“Then you won’t let me help you?” he asked quite meekly, for Jerry.
“Oh, no,” she smiled coolly. “I didn’t say that. I was merely trying to show you what the difficulties are. We’re very glad to get voluntary contributions when we’re sure just what we can do with them. I know of several cases now—”
“Yes,” eagerly. “Whatever you need—”
“But five thousand—”
“Couldn’t you use it?” eagerly.
She paused and then smiled brightly across the table at him.
“I’ll try to, Jerry.”
“And the five thousand a month?” he urged. “Oh, you don’t know, Una. It isn’t a third of my income even now and later I’ve got more—so much that I’m sick thinking of it. You’ve got to use it, somehow. If you can’t help the women, use it on the men, or the children—”
“We might add a day nursery—” she murmured thoughtfully.
“Yes, that’s it—a day nursery—wonderful thing—a day nursery. Add two of ’em. You must. You’ve got to plan; and if your organization isn’t big enough to handle it, you must get the right people to help you.”
He reached across the table, upsetting a teacup, and seized her hands in both of his. “Oh, you will, Una, won’t you?”
She withdrew her hands gently and looked at him, on her lips a queer little crooked smile.
“What are you now? The philosopher, the enthusiast or the Caliph? You’re very insistent, aren’t you? I think you must be the Caliph—or the Grand Cham!”
“Then you agree?” he cried.
“I’ll try,” she said quietly.
Jerry gave a great gasp. “By Jove,” he said with a boyish laugh. “I can’t tell you what a relief it is to get this off my mind. I know I ought to be down here helping, but I—I can’t just now. Uncle Jack—that’s Ballard Junior—says I’ve got a place in the world to keep up and a lot of rubbish about—”
“That’s very right and proper—of course,” she said, gathering up her gloves.
He noted the motion.
“Oh, don’t go yet, Una. There are a lot of things I’d like to ask you.”
“I think I will have to go.”
“But you’ll let me see you and talk to you about things, won’t you?”
“Of course, I’ll have to make an accounting of your money—”
“Oh, yes—the check. You’ll get it tomorrow.”
“Your address, please,” he insisted with a stern and business-like air.
The moment was propitious. They would certainly see me when they got up, so when their heads were bent together over the slip of paper the waiter brought, I quietly rose and, braving detection, went out of the door.
JERRY GOES INTO TRAINING
Outside the restaurant I changed my plans. I decided not to go to Flynn’s that afternoon, for I wanted Jerry to understand how little I was in sympathy with his prize fight. And after the first day he no longer insisted on my going with him. But he came to Ballard’s apartment and we had several talks in which, after one final and fruitless effort to dissuade him from his fight, I gave up and we talked of other things.