“Does Jarvis know?”
“Oats, peas, beans, and barley grows,
You, nor he, nor nobody knows!”
she laughed. “It’s going to be the most amusing moment of my life when I spring it on the two of you.”
“When is that to be?”
“Curiosity is death to mathematicians,” she warned him, nor could he extract another word from behind the hand she held over her laughing mouth.
“Appointment at three o’clock, Tuesday afternoon,” announced Strong’s wire on Monday morning.
“Hurray!” shouted Bambi, rushing into the kitchen to break the news to Ardelia, since the Professor was not there.
“Noo Yawk, bress yo’! Ain’t dat fine? Yo’ gwine see Mistah Jarvis?”
“Of course I’ll see him.”
“Yo’ can tote him back home, mebbe.”
“I’ll take the early morning train to-morrow.”
“I reckon I’ll fry up some chicken an’ bake some cakes, so yo’ can tote it right along wid yo’.”
“Now, look here, Ardelia. I’m not going to pack any basket along on the train to New York. Jarvis can buy his fried chicken there.”
“He say dey ain’t no cookin’ lak’ dere is in dis town.”
“Well, it will have to do for a little longer. I’ll have my bag and plenty to carry.”
“Yo’ ain’t got no nat’chal feelin’ fo’ dat boy,” Ardelia scolded her.
When the Professor heard the news he evinced a mild surprise.
“Have you any money for this trip? I’m a trifle short, now. The bank notified me yesterday that I was overdrawn.”
“Professor, not again? What is the use of being a mathematician if you are always overdrawn?”
“The trouble is I forget to look at my balance. I just continue to draw until I am notified. You will see Jarvis, of course?”
“You say you have business to attend to in the city?”
“About the secret?”
“Is the moment of disclosure approaching?”
“Well, I wish you the best of luck, my dear.”
“Thanks, Herr Professor.”
She took the early train in high good humour the next morning, clad in her most fetching frock.
“Even a stony-hearted manager could not be impervious to this hat,” was her parting comment to her glass.
She was very undecided as to whether she would go straight to Jarvis’s lodgings and surprise him, or wait until after the interview with Frohman. She finally decided that she could not wait until four o’clock, but that she would give Jarvis no hint of the coming momentous appointment. As she came into the city, she noted the bright, crisp winter day with pleasure—very different from that spring day when she and Jarvis had entered the gates together. But to-day was to-day and she was glad of it.
She took a taxi, with that sense of affluence which attacks one like a germ on entering the City of Spenders. The driver looked at her again as she gave the address. The trim, smart little figure did not look much like the neighbourhood she was headed for. Probably one of these settlement workers, he decided.