This gave her the chance she wanted.
“You seem to be unaware, my dear Jarvis, that in offering a rude rebuff to Mr. Strong you offended me, since he is my good friend and came to see you at my request. I think you made as poor an impression on him as he did upon you, at the time of your meeting, and it was as a politeness to me that he came to look you up. I think an apology to both of us is rather necessary.”
A week elapsed, with no reply. Then came a characteristic answer:
“DEAR BAMBI: Please find enclosed copy of apology sent Strong to-day. I don’t like him, but I have apologized. I also apologize to you. Please don’t omit letters any more. They mean a great deal these days.”
She pondered this for some time. That Jarvis was going through new and trying experiences she realized. But this human appeal for her letters was so unlike the old Jarvis that she had to read it many times to believe it was actually there.
She wrote him at once, accepting his apology gracefully.
“Can’t you come out for a few days’ rest here, and go back in time to hear Frohman’s verdict? We’d love to have you, especially the Professor and Ardelia.”
He answered that it was impossible to get away now. Later, possibly, he might come. He was grateful for the invitation. He never mentioned how he lived, and she did not ask him. The Professor’s check he returned, with a note of thanks, saying he did not need it. The summer went by and fall came to town. Still there was no word of his return.
“My, this is a fat letter from Jarvis! Frohman must have accepted the play!” exclaimed Bambi one morning in September. She opened out the thick, folded paper.
“It’s poetry,” she added. “‘Songs of the Street,’ If he’s gone back to poetry, I’m afraid he’s lost.”
She began to glance through them.
“My dear, I’ve asked you for coffee twice.”
“These are powerful and ugly. Think of Jarvis seeing these things.”
“Coffee,” reiterated the Professor.
“Yes, yes. You must read these. They’re upsetting. I wonder what is happening to Jarvis.”
“Is he in trouble?”
“No, he doesn’t say so. But there’s a new note in these.”
“Coffee,” repeated the Professor, patiently.
“For goodness’ sake, father, stop shouting coffee. You are the epitome of the irritating this morning.”
“I always am until I have my coffee.”
All day long Bambi thought about Jarvis’s “Street Songs.” It was not the things themselves. They were crude enough, in spots, but it was the new sense in Jarvis that made him see and understand human suffering. She felt an irresistible impulse to take the next train and go to him. Would he be glad to see her? For the first time she wanted him, eagerly. But the impulse passed, and weeks stretched into months. She worked steadily at the book, which grew apace. She loved every word of it. Sometimes she wondered what would become of her without that work, during this waiting time, while Jarvis was making his career. For, in her mind, she always thought of herself and her writing as a side issue of no moment. Jarvis’s work was the big, important thing in her life.