The next day brought only a note from Strong congratulating her enthusiastically, and prophesying a great success for the Jocelyn family. She spent a restless day waiting for the postman, afraid to leave the house for fear she would miss a wire. She grew so nervous that she scolded Ardelia and fussed at the Professor. Night found her entirely discouraged. Something had happened. Frohman had changed his mind, or Jarvis had refused. She had known all along that it was too good to be true. She tossed all night, sleepless, her mind running around like a squirrel in a trap, planning another trip to see the manager.
The early morning found her pacing the paths of the frostbitten garden, where the Professor found her later.
“Why, good morning, Bambi mia,” said he, in surprise.
“Good day, Herr Vater!”
“What brings you forth so early, lady-bird?”
“My hateful thoughts! Oh, daddy, there’s a crick in the secret.”
“A crick? Dear me, what a pity!”
“If it doesn’t get itself straightened out to-day, I shall go to New York again, to see what I can do.”
“The companionship of a secret is often corruptive to good habits, such as sleep and appetite. Better tell me this mystery.”
“If it isn’t settled to-day, I will tell you.”
“These late asters are hardy things?”
“Yes. The rest of the poor beds are full of ghosts.”
“Ghosts always stalk, don’t they?”
He looked at her in concern. “You are upset,” he said, and they both laughed.
She followed him about for an hour, talking, watching his exact, methodical movements. The early morning air was keen, in spite of the sun. When the postman appeared on the block she ran to the gate to meet him. He was an old friend, on the route ever since she could remember.
“Hello, Miss Bambi, you’re early this morning,” he called.
“I couldn’t sleep for my sins. If you don’t give me a letter, Mr. Ben, I’ll scream.”
He laughed at her discomfited face and handed her the letter. A quick glance showed the Empire Theatre in one corner. She blew him a kiss on her finger tips.
“I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me, dear Mr. Ben. That’s it!”
“I tell you I’m a regular little Cupid. Don’t know what the girls in this town would do without me,” he laughed, as he trudged away. Bambi read:
“MY DEAR MRS. JOCELYN: It gives me pleasure to announce that Mr. Jarvis Jocelyn has almost agreed to accept the commission. I think he feels that it is condescension on his part, but he accepts conditionally. He carried off the copies of the magazine to read your story, and he is to give me his answer to-day. As I am sure of a favourable one, I think we may consider the matter settled.
“Hoping that this meets with your entire approval,