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the hours hung heavy between the third-floor summons, and one day, as
she lay in the hammock, a book in her hand, it came to her that she
might try it herself. She might put down her thoughts, her dreams, her
ambitions, and make a story of them. Thought and action were one with
Bambi. In five minutes' time she had pencil and paper, and had set forth
on her new adventure.

For the next few days she was so absorbed in her experiment that she
almost neglected the "Heavenly Twins." The Professor commented on her
abstraction, and Ardelia complained that "everybody in dis heah house is
crazy, all of them studyin' and writin'; yo' cain't even sing a
hallelujah but somebody is a shoutin', 'Sh!'"

Only Jarvis failed to note any change. It was too much to expect that
the great Jocelyn could concentrate on any but his own mental attitudes.

Like most facile people, Bambi was bored with her masterpiece at the end
of a week, and abandoned it without a sigh. She decided that literature
was not to be enriched by her. In fact, she never gave a thought to her
first-born child until a month after its birth, when a New York magazine
fell into her hands offering a prize of $500 for a short story. She took
out her manuscript and read it over with a sense of surprise. She
marched off to a stenographer, had it typed, and sent it to the contest,
using a pen name as a signature, and then she promptly forgot about it.

Six weeks more of hard labour brought "Success" almost to completion.
Bambi was absorbed in the play. It was undoubtedly much better; her
hopes were high that it would get a production. If only Jarvis could get
to New York with it and show it to the managers; but that meant money,
and they had none. Her busy brain spent hours scheming, but no
light came.

Then out of the blue fell a shining bolt! A long envelope, with a
magazine imprint on it, came with her morning's mail and nearly ended a
young and useful life. The editor begged to inform her that the
committee of judges had awarded her the short-story prize, that her tale
would be published in the forth-coming issue, and she would please find
check enclosed. Had she any other manuscript that they might see? Would
she honour them with a visit the next time she came to New York? They
would like to talk over a series of stories similar to the prize winner.

The Professor and Jarvis had both departed to their lairs, or they would
have witnessed the best pas seul of Bambi's life. She fluttered the
joy-bringing letter above her head, and circled the breakfast room in a
whirl of happiness. Ardelia entered as she reached her climax.

[Illustration: BAMBI FLUTTERED THE JOY-BRINGING LETTER ABOVE HER HEAD
AND CIRCLED THE BREAKFAST-ROOM IN A WHIRL OF HAPPINESS.]

"Mah good Lud, Miss Bambi, yo' sho' can dance better'n Jezebel! I 'low
the debil do git into yo', the way yo' all dance! Go 'way frum me! Don'
yo' drag me into no cunjer dance."

"Ardelia, the gods do provide!" cried Bambi. "Such unutterably crazy
good luck - to think of my getting it!"

"Did yo' get a lottery prize, Miss Bambi?"

"That's just what I got - a lottery prize."

"Foh the Lud's sake! What you gwine to do with it?"

"I am going to take Jarvis Jocelyn to New York, and between us we are
going to harness Fame and drive her home."

"Well, I don' know who Fame is, but if she's a hoss, wher' yo' goin' to
keep her when yo' get her? We ain't got no barn for her."

Bambi laughed.

"We'll stable her all right, Ardelia, if we can catch her. This is a
secret between you and me. Don't you breathe it to a soul that I have
won anything."

"No, ma'am; yo' kin trust me to the death."

"I'll bring you a present from New York if you won't tell."

She rushed off to her own room, to look over her clothes and plan.
Having married Jarvis out of hand, she would now take him on a
moneymoon; they would seek their fortune instead of love. He would
peddle his play; she would honour the publisher with a visit. She hugged
herself with joy over the prospect. She worked out various schemes by
which she could break it to Jarvis and the Professor that she had money
enough for a trip to New York, without saying how she got it.
Fortunately, they were not of an inquiring mind, so she hoped that she
could convince them without much difficulty. She tried out a scene or
two just to prove how she would do it. At luncheon she paved the way.

"How much more work is there on the play, Jarvis?"

"I ought to finish it this week," he answered. "It is good, too. It is a
first-rate play."

"You ought to go to New York with it, and see the managers," she said.

"Ugh!"

"Well, it's got to be done. You can't teach school unless you have
pupils."

"I am not a pedant," he protested.

"You're a reformer, and you've got to get something to reform."

"The work itself satisfies me."

"It doesn't satisfy me. You have got to produce and learn before you
will grow."

"You're a wise body for such a small package."

"That's the way wisdom comes."

"Perhaps, O sibyl, you will read the future and tell me how I am to
finance a trip to New York."

"Oh, the money will be provided," airily.

"Yes, I suppose it will. It always is when actual need demands it, but
how?"

"Never mind how. Just rest in the assurance that it will."

He looked at her, smiling.

"Do you know I sometimes suspect that Fate had a hand in bringing us
together? We are so alike."

"We are so alike we're different," she amended, laughing.

She waited until next day to explode her bomb.

"I think if you finish up the play this week, Jarvis, we can have it
typed early next week, and get off to New York on Friday or Saturday."

He stared at her.

"On foot?" he inquired.

"Oh, no. I find I have the money."

"You find you have it! You had that much and didn't know it?" he
exploded so loudly that the Professor came to, and paid attention.

"I am careless about these things," Bambi murmured.

"What's all this?" queried the Professor.

"What I can't see is that if you had money enough to pay up my board
bill, why you married me," continued Jarvis.

"Just one of my whims. I am so whimsical," retorted Bambi.

"Would you mind telling me?" begged the Professor.

"She's got money enough to take us to New York," repeated Jarvis.

"Thank you. I don't wish to go to that terrible place. Of all the
distressing, improbable places, New York is the worst," replied
Professor Parkhurst.

"Be calm, Professor. I was not planning to take you," soothed his
daughter.

"But what is to be done with me?" he inquired, anxiously.

"You are to be left the one sole duty of Ardelia, to be overfed and
pampered until you aren't fit to live with."

"But you can't go off alone with Jarvis."

"Why not? I am married to him."

"Yes, I suppose you are, but you seem so unmarried," he objected.

"We will have to practise up a few married poses, Jarvis. You must not
act so interested in me. Father says we don't act married."

"I am not in the least interested in you," Jarvis defended himself,
valiantly.

"There, father, could anything be more husband-like?"

"Where did you get the money, Jarvis?" the Professor asked.

"I didn't get it. She got it."

"Why, my dear," protested her father, "where did you get any money?"

"I have turned lady burglar."

"What?"

"Cheer up. It's butter-'n'-eggs money."

"Butter-'n'-eggs money?" repeated Jarvis.

"Certainly. The downtrodden farmer's wife always gives up her
butter-'n'-eggs money to save the family fortunes, or build a new barn."

"What are you talking about?" interrupted the Professor.

"I don't know why the fact that I have a little money saved up should
start a riot in this family. I have to go to New York on business, and
as Jarvis has to go to see managers about 'Success,' I merely proposed
that we go together."

"What business have you in New York, my dear?"

"My own, Professor darling."

"Excuse me," he hastened to add.

"Certainly," she replied, blithely.

"I hate New York," said Jarvis. "How long do you suppose we will have to
stay?"

"I adore New York, and we will stay as long as the money holds out."

"Would you mind stating, in round figures, how much you have?" the
Professor remarked.

"I would. I detest figures, round or oblong. I have enough."

"I hope you won't get there, and then call on me for a supply, as you
usually do, my dear. I am a little short this spring."

"You two have no confidence in me. If you will just put your trust in
Bambi, I'll mend the fortunes of this family so you will never be able
to find the patch."

The two men laughed in spite of themselves, and the matter was dropped,
but Bambi herself took the manuscript of "Success" to the stenographer,
with strict orders as to a time limit; she led Jarvis, protesting, to a
tailor's, to order a suit of clothes; she restocked him in collars,
shirts, and ties. In fact, she handled the situation like a diplomat,
buying the railroad tickets with a thrill of anticipation.

Jarvis made no protest at all, until the night before they were to
start. He came to her and offered her a little black notebook.

"What is this?"

"I want you to put down every cent we spend. This is a loan, you
understand."

"It's a gift from the gods. Go offer libations. I don't want your old
debit and credit book."

He laid his hand on her shoulder, and looked into her shining eyes.

"Good little fairy," he said, "I want to put some gold dust in the pot,
too."

"Wait until we get to the end of the rainbow."

"Just keep a record for me. My mind is such a sieve," he said, offering
the spurned black book.

"All right. Give me the Black Maria. I will ride your figures in it."

"That was a pun. You ought to be spanked."

"Oh, Jarvis, isn't it fun?" she cried to him.

"Is it? I feel that turning salesman and approaching a manager is like
marching to the block."

"Poor old dreamer! Suppose you stay home, and let me peddle the play."

"Not much. I will shoulder my own pack."

"I feel like a Crusader myself. I'd rather be _me_ than anybody on
earth."

"The most extraordinary thing about you is your rapture," he commented,
seriously.

She ran away, singing "Then Longen folke to go on Pilgrimauges."

The next day they set forth on their journey. Bambi left lists all over
the house as reminders for the Professor. Ardelia had orders enough to
manoeuvre an army. The Professor went to the station with them, and
absent-mindedly kissed Jarvis good-bye, which infuriated his victim and
nearly sent Bambi into hysterics. As the train pulled out, she leaned
from the window and called, "Go home, now, Professor!" and with a
mechanical jerk he turned and started off in the direction indicated.

"I never leave him with any comfort," she admitted to Jarvis. "He is so
apt to mislay himself."

"He always makes me think of a mechanical toy, ever since he told me
that he always counted whatever he did. I am sure that you wind him up,
like a watch, every night."

"Poor old dear! Funny I should have chosen him for a father, isn't it?"

"I think your choice of relations is distinctly queer."

"My queer relations! That's a good title. Everybody would understand it
at once."

"Thank heaven, I haven't any, queer, or otherwise."

"Didn't you ever have any?"

"No."

"Just growed?"

He nodded.

"I remember a funny old man you lived with, when I first knew you.
Wasn't he a relative?"

"No, he found me some place. What's the difference? Do you care?"

"No, I'm glad. I am sure I couldn't abide 'in-laws.'"

Over the luncheon table he suddenly looked at her, as if for the first
time. He noticed that all the eyes in the crowded diner were upon her.

"What's the matter?" she asked, intercepting his glance.

"Do people always stare at you?" he inquired.

She swept the car with an indifferent glance.

"I don't know. I never noticed."

"It's queer for us to be going off like this," he said, in a startled
tone.

"It seems perfectly natural to me. Are you embarrassed?" she asked,
suddenly aware of a new quality in him.

"No, certainly not," he defended himself.

It was five o'clock when they drew into Grand Central Station, a time
when the whole duty of man seems to be to get out of New York and into
the suburbs. An army of ants ran through the great blue-vaulted rotunda,
streaming into the narrow tunnels, where the steel horses were puffing
and steaming. The sense of rushing waters was upon Jarvis. He halted,
stunned and helpless.

"Isn't it great? All the tribes of Shem, Ham, and Japhet," cried Bambi,
at his elbow. She piloted him through - big, powerful, bewildered Jarvis.
Many a hurrying suburbanite slowed up enough to look after them, the
tall, blond giant, and a little girl with shining eyes.

"Where are we going?" Jarvis asked, with child-like confidence that she
would know.

[Illustration: "GOOD EVENING, MRS. NEW YORK, AND ALL YOU PEOPLE OUT
THERE! WE'RE HERE, JARVIS AND I."]

"Gramercy Park. We'll put up at a club. We'll act rich and take a taxi."

She ordered the driver to go down the avenue slowly, and as he jolted
around the crowded corner of Forty-second Street, on to the smooth
asphalt, Bambi leaned forward eagerly.

"Good evening, home of the books," she nodded to the Library. "Good
evening, Mrs. New York, and all you people there! We're here, Jarvis
and I."

She turned and caught his rare smile.

"You're happy, aren't you?" he remarked.

"Perfectly. I feel as if I were breathing electricity. Don't you like
all these people?"

"No, I feel that there are too many of them. There should be half as
many, and better done. Until we learn not to breed like rabbits, we will
never accomplish a creditable race."

"Such good-looking rabbits though, Jarvis."

"Yes. Sleek and empty-headed."

"All hopping uptown, to nibble something," she chuckled.

"Life is such foolishness," he said, in disgust.

"Oh, no. Life is such ecstasy," she threw back at him, as the cab drew
up to the clubhouse door.



V

Bambi was out of bed and at her window the next morning early. Her room
faced on Gramercy Park, and the early morning sun fell across the little
square so sacred to the memory of past glories, and bathed the trees in
their new green drapery with a soft, impressionistic colour. Her eyes
swept around the square, hastening over the great white apartment
buildings, our modern atrocities, to linger over the old houses, which
her swift imagination peopled with the fashion and pomp of another day.

"Spring in the city!" breathed Bambi. "Spring in New York!"

She was tempted to run to Jarvis's door and tap him awake, to drink it
in too, but she remembered that Jarvis did not care for the flesh-pots,
so she enjoyed her early hour alone. It was very quiet in the Park; only
an occasional milk wagon rattled down the street. There is a sort of
hush that comes at that hour, even in New York. The early traffic is out
of the way. The day's work is not yet begun. There comes a pause before
the opening gun is fired in the warfare of the day.

Many a gay-hearted girl has sat, as Bambi sat, looking off over the
housetops in this "City of Beautiful Nonsense," dreaming her dreams of
conquest and success. Youth makes no compromise with life. It demands
all, passionately; loses all, or wins, with anguish of spirit. So it was
with Bambi, the high-handed, imperious little mite. She willed Fame and
Fortune for Jarvis and herself in full measure. She wanted to count in
this great maelstrom of a city. She wanted two pedestals - one for Jarvis
and one for herself - to lift them above the crowd. If all the young
things who think such thoughts as these, in hall bedrooms and attic
chambers, could mount their visioned pedestals, the traffic police would
be powerless, and all the road to Albany lined like a Hall of Fame.

But, fortunately, our practical heroine took no account of failure. She
planned a campaign for Jarvis. She would go first to Belasco with his
play. Mr. Belasco would receive him at once, recognize a master mind,
and accept the play after an immediate hearing. Of course Jarvis would
insist on reading his play aloud, so that Mr. Belasco might get the
points clearly. He would come away with a thousand dollars advance
royalty in his pocket, and then would come the delicious excitement of
rehearsals, in which she would help. She saw Jarvis before the curtain
making a first-night's speech. A brilliant series of pictures followed,
with the Jarvis Jocelyns as central figures, surrounded by the wealth
and brains of New York, London, Paris!

While Jarvis was mounting like a meteor, she was making a reputation as
a writer. When her place in the literary ranks was so assured that the
_Saturday Evening Post_ accepted her stories without so much as reading
them; when everybody was asking "Who is this brilliant writer? - this
combination of O. Henry, Edith Wharton, and W.D. Howells?" then, and
only then, would she come out from behind her _nom-de-plume_ and assume
her position as Mrs. Jarvis Jocelyn, wife of the famous playwright.

So absorbed was she in her moving pictures that Jarvis's rap sounded to
her like a cannon shot.

"Yes? Who is it?" she called.

"Jarvis," he answered. "Are you ready for breakfast?"

"Just a minute," she prevaricated. "Wait for me in the library."

She plunged into her tub and donned her clothes in record time.
Fortunately, Jarvis did not fret over her tardiness. He was lost in an
article on the drama in a current magazine.

"Good morrow, my liege lord," quoth Bambi, radiant, fresh, bewitching.

"This man has no standards at all," he replied, out of the magazine.

She quietly closed it and took it from him.

"I prefer to test the breakfast standards of this club," she laughed.
"Did you sleep?" she added.

"I always sleep."

"Let's play to-day," she added, over the coffee cups.

"Play?"

"Yes. We've never been anywhere together before. I've put aside an
appropriation for amusement. I say we draw on that to-day."

"All right. Where shall we go?"

"Let's go on top of the stage to Claremont for lunch, and then we might
see some pictures this afternoon, dine here, and the theatre to-night."

"Had it all thought out, did you?"

"What would you plan?" she inquired.

"We will do my way to-morrow, and your way to-day," he said.

"All right. I promise to enjoy your way if you will promise to enjoy
mine, not just endure it scornfully."

"You must think I'm a boor."

"No. But I think that until you learn that an artist cannot afford to
scorn any phase of life that is human, you will never do great work."

He looked at her keenly.

"Fifth Avenue isn't human. It's an imitation," he objected.

"You're very young, Jarvis," she commented.

"Upon my soul," he laughed, so spontaneously that an old fogy at the
next table said audibly to his waitress, "Bride and groom," and for some
reason Bambi resented it with a flare of colour.

"It's true," she continued; "until you realize that Fifth Avenue and the
Bowery are as inevitable as the two ends of the teeter-totter, you won't
see the picture true."

"Sometimes you show a most surprising poise," he granted her. "But of
course you are not the stuff of which creative artists are made."

She chuckled, and patted her bag where the bill fold lay, with its crisp
hundreds due to some imitation of creative impulse.

"Just where, and in what, am I lacking?" she asked, most humbly.

"A creative artist would not care a fig for truth. He creates an
impression of truth out of a lie if necessary."

"But I am in the direct line from Ananias," she protested. "I inherit
creative talent of that brand."

So they laughed and chattered, in the first real companionship they had
ever known.

True to the plan, they ascended the stage at Eighteenth Street, Bambi in
a flutter of happiness. As the panorama of that most fascinating highway
unrolled before them, she constantly touched this and that and the other
object with the wand of her vivid imagination. Jarvis watched her with
amused astonishment, for the first time really thoroughly aware of her.
Again he noticed that wherever she was she was a lodestone for all eyes.
He decided that it was not beauty, in the strictest sense of the word,
but a sort of radiance which emanated from her like an aura.

Twenty-third Street cut across their path with its teeming throngs.
Madison Square lay smiling in the sunshine like a happy courtesan, with
no hint of its real use as Wayside Inn for all the old, the poor, the
derelict, whose tired feet could find refuge there. The vista of the
avenue lay ahead.

"It's like a necklace of sparkling pearls," Bambi said, with incessant
craning of her neck. "I feel like standing up and singing 'The Song of
the Bazaars.' There isn't a stuff, nor a silk, nor a gem from Araby to
Samarkand that isn't here."

"It bewitches you, doesn't it?" Jarvis commented.

"Think of the wonder of it! Camel trains, and caravans, merchant ships
on all the seas, trains, and electric trucks, all bringing the booty of
the world to this great, shining bazaar for you and me. It's thrilling."

"So it is," he agreed. "I hope you mark the proportion of shops for
men - dresses, hats, jewels, furs, motor clothes, tea rooms, candy shops,
corsetières, florists, bootmakers, all for women. Motor cars are full of
women. Are there no men in this menagerie?"

"No. They are all cliff-dwellers downtown. They probably wear loin
cloths of a fashionable cut," she laughed back at him.

"They all look just alike - so many manikins on parade. I suppose there
are distinctions in class. There must be some shopgirls in this crowd.
Can you distinguish them?" he asked.

"Oh, yes. Not by cut, for the general line is the same for 'Judy O'Grady
and the Captain's Lady,' but there is a subtle difference to the
feminine eye."

"But you don't look like all the rest of them."

"No, alas, I look distinctly suburban. All I need is a package to make
the disguise complete. Oh, Jarvis, do let's hurry and make much red
gold, so I can look like these finished things that trip up
Fifth Avenue."

"You want to be like them - like those dolls?" he scorned, with a
magnificent gesture.

"Yes. I'd like to be so putrid with wealth that I could have rows of
wardrobe trunks, with full sets of clothes for every me."

"How many of you are there?"

"Oh, lots. I've never counted myself. Some days I'd dress up like a
Broadway siren, some days I'd be a Fifth Avenue lady, or a suburbanite,
or a reformer, or a ballet dancer, or a visitor from Boston."

"What would I be doing while you were all these?"

"Oh, you'd be married to all of us. We'd keep you busy."

"The idea is appalling. A harem of misfits."

"We'd be good for your character."

"And death to my work."

"You'd know more about life when you had taken a course of us."

"Too much knowledge is a dangerous thing," he remarked. "Shall we get
off and go into the Library?"

"Not to-day. That's part of your day. I want just people and things in
mine."

"What are you to-day?" he inquired.

"An houri, a soulless houri," she retorted.

As they approached the University Club, Jarvis recognized it with scorn.

"Monument to the stupidity of modern education, probably full this
minute of provincials from Harvard and Yale, all smugly resting in the
assurance that they are men of culture."

"I adore the way you demolish worlds," Bambi sparkled up at him.

"Another monument," he remarked, indicating a new church lifting its
spires among the money-changers' booths.

"_Hic jacet,_ education and religion. Look at that slim white lady
called the Plaza."

"You ought to name her 'Miss New York.'"

"Good, Jarvis. In time you will learn to play with me."

He frowned slightly.

"I know," she added, "I am scheduled under _Interruptions_ in that
famous notebook. Unless you play with me occasionally I shall become
actively interruptive."

"You are as clever as a squirrel," he said. "Always hiding things and
finding them."

"_Hic jacet_ Bambi, along with the other self-important, modern
institutions," she sighed humbly.

They rattled across the Circle and up Broadway. Bambi was silent, bored
with its stupidity. It was not until they turned on to Riverside Drive
that her enthusiasm bubbled up again.

"Don't you love rivers?" she exclaimed, as the Hudson sparkled at them
in the sun.

"I've never known any," he replied.

"Oh, Mr. Hudson, Mr. Jocelyn," she said, instantly. "I thought, of
course, you had met."

"You absurdity!" laughed Jarvis. "What is it that you love about
rivers?"


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