As time passed, Banneker’s editorial and personal involvements grew more complex. At what moment might a pressure from above close down on his pen, and with what demand? How should he act in the crisis thus forced, at Marrineal’s slow pleasure? Take Edmonds’s Gordian recourse; resign? But he was on the verge of debt. His investments had gone badly; he prided himself on the thought that it was partly through his own immovable uprightness. Now, this threat to his badly needed percentages! Surely The Patriot ought to be making a greater profit than it showed, on its steadily waxing circulation. Why had he ever let himself be wrenched from his first and impregnable system of a straight payment on increase of circulation? Would it be possible to force Marrineal back into that agreement? No income was too great, surely, to recompense for such trouble of soul as The Patriot inflicted upon its editorial mouthpiece.... Through the murk of thoughts shot, golden-rayed, the vision of Io.
No world could be other than glorious in which she lived and loved him and was his.
Sheltered beneath the powerful pen of Banneker, his idyll, fulfilled, lengthened out over radiant months. Io was to him all that dreams had ever promised or portrayed. Their association, flowering to the full amidst the rush and turmoil of the city, was the antithesis to its budding in the desert peace. To see the more of his mistress, Banneker became an active participant in that class of social functions which get themselves chronicled in the papers. Wise in her day and her protective instinct of love, Io pointed out that the more he was identified with her set, the less occasion would there be for comment upon their being seen together. And they were seen together much.
She lunched with him at his downtown club, dined with him at Sherry’s, met him at The Retreat and was driven back home in his car, sometimes with Archie Densmore for a third, not infrequently alone. Considerate hostesses seated them next each other at dinners: it was deemed an evidence of being “in the know” thus to accommodate them. The openness of their intimacy went far to rob calumny of its sting. And Banneker’s ingrained circumspection of the man trained in the open, applied to les convenances, was a protection in itself. Moreover, there was in his devotion, conspicuous though it was, an air of chivalry, a breath of fragrance from a world of higher romance, which rendered women in particular charitable of judgment toward the pair.
Sometimes in the late afternoon Banneker’s private numbered telephone rang, and an impersonal voice delivered a formal message. And that evening Banneker (called out of town, no matter how pressing an engagement he might have had) sat in The House With Three Eyes, now darkened of vision, thrilling and longing for her step in the dim side passage. There was risk of disaster. But Io willed to take it; was proud to take it for her lover.