!”
He celebrated his coming fortune with a fifty-cent table d’hote, to which he did full justice. Up in the hot hall bedroom he took stock of ammunition. If he went light on food, he could afford to keep right at the play until he finished it. He estimated just what amount he could spend a day, and divided up his cash into the daily portion, each in an envelope. He purchased an alcohol stove and a coffee-pot, and set to work.
There were only twelve days in which to do or die, and he went at it in a frenzy. Day faded into night, night faded into day, marked only by the thumping of the outraged chambermaid, at whom he thundered. When he remembered, he dashed out for food, but for the most part he drank coffee, and more coffee.
Once he went for a long walk. He could never remember, afterward, whether it was day or night. But during it he thought out a new scene, and ran miles to get back and get it down. He grew thinner and more hollow-eyed each day, but he cared for nothing but accomplishing this thing. He knew the act was good. He felt sure Miss Harper would like it.