He waited with a fierce hurt challenge in his eyes for irreverence and incredulity and even perhaps good-natured jeers, but Garry, sensing something big and unfamiliar, held out his hand. Kenny wrung it in passionate relief.
“What’s my balance?” he demanded.
“I’m sorry I forgot that, Kenny. It’s eight hundred and forty odd dollars.”
“As usual,” bristled Kenny, “they’re lying.”
Garry refused to discuss the point.
“And Brian, another Irish lunatic!” he marveled, shaking his head. “Did Max write you the name of the French woman?”
“Yes. ‘Twas a Madame Morny. I’ve written her. Garry, darlin’, where on earth did you find that inspired collection of green rags?”
“The bank managed somehow.”
“Weren’t they curious?”
“They were until I said the commission came from you. After that nobody asked anything.”
Kenny went with him to the door, dreading the emptiness
of the studio.
He was a little homesick for the farm.
The order was irresistibly reminiscent of Brian, of the notebook and the struggle that had driven him forth, a penitent, upon the road. The fern was dead, like the first fever of his penance. The thought upset him. Then something drew him to the door of Brian’s room and he peered in and closed it with a bang.
December found Joan with dark, happy eyes intent upon the rose-colored phantasmagoria of existence, her worriment past. Donald was safe with Brian. It hurt her a little that he did not write.
“I think, girleen,” said Kenny, intuitional as always, “that he fears to write, thinking of course you are still at the farm and would try to tempt him back. And I haven’t a doubt he’s set his teeth and vowed not to come to you until he’s made good.” As indeed he had.
After that, save for a wistful moment now and then, she seemed content, trusting Brian.
Unhappiness lay behind her like a forgotten shadow. After the loneliness and the dreams and the hills, her playtime too had come as Donald’s had come to him in Brian’s world of spring; and life was whirling around her, brilliant, breathless, kaleidoscopic and altogether beautiful, a fantastic fairyland that kept her dazzled and delighted.
It had no shadows for her wondering eyes; the shadows lay behind her. New York with its shops where with Ann she had gasped and laughed and colored and stared into mirrors, its lights, its crowds, its theaters, its opera where Max Kreiling sang and left her with a sob in her heart, its amazing Bohemia of success of which Kenny was a part, seemed to her but a never-ending sparkle of romance and kindness. She spent unwearied hours in Ann’s studio, masquerading in a sculptor’s smock and staring at clay and marble with eyes of unbelief. And she tarried for amazed intervals