“Mail them to me to-night when you go home. Better still, bring them in.”
Jarvis drew out an envelope that he pushed across the table to Strong.
“Look them over now,” he said.
Strong lifted his brows slightly, but took the proffered pages and began to read. While his host was so busied, Jarvis smoked a good cigar, the first in months, and enjoyed it. He didn’t care whether Strong liked them or not. Strong looked up suddenly.
“I’ll take these, Jocelyn. What do you want for them?”
“Oh, I don’t know. What are they worth to you?”
“I’ll pay two hundred dollars for them. Is that satisfactory?”
“I’ll mail you a check in the morning. I should say you have been learning things, Jocelyn. That is good stuff.”
“I told you I was getting a new point of view.”
At the close of the evening the two men parted with a surreptitious feeling that they would have liked each other under any other circumstances. They promised to meet soon again. As for Jarvis, he felt that a golden egg had been laid for him in the middle of the table on the Astor roof! The one thing that stood out in his mind was the thought that he could go home—home, to see Bambi. The only regret was that Strong had made it possible.
The day came, in early December, when Bambi put the last word, the last period, to her book. Instead of a moment of high relief and of pride, as she had foreseen it, it was with a sigh of regret that she laid down her pen. She felt as a mother might feel who sends her child out to make its own way when she had put her last, finishing mother-touch upon his training. There would never be another first book. No matter how crude or how young this firstling might come to seem to her, there would never be such another. No such thrills, no such building as made this first-born dear, could go in another book. Then there was the pleasure in her new bank account, with the sense of freedom it brought. She could indulge herself in pretty things. She could buy little presents for people she loved. Best of all, she laid aside an amount which she called the “Homeseeker’s Fund,” to be used for that home which she and Jarvis would establish some day. She had won her independence, and it was sweet.
Mr. Strong was attending to the publication of the story in book form. And it was to be on the Christmas stalls, appearing simultaneously with the last chapters of the magazine. He was already begging her to promise a new serial for the coming year.
It seemed incredible that so much could have happened to her in the ten months that she had been married to Jarvis. Her threatened career, which seemed such a joke to her family, was here; she was well launched upon it, with the two scoffers still in ignorance of the fact. So she mused, as she sat at her desk, the heap of completed last chapters piled before her. Ardelia broke in upon her meditations.