by F. Scott Fitzgerald Красивая и проклят Ф. Скотт Фицджеральд
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Глава II. симпозиум
Глория была убаюкать ум Энтони спать. Она, казалось, всех женщин мудрейших и лучших, висел как блестящий занавес через его дверные проемы, перекрывая свет солнца. В те первые годы, что он считал расточку неизменно штампом Глория; он увидел солнце всегда через шаблон занавеса.
Это был своего рода апатии , которая привела их к Мариетта еще летом. Через золотой расслабляющего весной они слонялись, своенравным и лениво экстравагантный, вдоль побережья Калифорнии, соединяя другие стороны периодически и дрейфует из Пасадены в Коронадо, от Coronado в Санта-Барбаре, без цели более очевидной, чем желание Глории танцевать разную музыку или наловить бесконечно малый вариант среди меняющихся цвета моря. Из Тихого океана там поднялся, чтобы приветствовать их дикие Rocklands и одинаково варварские корчмы, что построенные на чай времени можно было бы дремать в томной плетеной базар воспетого поло костюмы Саутгемптоне и Лейк-Форест и Ньюпорт и Палм-Бич. И, как волны встретились и плеснул и сверкали в большинстве Плэсиде бухт, чтобы они присоединились к этой группе и что, и с ними сдвинуты станций, бормоча когда-либо из тех странных несущественной gaieties в ожидании как раз над следующей зеленой и плодотворной долины.
Простой здоровый отдых класса это - лучший из мужчин не неприятно - студентов , они , казалось, на вечный список кандидатов для некоторых etherealized "Porcellian" или "Череп и Кости" вытягивается на неопределенное время в мире; женщины, более чем средней красоты, fragilely спортивных, несколько идиотским, как хостесс, но очаровательной и бесконечно декоративной в качестве гостей. Степенно и изящно они танцевали шаги своего выбора в ароматных часов чая, совершая с определенным достоинством движения так ужасно бурлеск писарем и хористки страны старше. Казалось, парадоксально, что в этой одинокой и дискредитировали потомства искусств американцы должны преуспеть, бесспорно.
После танцевал и плеснул через щедрыми весной, Энтони и Глория обнаружили , что они потратили слишком много денег , и для этого необходимо перейти на пенсию в течение определенного периода. Был Энтони "работа", сказали они. Почти прежде, чем они знали, что они вернулись в сером доме, более осведомлены теперь, когда другие любители были там спали, другие имена были вызваны над перилами, другие пары сидели на крыльце, наблюдая серо-зеленые поля и черную массу лесов за его пределами.
Это был тот же Энтони, более беспокойный, склонный к оживится только под раздражителя нескольких высоких шариков, слегка, почти незаметно, апатичны к Глории. Но Глория - она будет двадцать четыре в августе и был в привлекательной, но искренней паники по этому поводу. Шесть лет до тридцати! Если бы она была меньше в любви с Энтони ее чувство полета времени бы выразилось в пробудился интерес к другим мужчинам, в преднамеренной целью извлечения переходную отблеск романтики от каждого потенциального любовника, который взглянул на нее с опущенными бровями над сияющий обеденный стол. Она сказала, что Энтони один день:
"Как я чувствую, что если я хочу что - нибудь я возьму его. Это то, что я всегда думал , что всю свою жизнь. Но бывает , что я хочу тебя, и поэтому я просто нет места для каких - либо других желаний."
Они были связаны в восточном направлении через выжженную и неживой Индиане, и она оторвалась от одного из своих любимых журналов киноизображения , чтобы найти случайный разговор вдруг серьезным.
Энтони нахмурился в окно автомобиля. По трассе пересекла проселок фермер появился на мгновение в его вагоне; он жевал соломинку, и по-видимому, тот же фермер, как они прошли десятки раз перед тем, сидя в тихой и злокачественного символизма. Как Энтони повернулся к Глории его хмуриться усилилась.
"Вы меня беспокоить," возразил он; "Я могу представить себе другую женщину , желая при определенных обстоятельствах преходящих, но я не могу себе представить , взяв ее."
"Но я не чувствую , что путь, Энтони я не могу быть обеспокоен сопротивляются вещи , которые я хочу , чтобы мой путь не хотеть их -.. Не хочу никого , кроме тебя."
"О, не будь идиотом!" воскликнула она. "Там не было бы ничего случайного об этом. И я не могу даже представить себе такую возможность."
Это решительно закрыл разговор. неизменная благодарность Энтони сделало ее счастливее в своей компании, чем в любой другой-х. Она, безусловно, понравилось ему - она его любила. Так что лето началось очень много, как было раньше один.
Там был, однако, одно радикальное изменение ведения хозяйства. Ледяным сердцем Скандинавский, чья строгая кулинария и язвительный манера ожидания на столе была настолько подавленной Глория, уступила чрезвычайно эффективным японцев, чье имя было Tanalahaka, но кто признался, что он внял повесток, которые включали двусложное «Тана».
Тана был необычайно мал даже для японца, и показал несколько наивное представление о себе как о человеке мира. В день своего прибытия из "Р. Gugimoniki, японского Reliable агентства занятости," позвал он Энтони в свою комнату, чтобы увидеть сокровища своего ствола. Они включали в себя большую коллекцию японских почтовых открыток, который он все для объяснения своему работодателю сразу же, в индивидуальном порядке и на большой длине. Среди них были полдюжины порнографического намерения и явно американского происхождения, хотя производители были скромно опущены обе свои имена и форму для отправки. Затем он привел некоторые из его собственных рук - пару американских штанов, которые он сделал сам, и двух костюмов твердого шелковое белье. Он сообщил Энтони доверительно, как к цели, для которой эти последние были защищены. Следующая выставка была довольно хорошая копия офорта Авраама Линкольна, на лице которого он дал безошибочное японский оттенок. Последний пришел на флейте; он сделал это сам, но он был сломан: он собирался это исправить в ближайшее время.
После этих вежливых формальностей, которые Энтони предполагаемыми должен быть родным для Японии, Тана произнес длинную разглагольствовать в раздробленной английском языке на отношения господина и слуги , из которого Энтони понял , что он работал на крупных поместий , но всегда ссорился с другими слугами , потому что они не были честными. Они прекрасно провели время над словом "честно" и в самом деле стал весьма раздражали друг с другом, потому что Энтони упорно упорно, что Тана пытался сказать "шершней", и даже пошли в меру жужжание в виде пчелы и взмахивая руками, чтобы подражать крылья.
После того, как три четверти часа Энтони был освобожден с теплой гарантией того, что они будут иметь другие хорошие чатов , в которых Тана бы сказать " , как мы делаем в моем countree."
Такой был словоохотлив премьера Tana в сером доме - и он выполнил свое обещание. Хотя он был добросовестным и честным, он был, несомненно, потрясающий отверстие. Казалось, он не в состоянии контролировать свой язык, иногда продолжая от пункта к пункту с выражением сродни боли в маленьких коричневых глазах.
Воскресенье и понедельник после обеда он читал комические разделы газет. Один из мультфильма, который содержал шуточный японский дворецкий переадресованы его чрезвычайно, хотя он утверждал, что главный герой, который Энтони появился явно восточный, действительно американское лицо. Трудность с забавным бумаги было то, что, когда, опираясь на Энтони, он прописано три последние фотографии и ассимилировали их контекст с концентрацией, безусловно, адекватной для Канта "Критика", он совершенно забыл, что первые фотографии были о.
В середине июня Энтони и Глория отметили свой первый юбилей, имея «дата». Энтони постучал в дверь, и она побежала, чтобы позволить ему. Потом они сидели на диване, призывающей над этими именами они созданы друг для друга, новые комбинации нежностей возрастов старых. Тем не менее, к этому "дата" не была приложена не ослабленный доброй ночи с его экстаза сожаления.
Позже в ужасе июня покосился на Глории, ударил по ней и напугал ее светлую душу обратно половину поколения. Затем медленно она затухать, утрачен обратно в ту непроницаемую тьму, откуда он пришел - с неумолимо его капельку молодежи.
С безошибочным чувством драматическое он выбрал маленькую железнодорожную станцию в убогом селе возле Portchester. Платформа станции лежал весь день голой как прерии, подвергаются воздействию пыльной желтого солнца и с первого взгляда этого наиболее неприятному типу земляка, который живет рядом с метрополией и достиг своей дешевой декоративность без его урбанистики. Дюжина этих мужички, с красными глазами, унылая, как пугала, видел инцидент. Смутно он прошел через их запутанных и непонимающими умов, принятых на его самом широком для грубой шутки, на ее тончайших для «стыда». В то же время там на платформе мера яркости исчезла из мира.
С Эриком Merriam, Энтони сидел над графином Scotch всего жаркий летний день, в то время как Глория и Констанс Merriam плавали и sunned себя в Beach Club, последний под полосатой зонтиков-тентом, Глория растянуты чувственно на мягком горячем песке , кожевенное ее неизбежные ноги. Позже они были все четыре играли с несущественным бутербродов; Затем Глория поднялась, коснувшись коленом Энтони со своим зонтом, чтобы привлечь его внимание.
"Мы должны идти, дорогая."
"Теперь?" Он смотрел на нее с неохотой. В этот момент ничего, казалось, большее значение, чем на холостом ходу на что теневые питьевой крыльцо смягчился виски, в то время как его хозяин вспоминала нескончаемо на какой-то эпизод из забытой политической кампании.
"Мы действительно должны идти," повторил Глория. "Мы можем получить такси к станции .... Давай, Энтони!" она командовала немного более властно.
"Теперь видим here--" Merriam, его нити обрезаны, сделал обычные возражения, тем временем провокационно стекловолокнистой своего гостя с высоким шаром , который должен был быть потягивал через десять минут. Но в Глории раздражен "Мы действительно должны!" Энтони выпил, поднялся на ноги и сделал сложный поклон к его хозяйке.
"Это кажется , что мы 'должен," сказал он, с небольшим количеством благодати.
В течение минуты он следовал Глория вниз садовую прогулку между высокими роз кусты, ее зонт от солнца мягко задевая Июнь-цветущий листья. Большинство невнимателен, подумал он, когда они дошли до дороги. Он почувствовал, с травмированной наивности, что Глория не должна прерываться такой невинной и безвредную наслаждение. Виски оба успокоенный и выяснены беспокойных вещи в своем уме. Ему пришло в голову, что она приняла это такое же отношение несколько раз. Он всегда был отступить от приятных эпизодов при прикосновении зонта или мерцанием ее глаза? Его нежелание размыты к недоброжелательности, который вырос в нем, как пузырь непреодолимой. Он молчал, извращенно ингибирующие желание обижайте ее. Они нашли такси перед Inn; ехали молча к маленькой станции ....
Тогда Энтони знал , что он хотел - чтобы утвердить свою волю против этой холодной и непроницаемой девушки, чтобы получить с одним великолепным усилием мастерством , что , казалось , бесконечно желательным.
"Давайте перейдем к увидеть Barneses," сказал он , не глядя на нее. "Я не чувствую, как идти домой."
--Г-жа. Барнс, урожденная Rachael Jerryl, имел место летом в нескольких милях от RedGate.
"Мы пошли туда позавчера," ответила она в ближайшее время .
"Я уверен , что они были бы рады видеть нас." Он чувствовал, что это не было достаточно сильной ноте, напрягся упорно, и добавил: ". Я хочу, чтобы увидеть Barneses у меня нет никакого желания вернуться домой."
"Ну, у меня нет никакого желания идти к Barneses."
Внезапно они смотрели друг на друга.
"Почему, Энтони," сказала она с досадой, "это воскресенье ночью , и они , вероятно , есть гости на ужин. Почему мы должны идти в этом hour--"
"Тогда почему мы не могли бы остаться в Merriams '?" выпалил он. "Зачем идти домой, когда у нас были вполне приличное время? Они попросили нас на ужин."
"Они должны были. Дайте мне деньги , и я получу железнодорожные билеты."
"Я , конечно, не! Я не в юмор для поездки в эту чертову горячего поезда."
Глория топнула ногой на платформе.
"Энтони, вы будете действовать , как если бы вы крепко!"
"О , наоборот, я совершенно трезв."
Но его голос скользнул в сиплым ключ и она знала , что с полной уверенностью , что это не соответствует действительности.
"Если вы трезвые , вы дадите мне деньги за билеты."
Но это было слишком поздно , чтобы говорить с ним таким образом. По его мнению был всего лишь одной идеей - что Глория была эгоисткой, что она всегда была эгоисткой и будет продолжать быть, если здесь и сейчас он утверждал себя в качестве своего хозяина. Это было поводом для всех случаев, так как для наитию она лишила его удовольствия. Его решимость затвердевает, подошел моментально тупую и угрюмую ненависть.
"Я не пойду в поезде," сказал он, его голос дрожал немного от гнева. "Мы собираемся к Barneses."
"Я не так !" воскликнула она. "Если вы идете, я иду домой в одиночку."
"Иди дальше, то."
Без слова она повернулась к кассе; Одновременно он вспомнил, что у нее какие-то деньги с ней, и что это не было своего рода победой он хотел, в то он должен иметь. Он сделал шаг вслед за ней и схватил ее за руку.
"Смотрите здесь!" пробормотал он, "ты не будешь один!"
"Я , конечно , я - почему, Энтони!" Это восклицание, как она попыталась отстраниться от него, и он только крепче хватку.
Он смотрел на нее прищуренными и злонамеренных глазами.
"Пусть идут!" Ее крик был качество свирепости. "Если у вас есть какие - либо порядочность вы отпустить."
"Зачем?" Он знал, почему. Но он взял запутанный и не вполне уверенно гордиться держит ее там.
"Я иду домой, ты понимаешь? И ты меня отпустить!"
"Нет, не я."
Ее глаза горели прямо сейчас.
"Ли вы собираетесь сделать сцену здесь?"
"Я говорю , вы не собираетесь! Я устал от своей вечной эгоизмом!"
"Я только хочу пойти домой." Два гневные слезы начали из ее глаз.
"Это время вы собираетесь делать то , что я говорю."
Медленно ее тело выпрямлены: ее голова вернулась в знак бесконечного презрения.
"Я тебя ненавижу!" Ее низкие слова были изгнаны, как яд сквозь стиснутые зубы. "О, позвольте мне уйти! О, я тебя ненавижу!" Она попыталась рывком себя прочь, но он только взялся за другую руку. "Я ненавижу тебя! Я тебя ненавижу!"
В ярости Глории его неуверенность вернулась, но он чувствовал , что теперь он зашел слишком далеко , чтобы сдаться. Казалось , что он всегда давал в и что в ее сердце она презирает его за это. Ах, она могла бы ненавидеть его сейчас, но потом она восхищаюсь его за господство.
Приближается поезд выдавал предостерегающих сирена , которая упала театрально к ним вниз по сверкающих голубых дорожек. Глория дернул и напряженными, чтобы освободиться, и слова старше Книги Бытия пришел к ее губам.
"Ах, ты скотина!" она рыдала. "Ах, ты скотина! О, я тебя ненавижу! Ах ты скотина! Oh--"
На перроне другие потенциальные пассажиры начинают поворачиваться и смотреть; гул поезда было слышно, она увеличилась до шуме. Усилия Глория удвоены, а затем прекратились, и она стояла в трепете и горячей глазами на это беспомощное унижение, так как двигатель взревел и загремел на станцию.
Низкий, ниже поток пара и шлифовке тормоза пришли ее голос:
"О, если бы был один человек , здесь вы не могли бы сделать это! Вы не могли бы сделать это! Ты трус! Трус, О, ты трус!"
Энтони, молчит, дрожа себя, схватил ее жестко, понимая , что грани, десятки из них, как ни странно, непоколебим тени сна, были в отношении него. Затем колокола дистиллированных металлические аварии, которые были похожи на физическую боль, дым-стеки не залпами в медленном ускорении на небе, и в настоящее время шума и серой газовой турбулентности линия граней пробежал, тронулся, стал нечетким - пока вдруг там было только солнце косо на восток через дорожки и громкость звука снижается далеко, как поезд, сделанный из олова грома. Он опустил руки. Он выиграл.
Теперь, если он пожелает, он может смеяться. Испытание было сделано, и он выдержал его волю с применением насилия. Пусть смягчения ответственности прогулка по следам победы.
"Мы будем арендовать автомобиль здесь и ехать обратно в Мариетта," сказал он с прекрасным запасом.
Для ответа Глория схватила его за руку обеими руками и поднимая ее ко рту немного глубоко в его большой палец. Он едва заметил боль; видя спурт крови, он рассеянно вынул носовой платок и завернул рану. Это тоже было частью триумфа как он полагал, - это было неизбежно, что поражение должно быть, таким образом возмущались - и как таковой был под уведомления.
Она всхлипывала, почти без слез, глубоко и горько.
"Я не пойду , я не пойду You -! Не могу - сделать - мне - иди You've - you've убил любую любовь , которую я когда - либо имел для вас, и никакого уважения. Но все , что осталось во мне бы умереть , прежде чем я бы перейти от этого места. о, если бы я думал , что вы возложите руки на me-- "
"Вы собираетесь со мной," сказал он грубо, "если я должен нести вас."
Он повернулся, подозвал такси, велел водителю ехать в Мариетта. Человек спешился и распахнул дверь. Энтони столкнулся со своей женой и сказал между его стиснутые зубы:
"Будете ли вы получаете в -? Или я поставить вас в?"
С приглушенным криком бесконечной боли и отчаяния она дала себя и сел в машину.
Все длинная поездка, через растущей темноте сумерек, она сидела , забившись в ее сторону автомобиля, ее молчание нарушил изредка сухой и одиночной рыданием. Энтони смотрел в окно, его ум работает тускло на медленно меняющейся значимости того, что произошло. Что-то было не так - что последний крик Глории ударил аккорд, который вторит и Посмертно несоответствующим беспокойству в его сердце. Он должен быть правильным - тем не менее, она казалась такой жалкой вещь теперь, сломанный и подавленный, униженный сверх меры ее много, чтобы иметь. разрывались Рукава ее платья; ее зонт от солнца ушел, забыл на платформе. Это был новый костюм, он вспомнил, и она была так гордился этим, что самое утро, когда они вышли из дома .... Он начал интересно, если кто-нибудь знал, что они видели инцидент. И упорно там повторялись ему ее крик:
"Все , что осталось во мне бы die--"
Это дало ему запутанную и растущее беспокойство. Ни для установлены так хорошо с Глорией, который лежал в углу - уже не гордый Глория, ни Глория он знал. Он спрашивал себя, если бы это было возможно. В то время как он не верил, что она перестанет любить его - это, конечно, было немыслимо - это было еще проблематичны ли Глория без ее высокомерия, ее независимость, ее девственной уверенность и смелость, была бы девушка его славы, лучистого женщина, которая была драгоценным и обаятельным, потому что она была несказанно, торжествующе сама.
Он был очень пьян , даже тогда, настолько пьян, чтобы не воплотить в жизнь свою собственную опьянение. Когда они достигли серый дом он пошел в свою комнату и, его разум до сих пор борьба беспомощно и сумрачно с тем, что он сделал, упал в глубокий ступор на его кровати.
Это было после того, как один час , и зал казался необычайно тихо , когда Глория, широко распахнутыми глазами и бессонная, пройденный его и распахнул дверь своей комнаты. Он был слишком одурманен, чтобы открыть окна, и воздух был затхлым и толстый с виски. Она стояла на мгновение своей кровати, стройным, изысканно изящную фигуру в ее мальчишеской шелковой пижаме - то самозабвенно бросилась на него, наполовину разбудив его в бешеном эмоции ее объятия, сбросив ее теплые слезы на его горле.
"О, Энтони!" воскликнула она страстно, «О, моя дорогая, вы не знаете, что вы сделали!"
Еще утром, приходя рано в ее комнату, он опустился на колени возле ее кровати и плакал , как маленький мальчик, как будто это было его сердце , которое было разбито.
"Это , казалось, вчера вечером," сказала она серьезно, ее пальцы играют в его волосах, "что вся часть меня вы любили, та часть , которая стоит знать, все гордость и огонь ушел. Я знал , что то , что было слева от меня всегда будет любить тебя, но никогда в совершенно таким же образом. "
Тем не менее, она знала даже тогда , что она забудет вовремя и что это образ жизни редко , чтобы ударить , но всегда стираться. После этого утром инцидент никогда не было упомянуто и его глубокая рана зажила с рукой Энтони - и если бы была восторжествовать какой-то темная сила, чем у них завладели ею, обладали знаниями и победу.
Глория независимость, как и все искренние и глубокие качества, начала бессознательно, но, как только доведенные до ее внимания со стороны очарованный открытием Энтони этого, оно приняло более почти пропорции формального кода. Из ее разговора можно было бы предположить, что вся ее энергия и жизненная сила вошла в насильственное утверждение отрицательного принципа "Никогда не наплевать."
"Не для чего - нибудь или кого - либо," сказала она, "кроме себя и, косвенно, для Энтони. Это правило всей жизни , и если бы не было я бы так или иначе. Nobody'd сделать что - нибудь для меня , если она не ублажать их, и я хотел бы сделать, как мало для них. "
Она была на переднем крыльце прекраснейших дама в Мариетта , когда она сказала это, и когда она закончила она дала любопытный маленький крик и упал замертво на пол крыльца.
Дама принесла ее и повез ее домой в своей машине. Это произошло в почтенной Глория, что она, вероятно, с ребенком.
Она лежала на длинной гостиной вниз по лестнице. День ускользает тепло из окна, прикасаясь поздние розы на столбах крыльца.
"Все , я думаю , что когда - либо в том , что я люблю тебя," простонала она. "Я ценю свое тело, потому что вы думаете, что это красиво и это тело мое. - Твой - вырастала у него уродливые и бесформенные Это просто невыносимо О, Энтони, я не боюсь боли?.."
Он утешал ее отчаянно - но тщетно. Она продолжала:
"И тогда после этого я мог бы иметь широкие бедра и быть бледным, со всей моей свежести ушла и не сиянии в моих волосах."
Он расхаживал по комнате, засунув руки в карманы, спрашивая:
"Является ли он уверен?"
"Я ничего не знаю. Я всегда ненавидел obstrics, или как вы их называете. Я думал , что есть ребенок какое - то время. Но не сейчас."
"Ну, ради бога, не лежат там и разлетаться на куски."
Ее рыдания впала. Она навлек милосердное молчание от сумерек, который заполнил комнату. "Включите свет," умоляла она. "В эти дни кажутся настолько коротки - июнь, казалось - - иметь - больше дней, когда я была маленькой девочкой."
Эти огни щелкнул , и это было , как будто голубые занавеси нежнейшего шелка были сняты за окнами и дверью. Ее бледность, ее неподвижность, без печали сейчас, или радость, пробудила сочувствие.
"У Вы хотите , чтобы у меня это?" безучастно спросила она.
"Я равнодушен То есть, я нейтрально Если у вас есть это , я, вероятно , будет рад , если вы не -... Ну, что все в порядке тоже."
"Я хочу , чтобы ты Решайтесь один так или иначе!"
"Предположим , вы сделаете свой ум."
Она посмотрела на него с презрением, презирая ответить.
"Вы бы думал , что ты был признан одним из всех женщин в мире для этого венчающего унижений."
"Что , если я делаю!" она закричала сердито. "Это не является унижением для них. Это их одно оправдание для жизни. Это единственное , что они хороши для. Это оскорбление для меня.
"Смотрите здесь, Глория, я с тобой все , что вы делаете, но ради Бога быть спортом об этом."
"О, не суетиться у меня!" причитала она.
Они обменялись немой взгляд не имеют особого значения , но гораздо стресса. Затем Энтони взял книгу с полки и опустился на стул.
Половина через час ее голос вышел из напряженной тишине , которая пронизывала комнату и повесила как ладан на воздухе.
"Я буду ездить и увидеть Constance Merriam завтра."
"Все в порядке. И я пойду к Тэрритауне и увидеть Grampa."
"--Вы См" , добавила она, "это не то, что я боюсь. - Это или что - нибудь еще я быть верен мне, вы знаете."
"Я знаю," согласился он.
Адам патч, в благочестивой ярости против немцев, питались на военные новости. Pin карты оштукатурены его стены; атласы были сложены глубоко на столах удобные в руке вместе с "фотографической Истории мировой войны", официальных Объяснения-Alls, а "личные впечатления" военных корреспондентов и рядовым X, Y и Z. Несколько раз во время визита Энтони секретарь его деда, Эдвард Шаттлворт, одноразовый "Завершенный Gin-врач" из "Место Пат" в Хобокен, теперь обуты праведного негодования, будет появляться с дополнительным. Старик напал на каждую бумагу с неустанной яростью, вырывая те столбцы, которые казались ему достаточной для сохранения беременности и, засунув их в одном из своих уже выпученными файлов.
"Ну, что вы делали?" он спросил Энтони невозмутимо. "Ничего? Ну, я так и думал. Я намеревался ехать и увидеть вас, все лето."
"Я пишу Разве вы не помните эссе я послал вас -.? Тот , который я продал флорентийцу прошлой зимой"
"Очерк? Вы никогда не послал мне никакого эссе."
"О, да, я сделал. Мы говорили об этом."
Адам патч слегка покачал головой.
"О, нет. Ты никогда не послал мне никакого эссе. Вы можете подумать , что вы послали , но это никогда не доходили до меня."
"Почему, вы читаете это, Grampa," настаивал Энтони, несколько раздраженный, "Вы читаете это и не согласен с ним."
Старик вдруг вспомнил, но это было сделано очевидным лишь частичное падение с открытым изо рта, показывая ряды серых десен. Присматривается Энтони с зеленым и древний взгляд он колебался между исповедуя свою ошибку и покрывая ее.
"Так что вы пишете," сказал он быстро. "Ну, почему бы тебе не пойти и писать об этих немцев? Напишите что-то реальное, что-то о том, что происходит, то, что люди могут читать."
"Никто не может быть военным корреспондентом," возразил Энтони. "Вы должны иметь некоторую газету готовы купить ваши вещи. И я не могу сэкономить деньги, чтобы перейти в качестве внештатного."
"Я пошлю тебя снова," неожиданно предложил своему деду. "Я возьму тебя в качестве уполномоченного корреспондентом любой газеты Вы выбираете."
Энтони отшатнулся от идеи - почти одновременно он ограничен к нему.
Он должен был бы оставить Глория, вся жизнь которого жаждали к нему и окутал его. Глория была в беде. О, дело не представлялось возможным - все же - он видел себя в цвета хаки, опираясь, как и все военные корреспонденты постное, на тяжелую палку, портфель на плечо - пытаясь выглядеть как англичанин. "Я хотел бы, чтобы обдумать это," он признался. "Это, конечно, очень мило с вашей стороны. Я подумаю, и я дам вам знать."
Мышление его над поглощаются его на пути в Нью - Йорк. Он был одним из тех внезапных вспышек освещения удостоил всех мужчин, которые преобладают сильной и любимой женщины, которые показывают им мир труднее мужчин, более яростно обучен и борется с абстракциями мысли и войны. В этом мире будет существовать герб Глория только как горячие объятия шанса любовнице, хладнокровно искал и быстро забыли ....
Эти незнакомые фантомы были скученности тесно о нем , когда он сел на поезд для Мариетта, в Центрального вокзала. Автомобиль был переполнен; он обеспечил последнее вакантное место, и это было только после того, как несколько минут, что он дал даже случайный взгляд на человека рядом с ним. Когда он увидел, что он тяжелый рельеф челюсти и носа, изогнутым подбородок и маленькие, пыхтел-под глазами. В настоящее время он признал Джозефа Bloeckman.
Одновременно они оба привстал, были наполовину смущенный, и обменивались , что составляло половину рукопожатия. Затем, как бы завершить дело, они оба смеялись половину.
"Хорошо" , заметил Энтони без вдохновения, "Я не видел вас в течение длительного времени." Он сразу же пожалел о своих словах и начал добавлять: "Я не знаю, что ты жил этот путь." Но Bloeckman, предупредив его, спрашивая приятно:
"Как ваша жена? ..."
"Она очень хорошо. Как поживаешь?"
"Отлично." Его тон усиливается величие слова.
Это казалось Энтони , что в течение последнего года Bloeckman был чрезвычайно вырос в своем достоинстве. Вареное взгляд ушел, казалось, что он "сделал" наконец. Кроме того, он больше не был одетый слишком нарядно. Неадекватное несерьезность он влияет на связи, уступили крепкой темным рисунком, а его правая рука, которая ранее отображаться два тяжелых кольца, теперь невиновным орнамента и даже без сырого свечения маникюра.
Это достоинство появились также в его личности. Последняя аура успешного путешествия человека-выцвели от него, что намеренное заискивания из которых самая низкая форма является похабные шутки в курильщика Pullman. Один представлял себе, что, будучи увивается в финансовом отношении, он достиг отчужденность; будучи пренебрежительно в социальном отношении, он приобрел скрытность. Но что бы ни дал ему вес вместо навалом, Энтони больше не чувствовал правильное превосходство в его присутствии.
"D'вы помните карамель, Ричард Карамель? Я считаю , что вы встретились с ним одну ночь."
"Я помню. Он писал книгу."
"Ну, он продал его в кино. Тогда они имели некоторый сценарий человек по имени Джордан работать над этим. Ну, Дик подписывается на Бюро вырезок , и он в ярости , потому что рецензенты около половины фильма говорят о" власти и силы Уильяма Джордана " Demon Lover "." не говоря уже старый Дик вообще. Можно подумать, что этот парень Джордан на самом деле задумана и разработана вещь. "
Bloeckman всесторонне кивнул.
"Большинство контрактов утверждают , что имя первого писателя идет во все оплаченной рекламы. Является ли Карамель еще писать?"
"О, да. Запись трудно. Короткие истории" .
"Ну, это нормально, это хорошо .... Вы на этом поезде часто?"
"О один раз в неделю. Мы живем в Мариетта."
"Является ли это так? Ну, хорошо! Я живу недалеко от Cos COB себя. Купил там место только в последнее время . Мы всего пять миль друг от друга."
"Вы должны прийти и посмотреть на нас." Энтони был удивлен своей собственной вежливости. "Я уверен, что Gloria'd будет рад видеть старого друга Anybody'll сказать вам, где дом. - Это наш второй сезон там."
"Благодарю вас." Затем, как бы возвращая дополнительную вежливость: «Как твой дед?"
"Он был хорошо. У меня был обед с ним в день."
«А отличный персонаж," строго сказал Bloeckman. "Прекрасный пример американца."
Энтони нашел его жена глубоко в гамаке крыльцо сладострастно занимается с лимонадом и бутерброд помидор и несущий на явно радостном разговоре с Тана на одной из сложных тем Тана в.
"В моем countree" Энтони признал его неизменный предисловие, "все время - народы - едят рис. - Потому что нет не может есть то , что не получили." Если бы его не было национальности отчаянно очевидно можно было бы подумать, что он приобрел свои знания о своей родной земли от американской начальной школы географических регионах.
Когда Восточный был хлюпала и освобождаемый на кухню, Энтони повернулся к вопросительно Глория:
"Это все в порядке," объявила она, широко улыбаясь. "И это удивило меня больше, чем это делает вас."
"Там нет сомнений?"
"Никто! Не может быть!"
Они радовались счастью, геем снова с возрожденной безответственности. Потом он рассказал ей о своей возможности уехать за границу, и что он был почти стыдно отклонить его.
"Что ты думаешь? Просто скажи мне , если честно."
"Почему, Энтони!" Ее глаза были поражены. "Вы хотите пойти? Без меня?"
Его лицо вытянулось - все же он знал, с вопросом его жены, что это было слишком поздно. Ее руки, сладкие и душит, были вокруг него, потому что он сделал все такие выборы еще в этой комнате на площади за год до этого. Это был анахронизм от возраста таких снов.
"Глория" соврал он, в большом порыве понимания, "я , конечно , не. Я думал , вы могли бы пойти , как медсестра или что - то." He wondered dully if his grandfather would consider this.
As she smiled he realized again how beautiful she was, a gorgeous girl of miraculous freshness and sheerly honorable eyes. She embraced his suggestion with luxurious intensity, holding it aloft like a sun of her own making and basking in its beams. She strung together an amazing synopsis for an extravaganza of martial adventure.
After supper, surfeited with the subject, she yawned. She wanted not to talk but only to read "Penrod," stretched upon the lounge until at midnight she fell asleep. But Anthony, after he had carried her romantically up the stairs, stayed awake to brood upon the day, vaguely angry with her, vaguely dissatisfied.
"What am I going to do?" he began at breakfast. "Here we've been married a year and we've just worried around without even being efficient people of leisure."
"Yes, you ought to do something," she admitted, being in an agreeable and loquacious humor. This was not the first of these discussions, but as they usually developed Anthony in the role of protagonist, she had come to avoid them.
"It's not that I have any moral compunctions about work," he continued, "but grampa may die to-morrow and he may live for ten years. Meanwhile we're living above our income and all we've got to show for it is a farmer's car and a few clothes. We keep an apartment that we've only lived in three months and a little old house way off in nowhere. We're frequently bored and yet we won't make any effort to know any one except the same crowd who drift around California all summer wearing sport clothes and waiting for their families to die."
"How you've changed!" remarked Gloria. "Once you told me you didn't see why an American couldn't loaf gracefully."
"Well, damn it, I wasn't married. And the old mind was working at top speed and now it's going round and round like a cog-wheel with nothing to catch it. As a matter of fact I think that if I hadn't met you I would have done something. But you make leisure so subtly attractive--"
"Oh, it's all my fault--"
"I didn't mean that, and you know I didn't. But here I'm almost twenty-seven and--"
"Oh," she interrupted in vexation, "you make me tired! Talking as though I were objecting or hindering you!"
"I was just discussing it, Gloria. Can't I discuss--"
"I should think you'd be strong enough to settle--"
"--something with you without--"
"--your own problems without coming to me. You talk a lot about going to work. I could use more money very easily, but I'm not complaining. Whether you work or not I love you." Her last words were gentle as fine snow upon hard ground. But for the moment neither was attending to the other--they were each engaged in polishing and perfecting his own attitude.
"I have worked--some." This by Anthony was an imprudent bringing up of raw reserves. Gloria laughed, torn between delight and derision; she resented his sophistry as at the same time she admired his nonchalance. She would never blame him for being the ineffectual idler so long as he did it sincerely, from the attitude that nothing much was worth doing.
"Work!" она усмехнулась. "Oh, you sad bird! You bluffer! Work--that means a great arranging of the desk and the lights, a great sharpening of pencils, and 'Gloria, don't sing!' and 'Please keep that damn Tana away from me,' and 'Let me read you my opening sentence,' and 'I won't be through for a long time, Gloria, so don't stay up for me,' and a tremendous consumption of tea or coffee. And that's all. In just about an hour I hear the old pencil stop scratching and look over. You've got out a book and you're 'looking up' something. Then you're reading. Then yawns--then bed and a great tossing about because you're all full of caffeine and can't sleep. Two weeks later the whole performance over again."
With much difficulty Anthony retained a scanty breech-clout of dignity.
"Now that's a slight exaggeration. You know darn well I sold an essay to The Florentine--and it attracted a lot of attention considering the circulation of The Florentine. And what's more, Gloria, you know I sat up till five o'clock in the morning finishing it."
She lapsed into silence, giving him rope. And if he had not hanged himself he had certainly come to the end of it.
"At least," he concluded feebly, "I'm perfectly willing to be a war correspondent."
But so was Gloria. They were both willing--anxious; they assured each other of it. The evening ended on a note of tremendous sentiment, the majesty of leisure, the ill health of Adam Patch, love at any cost.
"Anthony!" she called over the banister one afternoon a week later, "there's some one at the door." Anthony, who had been lolling in the hammock on the sun-speckled south porch, strolled around to the front of the house. A foreign car, large and impressive, crouched like an immense and saturnine bug at the foot of the path. A man in a soft pongee suit, with cap to match, hailed him.
"Hello there, Patch. Ran over to call on you."
It was Bloeckman; as always, infinitesimally improved, of subtler intonation, of more convincing ease.
"I'm awfully glad you did." Anthony raised his voice to a vine-covered window: "Glor-i- a ! We've got a visitor!"
"I'm in the tub," wailed Gloria politely.
With a smile the two men acknowledged the triumph of her alibi.
"She'll be down. Come round here on the side-porch. Like a drink? Gloria's always in the tub--good third of every day."
"Pity she doesn't live on the Sound."
"Can't afford it."
As coming from Adam Patch's grandson, Bloeckman took this as a form of pleasantry. After fifteen minutes filled with estimable brilliancies, Gloria appeared, fresh in starched yellow, bringing atmosphere and an increase of vitality.
"I want to be a successful sensation in the movies," she announced. "I hear that Mary Pickford makes a million dollars annually."
"You could, you know," said Bloeckman. "I think you'd film very well."
"Would you let me, Anthony? If I only play unsophisticated roles?"
As the conversation continued in stilted commas, Anthony wondered that to him and Bloeckman both this girl had once been the most stimulating, the most tonic personality they had ever known--and now the three sat like overoiled machines, without conflict, without fear, without elation, heavily enamelled little figures secure beyond enjoyment in a world where death and war, dull emotion and noble savagery were covering a continent with the smoke of terror.
In a moment he would call Tana and they would pour into themselves a gay and delicate poison which would restore them momentarily to the pleasurable excitement of childhood, when every face in a crowd had carried its suggestion of splendid and significant transactions taking place somewhere to some magnificent and illimitable purpose.... Life was no more than this summer afternoon; a faint wind stirring the lace collar of Gloria's dress; the slow baking drowsiness of the veranda.... Intolerably unmoved they all seemed, removed from any romantic imminency of action. Even Gloria's beauty needed wild emotions, needed poignancy, needed death....
"... Any day next week," Bloeckman was saying to Gloria. "Here--take this card. What they do is to give you a test of about three hundred feet of film, and they can tell pretty accurately from that."
"How about Wednesday?"
"Wednesday's fine. Just phone me and I'll go around with you--"
He was on his feet, shaking hands briskly--then his car was a wraith of dust down the road. Anthony turned to his wife in bewilderment.
"You don't mind if I have a trial, Anthony. Just a trial? I've got to go to town Wednesday, any how."
"But it's so silly! You don't want to go into the movies--moon around a studio all day with a lot of cheap chorus people."
"Lot of mooning around Mary Pickford does!"
"Everybody isn't a Mary Pickford."
"Well, I can't see how you'd object to my try ing."
"I do, though. I hate actors."
"Oh, you make me tired. Do you imagine I have a very thrilling time dozing on this damn porch?"
"You wouldn't mind if you loved me."
"Of course I love you," she said impatiently, making out a quick case for herself. "It's just because I do that I hate to see you go to pieces by just lying around and saying you ought to work. Perhaps if I did go into this for a while it'd stir you up so you'd do something."
"It's just your craving for excitement, that's all it is."
"Maybe it is! It's a perfectly natural craving, isn't it?"
"Well, I'll tell you one thing. If you go to the movies I'm going to Europe."
"Well, go on then! I'm not stopping you!"
To show she was not stopping him she melted into melancholy tears. Together they marshalled the armies of sentiment--words, kisses, endearments, self-reproaches. They attained nothing. Inevitably they attained nothing. Finally, in a burst of gargantuan emotion each of them sat down and wrote a letter. Anthony's was to his grandfather; Gloria's was to Joseph Bloeckman. It was a triumph of lethargy.
One day early in Jul y Anthony, returned from an afternoon in New York, called up-stairs to Gloria. Receiving no answer he guessed she was asleep and so went into the pantry for one of the little sandwiches that were always prepared for them. He found Tana seated at the kitchen table before a miscellaneous assortment of odds and ends--cigar-boxes, knives, pencils, the tops of cans, and some scraps of paper covered with elaborate figures and diagrams.
"What the devil you doing?" demanded Anthony curiously.
Tana politely grinned.
"I show you," he exclaimed enthusiastically. "I tell--"
"You making a dog-house?"
"No, sa." Tana grinned again. "Make typewutta."
"Yes, sa. I think, oh all time I think, lie in bed think 'bout typewutta."
"So you thought you'd make one, eh?"
"Wait. I tell."
Anthony, munching a sandwich, leaned leisurely against the sink. Tana opened and closed his mouth several times as though testing its capacity for action. Then with a rush he began:
"I been think--typewutta--has, oh, many many many many thing . Oh many many many many." "Many keys. I see."
"No-o? Yes -key! Many many many many lettah. Like so abc."
"Yes, you're right."
"Wait. I tell." He screwed his face up in a tremendous effort to express himself: "I been think--many words--end same. Like ing."
"You bet. A whole raft of them."
"So--I make--typewutta--quick. Not so many lettah--"
"That's a great idea, Tana. Save time. You'll make a fortune. Press one key and there's 'ing.' Hope you work it out."
Tana laughed disparagingly. "Wait. I tell--" "Where's Mrs. Patch?"
"She out. Wait, I tell--" Again he screwed up his face for action. " My typewutta----"
"Where is she?"
"Here--I make." He pointed to the miscellany of junk on the table.
"I mean Mrs. Patch."
"She out." Tana reassured him. "She be back five o'clock, she say."
"Down in the village?"
"No. Went off before lunch. She go Mr. Bloeckman."
"Went out with Mr. Bloeckman?"
"She be back five."
Without a word Anthony left the kitchen with Tana's disconsolate "I tell" trailing after him. So this was Gloria's idea of excitement, by God! His fists were clenched; within a moment he had worked himself up to a tremendous pitch of indignation. He went to the door and looked out; there was no car in sight and his watch stood at four minutes of five. With furious energy he dashed down to the end of the path--as far as the bend of the road a mile off he could see no car--except--but it was a farmer's flivver. Then, in an undignified pursuit of dignity, he rushed back to the shelter of the house as quickly as he had rushed out.
Pacing up and down the living room he began an angry rehearsal of the speech he would make to her when she came in--
"So this is love!" he would begin--or no, it sounded too much like the popular phrase "So this is Paris!" He must be dignified, hurt, grieved. Anyhow--"So this is what you do when I have to go up and trot all day around the hot city on business. No wonder I can't write! No wonder I don't dare let you out of my sight!" He was expanding now, warming to his subject. "I'll tell you," he continued, "I'll tell you--" He paused, catching a familiar ring in the words--then he realized--it was Tana's "I tell."
Yet Anthony neither laughed nor seemed absurd to himself. To his frantic imagination it was already six--seven--eight, and she was never coming! Bloeckman finding her bored and unhappy had persuaded her to go to California with him....
--There was a great to-do out in front, a joyous "Yoho, Anthony!" and he rose trembling, weakly happy to see her fluttering up the path. Bloeckman was following, cap in hand.
"Dearest!" воскликнула она.
"We've been for the best jaunt--all over New York State."
"I'll have to be starting home," said Bloeckman, almost immediately. "Wish you'd both been here when I came."
"I'm sorry I wasn't," answered Anthony dryly. When he had departed Anthony hesitated. The fear was gone from his heart, yet he felt that some protest was ethically apropos. Gloria resolved his uncertainty.
"I knew you wouldn't mind. He came just before lunch and said he had to go to Garrison on business and wouldn't I go with him. He looked so lonesome, Anthony. And I drove his car all the way."
Listlessly Anthony dropped into a chair, his mind tired--tired with nothing, tired with everything, with the world's weight he had never chosen to bear. He was ineffectual and vaguely helpless here as he had always been. One of those personalities who, in spite of all their words, are inarticulate, he seemed to have inherited only the vast tradition of human failure--that, and the sense of death.
"I suppose I don't care," he answered.
One must be broad about these things, and Gloria being young, being beautiful, must have reasonable privileges. Yet it wearied him that he failed to understand.
She rolled over on her back and lay still for a moment in the great bed watching the February sun suffer one last attenuated refinement in its passage through the leaded panes into the room. For a time she had no accurate sense of her whereabouts or of the events of the day before, or the day before that; then, like a suspended pendulum, memory began to beat out its story, releasing with each swing a burdened quota of time until her life was given back to her.
She could hear, now, Anthony's troubled breathing beside her; she could smell whiskey and cigarette smoke. She noticed that she lacked complete muscular control; when she moved it was not a sinuous motion with the resultant strain distributed easily over her body--it was a tremendous effort of her nervous system as though each time she were hypnotizing herself into performing an impossible action....
She was in the bathroom, brushing her teeth to get rid of that intolerable taste; then back by the bedside listening to the rattle of Bounds's key in the outer door.
"Wake up, Anthony!" she said sharply.
She climbed into bed beside him and closed her eyes. Almost the last thing she remembered was a conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Lacy. Mrs. Lacy had said, "Sure you don't want us to get you a taxi?" and Anthony had replied that he guessed they could walk over to Fifth all right. Then they had both attempted, imprudently, to bow--and collapsed absurdly into a battalion of empty milk bottles just outside the door. There must have been two dozen milk bottles standing open-mouthed in the dark. She could conceive of no plausible explanation of those milk bottles. Perhaps they had been attracted by the singing in the Lacy house and had hurried over agape with wonder to see the fun. Well, they'd had the worst of it--though it seemed that she and Anthony never would get up, the perverse things rolled so....
Still, they had found a taxi. "My meter's broken and it'll cost you a dollar and a half to get home," said the taxi driver. "Well," said Anthony, "I'm young Packy McFarland and if you'll come down here I'll beat you till you can't stand up." ...At that point the man had driven off without them. They must have found another taxi, for they were in the apartment....
"What time is it?" Anthony was sitting up in bed, staring at her with owlish precision.
This was obviously a rhetorical question. Gloria could think of no reason why she should be expected to know the time.
"Golly, I feel like the devil!" muttered Anthony dispassionately. Relaxing, he tumbled back upon his pillow. "Bring on your grim reaper!"
"Anthony, how'd we finally get home last night?"
"Ой!" Then, after a pause: "Did you put me to bed?"
"I don't know. Seems to me you put me to bed. What day is it?"
"Tuesday? I hope so. If it's Wednesday, I've got to start work at that idiotic place. Supposed to be down at nine or some such ungodly hour."
"Ask Bounds," suggested Gloria feebly.
"Bounds!" он звонил.
Sprightly, sober--a voice from a world that it seemed in the past two days they had left forever, Bounds sprang in short steps down the hall and appeared in the half darkness of the door.
"What day, Bounds?"
"February the twenty-second, I think, sir."
"I mean day of the week."
"Tuesday, sir." "Благодаря." After a pause: "Are you ready for breakfast, sir?"
"Yes, and Bounds, before you get it, will you make a pitcher of water, and set it here beside the bed? I'm a little thirsty."
Bounds retreated in sober dignity down the hallway.
"Lincoln's birthday," affirmed Anthony without enthusiasm, "or St. Valentine's or somebody's. When did we start on this insane party?"
"After prayers?" he suggested sardonically.
"We raced all over town in those hansoms and Maury sat up with his driver, don't you remember? Then we came home and he tried to cook some bacon--came out of the pantry with a few blackened remains, insisting it was 'fried to the proverbial crisp.'"
Both of them laughed, spontaneously but with some difficulty, and lying there side by side reviewed the chain of events that had ended in this rusty and chaotic dawn.
They had been in New York for almost four months, since the country had grown too cool in late October. They had given up California this year, partly because of lack of funds, partly with the idea of going abroad should this interminable war, persisting now into its second year, end during the winter. Of late their income had lost elasticity; no longer did it stretch to cover gay whims and pleasant extravagances, and Anthony had spent many puzzled and unsatisfactory hours over a densely figured pad, making remarkable budgets that left huge margins for "amusements, trips, etc.," and trying to apportion, even approximately, their past expenditures.
He remembered a time when in going on a "party" with his two best friends, he and Maury had invariably paid more than their share of the expenses. They would buy the tickets for the theatre or squabble between themselves for the dinner check. It had seemed fitting; Dick, with his naivete and his astonishing fund of information about himself, had been a diverting, almost juvenile, figure--court jester to their royalty. But this was no longer true. It was Dick who always had money; it was Anthony who entertained within limitations--always excepting occasional wild, wine-inspired, check-cashing parties--and it was Anthony who was solemn about it next morning and told the scornful and disgusted Gloria that they'd have to be "more careful next time."
In the two years since the publication of "The Demon Lover," Dick had made over twenty-five thousand dollars, most of it lately, when the reward of the author of fiction had begun to swell unprecedentedly as a result of the voracious hunger of the motion pictures for plots. He received seven hundred dollars for every story, at that time a large emolument for such a young man--he was not quite thirty--and for every one that contained enough "action" (kissing, shooting, and sacrificing) for the movies, he obtained an additional thousand. His stories varied; there was a measure of vitality and a sort of instinctive in all of them, but none attained the personality of "The Demon Lover," and there were several that Anthony considered downright cheap. These, Dick explained severely, were to widen his audience. Wasn't it true that men who had attained real permanence from Shakespeare to Mark Twain had appealed to the many as well as to the elect?
Though Anthony and Maury disagreed, Gloria told him to go ahead and make as much money as he could--that was the only thing that counted anyhow....
Maury, a little stouter, faintly mellower, and more complaisant, had gone to work in Philadelphia. He came to New York once or twice a month and on such occasions the four of them travelled the popular routes from dinner to the theatre, thence to the Frolic or, perhaps, at the urging of the ever-curious Gloria, to one of the cellars of Greenwich Village, notorious through the furious but short-lived vogue of the "new poetry movement."
In January, after many monologues directed at his reticent wife, Anthony determined to "get something to do," for the winter at any rate. He wanted to please his grandfather and even, in a measure, to see how he liked it himself. He discovered during several tentative semi-social calls that employers were not interested in a young man who was only going to "try it for a few months or so." As the grandson of Adam Patch he was received everywhere with marked courtesy, but the old man was a back number now--the heyday of his fame as first an "oppressor" and then an uplifter of the people had been during the twenty years preceding his retirement. Anthony even found several of the younger men who were under the impression that Adam Patch had been dead for some years.
Eventually Anthony went to his grandfather and asked his advice, which turned out to be that he should enter the bond business as a salesman, a tedious suggestion to Anthony, but one that in the end he determined to follow. Sheer money in deft manipulation had fascinations under all circumstances, while almost any side of manufacturing would be insufferably dull. He considered newspaper work but decided that the hours were not ordered for a married man. And he lingered over pleasant fancies of himself either as editor of a brilliant weekly of opinion, an American Mercure de France, or as scintillant producer of satiric comedy and Parisian musical revue. However, the approaches to these latter guilds seemed to be guarded by professional secrets. Men drifted into them by the devious highways of writing and acting. It was palpably impossible to get on a magazine unless you had been on one before.
So in the end he entered, by way of his grandfather's letter, that Sanctum Americanum where sat the president of Wilson, Hiemer and Hardy at his "cleared desk," and issued therefrom employed. He was to begin work on the twenty-third of February.
In tribute to the momentous occasion this two-day revel had been planned, since, he said, after he began working he'd have to get to bed early during the week. Maury Noble had arrived from Philadelphia on a trip that had to do with seeing some man in Wall Street (whom, incidentally, he failed to see), and Richard Caramel had been half persuaded, half tricked into joining them. They had condescended to a wet and fashionable wedding on Monday afternoon, and in the evening had occurred the denouement: Gloria, going beyond her accustomed limit of four precisely timed cocktails, led them on as gay and joyous a bacchanal as they had ever known, disclosing an astonishing knowledge of ballet steps, and singing songs which she confessed had been taught her by her cook when she was innocent and seventeen. She repeated these by request at intervals throughout the evening with such frank conviviality that Anthony, far from being annoyed, was gratified at this fresh source of entertainment. The occasion was memorable in other ways--a long conversation between Maury and a defunct crab, which he was dragging around on the end of a string, as to whether the crab was fully conversant with the applications of the binomial theorem, and the aforementioned race in two hansom cabs with the sedate and impressive shadows of Fifth Avenue for audience, ending in a labyrinthine escape into the darkness of Central Park. Finally Anthony and Gloria had paid a call on some wild young married p eople--the Lacys--and collapsed in the empty milk bottles.
Morning now--theirs to add up the checks cashed here and there in clubs, stores, restaurants. Theirs to air the dank staleness of wine and cigarettes out of the tall blue front room, to pick up the broken glass and brush at the stained fabric of chairs and sofas; to give Bounds suits and dresses for the cleaners; finally, to take their smothery half-feverish bodies and faded depressed spirits out into the chill air of February, that life might go on and Wilson, Hiemer and Hardy obtain the services of a vigorous man at nine next morning.
"Do you remember," called Anthony from the bathroom, "when Maury got out at the corner of One Hundred and Tenth Street and acted as a traffic cop, beckoning cars forward and motioning them back? They must have thought he was a private detective."
After each reminiscence they both laughed inordinately, their overwrought nerves responding as acutely and janglingly to mirth as to depression.
Gloria at the mirror was wondering at the splendid color and freshness of her face--it seemed that she had never looked so well, though her stomach hurt her and her head was aching furiously.
The day passed slowly. Anthony, riding in a taxi to his broker's to borrow money on a bond, found that he had only two dollars in his pocket. The fare would cost all of that, but he felt that on this particular afternoon he could not have endured the subway. When the taximetre reached his limit he must get out and walk.
With this his mind drifted off into one of its characteristic day-dreams.... In this dream he discovered that the metre was going too fast--the driver had dishonestly adjusted it. Calmly he reached his destination and then nonchalantly handed the man what he justly owed him. The man showed fight, but almost before his hands were up Anthony had knocked him down with one terrific blow. And when he rose Anthony quickly sidestepped and floored him definitely with a crack in the temple.
... He was in court now. The judge had fined him five dollars and he had no money. Would the court take his check? Ah, but the court did not know him. Well, he could identify himself by having them call his apartment.
... They did so. Yes, it was Mrs. Anthony Patch speaking--but how did she know that this man was her husband? How could she know? Let the police sergeant ask her if she remembered the milk bottles ...
He leaned forward hurriedly and tapped at the glass. The taxi was only at Brooklyn Bridge, but the metre showed a dollar and eighty cents, and Anthony would never have omitted the ten per cent tip.
Later in the afternoon he returned to the apartment. Gloria had also been out--shopping--and was asleep, curled in a corner of the sofa with her purchase locked securely in her arms. Her face was as untroubled as a little girl's, and the bundle that she pressed tightly to her bosom was a child's doll, a profound and infinitely healing balm to her disturbed and childish heart.
It was with this party, more especially with Gloria's part in it, that a decided change began to come over their way of living. The magnificent attitude of not giving a damn altered overnight; from being a mere tenet of Gloria's it became the entire solace and justification for what they chose to do and what consequence it brought. Not to be sorry, not to loose one cry of regret, to live according to a clear code of honor toward each other, and to seek the moment's happiness as fervently and persistently as possible.
"No one cares about us but ourselves, Anthony," she said one day. "It'd be ridiculous for me to go about pretending I felt any obligations toward the world, and as for worrying what people think about me, I simply don't , that's all. Since I was a little girl in dancing-school I've been criticised by the mothers of all the little girls who weren't as popular as I was, and I've always looked on criticism as a sort of envious tribute."
This was because of a party in the "Boul' Mich'" one night, where Constance Merriam had seen her as one of a highly stimulated party of four. Constance Merriam, "as an old school friend," had gone to the trouble of inviting her to lunch next day in order to inform her how terrible it was.
"I told her I couldn't see it," Gloria told Anthony. "Eric Merriam is a sort of sublimated Percy Wolcott--you remember that man in Hot Springs I told you about--his idea of respecting Constance is to leave her at home with her sewing and her baby and her book, and such innocuous amusements, whenever he's going on a party that promises to be anything but deathly dull."
"Did you tell her that?"
"I certainly did. And I told her that what she really objected to was that I was having a better time than she was."
Anthony applauded her. He was tremendously proud of Gloria, proud that she never failed to eclipse whatever other women might be in the party, proud that men were always glad to revel with her in great rowdy groups, without any attempt to do more than enjoy her beauty and the warmth of her vitality.
These "parties" gradually became their chief source of entertainment. Still in love, still enormously interested in each other, they yet found as spring drew near that staying at home in the evening palled on them; books were unreal; the old magic of being alone had long since vanished--instead they preferred to be bored by a stupid musical comedy, or to go to dinner with the most uninteresting of their acquaintances, so long as there would be enough cocktails to keep the conversation from becoming utterly intolerable. A scattering of younger married people who had been their friends in school or college, as well as a varied assortment of single men, began to think instinctively of them whenever color and excitement were needed, so there was scarcely a day without its phone call, its "Wondered what you were doing this evening." Wives, as a rule, were afraid of Gloria--her facile attainment of the centre of the stage, her innocent but nevertheless disturbing way of becoming a favorite with husbands--these things drove them instinctively into an attitude of profound distrust, heightened by the fact that Gloria was largely unresponsive to any intimacy shown her by a woman.
On the appointed Wednesday in February Anthony had gone to the imposing offices of Wilson, Hiemer and Hardy and listened to many vague instructions delivered by an energetic young man of about his own age, named Kahler, who wore a defiant yellow pompadour, and in announcing himself as an assistant secretary gave the impression that it was a tribute to exceptional ability.
"There's two kinds of men here, you'll find," he said. "There's the man who gets to be an assistant secretary or treasurer, gets his name on our folder here, before he's thirty, and there's the man who gets his name there at forty-five. The man who gets his name there at forty-five stays there the rest of his life."
"How about the man who gets it there at thirty?" inquired Anthony politely.
& quot;Why, he gets up here, you see." He pointed to a list of assistant vice-presidents upon the folder. "Or maybe he gets to be president or secretary or treasurer."
"And what about these over here?"
"Those? Oh, those are the trustees--the men with capital."
"Now some people," continued Kahler, "think that whether a man gets started early or late depends on whether he's got a college education. But they're wrong."
"I had one; I was Buckleigh, class of nineteen-eleven, but when I came down to the Street I soon found that the things that would help me here weren't the fancy things I learned in college. In fact, I had to get a lot of fancy stuff out of my head."
Anthony could not help wondering what possible "fancy stuff" he had learned at Buckleigh in nineteen-eleven. An irrepressible idea that it was some sort of needlework recurred to him throughout the rest of the conversation.
"See that fellow over there?" Kahler pointed to a youngish-looking man with handsome gray hair, sitting at a desk inside a mahogany railing. "That's Mr. Ellinger, the first vice-president. Been everywhere, seen everything; got a fine education."
In vain did Anthony try to open his mind to the romance of finance; he could think of Mr. Ellinger only as one of the buyers of the handsome leather sets of Thackeray, Balzac, Hugo, and Gibbon that lined the walls of the big bookstores.
Through the damp and uninspiring month of March he was prepared for salesmanship. Lacking enthusiasm he was capable of viewing the turmoil and bustle that surrounded him only as a fruitless circumambient striving toward an incomprehensible goal, tangibly evidenced only by the rival mansions of Mr. Frick and Mr. Carnegie on Fifth Avenue. That these portentous vice-presidents and trustees should be actually the fathers of the "best men" he had known at Harvard seemed to him incongruous.
He ate in an employees' lunch-room up-stairs with an uneasy suspicion that he was being uplifted, wondering through that first week if the dozens of young clerks, some of them alert and immaculate, and just out of college, lived in flamboyant hope of crowding onto that narrow slip of cardboard before the catastrophic thirties. The conversation that interwove with the pattern of the day's work was all much of a piece. One discussed how Mr. Wilson had made his money, what method Mr. Hiemer had employed, and the means resorted to by Mr. Hardy. One related age-old but eternally breathless anecdotes of the fortunes stumbled on precipitously in the Street by a "butcher" or a "bartender," or "a darn mess enger boy, by golly!" and then one talked of the current gambles, and whether it was best to go out for a hundred thousand a year or be content with twenty. During the preceding year one of the assistant secretaries had invested all his savings in Bethlehem Steel. The story of his spectacular magnificence, of his haughty resignation in January, and of the triumphal palace he was now building in California, was the favorite office subject. The man's very name had acquired a magic significance, symbolizing as he did the aspirations of all good Americans. Anecdotes were told about him--how one of the vice-presidents had advised him to sell, by golly, but he had hung on, even bought on margin, "and now look where he is!"
Such, obviously, was the stuff of life--a dizzy triumph dazzling the eyes of all of them, a gypsy siren to content them with meagre wage and with the arithmetical improbability of their eventual success.
To Anthony the notion became appalling. He felt that to succeed here the idea of success must grasp and limit his mind. It seemed to him that the essential element in these men at the top was their faith that their affairs were the very core of life. All other things being equal, self-assurance and opportunism won out over technical knowledge; it was obvious that the more expert work went on near the bottom--so, with appropriate efficiency, the technical experts were kept there.
His determination to stay in at night during the week did not survive, and a good half of the time he came to work with a splitting, sickish headache and the crowded horror of the morning subway ringing in his ears like an echo of hell.
Then, abruptly, he quit. He had remained in bed all one Monday, and late in the evening, overcome by one of those attacks of moody despair to which he periodically succumbed, he wrote and mailed a letter to Mr. Wilson, confessing that he considered himself ill adapted to the work. Gloria, coming in from the theatre with Richard Caramel, found him on the lounge, silently staring at the high ceiling, more depressed and discouraged than he had been at any time since their marriage.
She wanted him to whine. If he had she would have reproached him bitterly, for she was not a little annoyed, but he only lay there so utterly miserable that she felt sorry for him, and kneeling down she stroked his head, saying how little it mattered, how little anything mattered so long as they loved each other. It was like their first year, and Anthony, reacting to her cool hand, to her voice that was soft as breath itself upon his ear, became almost cheerful, and talked with her of his future plans. He even regretted, silently, before he went to bed that he had so hastily mailed his resignation.
"Even when everything seems rotten you can't trust that judgment," Gloria had said. "It's the sum of all your judgments that counts."
In mid-April came a letter from the real-estate agent in Marietta, encouraging them to take the gray house for another year at a slightly increased rental, and enclosing a lease made out for their signatures. For a week lease and letter lay carelessly neglected on Anthony's desk. They had no intention of returning to Marietta. They were weary of the place, and had been bored most of the preceding summer. Besides, their car had deteriorated to a rattling mass of hypochondriacal metal, and a new one was financially inadvisable.
But because of another wild revel, enduring through four days and participated in, at one time or another, by more than a dozen people, they did sign the lease; to their utter horror they signed it and sent it, and immediately it seemed as though they heard the gray house, drably malevolent at last, licking its white chops and waiting to devour them.
"Anthony, where's that lease?" she called in high alarm one Sunday morning, sick and sober to reality. "Where did you leave it? It was here!"
Then she knew where it was. She remembered the house party they had planned on the crest of their exuberance; she remembered a room full of men to whose less exhilarated moments she and Anthony were of no importance, and Anthony's boast of the transcendent merit and seclusion of the gray house, that it was so isolated that it didn't matter how much noise went on there. Then Dick, who had visited them, cried enthusiastically that it was the best little house imaginable, and that they were idiotic not to take it for another summer. It had been easy to work themselves up to a sense of how hot and deserted the city was getting, of how cool and ambrosial were the charms of Marietta. Anthony had picked up the lease and waved it wildly, found Gloria happily acquiescent, and with one last burst of garrulous decision during which all the men agreed with solemn handshakes that they would come out for a visit ...
"Anthony," she cried, "we've signed and sent it!"
"What the devil!"
"Oh, An thony!" There was utter misery in her voice. For the summer, for eternity, they had built themselves a prison. It seemed to strike at the last roots of their stability. Anthony thought they might arrange it with the real-estate agent. They could no longer afford the double rent, and going to Marietta meant giving up his apartment, his reproachless apartment with the exquisite bath and the rooms for which he had bought his furniture and hangings--it was the closest to a home that he had ever had--familiar with memories of four colorful years.
But it was not arranged with the real-estate agent, nor was it arranged at all. Dispiritedly, without even any talk of making the best of it, without even Gloria's all-sufficing "I don't care," they went back to the house that they now knew heeded neither youth nor love--only those austere and incommunicable memories that they could never share.
The Sinister Summer
There was a horror in the house that summer. It came with them and settled itself over the place like a sombre pall, pervasive through the lower rooms, gradually spreading and climbing up the narrow stairs until it oppressed their very sleep. Anthony and Gloria grew to hate being there alone. Her bedroom, which had seemed so pink and young and delicate, appropriate to her pastel-shaded lingerie tossed here and there on chair and bed, seemed now to whisper with its rustling curtains:
"Ah, my beautiful young lady, yours is not the first daintiness and delicacy that has faded here under the summer suns ... generations of unloved women have adorned themselves by that glass for rustic lovers who paid no heed.... Youth has come into this room in palest blue and left it in the gray cerements of despair, and through long nights many girls have lain awake where that bed stands pouring out waves of misery into the darkness."
Gloria finally tumbled all her clothes and unguents ingloriously out of it, declaring that she had come to live with Anthony, and making the excuse that one of her screens was rotten and admitted bugs. So her room was abandoned to insensitive guests, and they dressed and slept in her husband's chamber, which Gloria considered somehow "good," as though Anthony's presence there had acted as exterminator of any uneasy shadows of the past that might have hovered about its walls.
The distinction between "good" and "bad," ordered early and summarily out of both their lives, had been reinstated in another form. Gloria insisted that any one invited to the gray house must be "good," which, in the case of a girl, meant that she must be either simple and reproachless or, if otherwise, must possess a certain solidity and strength. Always intensely sceptical of her sex, her judgments were now concerned with the question of whether women were or were not clean. By uncleanliness she meant a variety of things, a lack of pride, a slackness in fibre and, most of all, the unmistakable aura of promiscuity.
"Women soil easily," she said, "far more easily than men. Unless a girl's very young and brave it's almost impossible for her to go down-hill without a certain hysterical animality, the cunning, dirty sort of animality. A man's different--and I suppose that's why one of the commonest characters of romance is a man going gallantly to the devil."
She was disposed to like many men, preferably those who gave her frank homage and unfailing entertainment--but often with a flash of insight she told Anthony that some one of his friends was merely using him, and consequently had best be left alone. Anthony customarily demurred, insisting that the accused was a "good one," but he found that his judgment was more fallible than hers, memorably when, as it happened on several occasions, he was left with a succession of restaurant checks for which to render a solitary account.
More from their fear of solitude than from any desire to go through the fuss and bother of entertaining, they filled the house with guests every week-end, and often on through the week. The week-end parties were much the same. When the three or four men invited had arrived, drinking was more or less in order, followed by a hilarious dinner and a ride to the Cradle Beach Country Club, which they had joined because it was inexpensive, lively if not fashionable, and almost a necessity for just such occasions as these. Moreover, it was of no great moment what one did there, and so long as the Patch party were reasonably inaudible, it mattered little whether or not the social dictators of Cradle Beach saw the gay Gloria imbibing cocktails in the supper room at frequent intervals during the evening.
Saturday ended, generally, in a glamourous confusion--it proving often necessary to assist a muddled guest to bed. Sunday brought the New York papers and a quiet morning of recuperating on the porch--and Sunday afternoon meant good-by to the one or two guests who must return to the city, and a great revival of drinking among the one or two who remained until next day, concluding in a convivial if not hilarious evening.
The faithful Tana, pedagogue by nature and man of all work by profession, had returned with them. Among their more frequent guests a tradition had sprung up about him. Maury Noble remarked one afternoon that his real name was Tannenbaum, and that he was a German agent kept in this country to disseminate Teutonic propaganda through Westchester County, and, after that, mysterious letters began to arrive from Philadelphia addressed to the bewildered Oriental as "Lt. Emile Tannenbaum," containing a few cryptic messages signed "General Staff," and adorned with an atmospheric double column of facetious Japanese. Anthony always handed them to Tana without a smile; hours afterward the recipient could be found puzzling over them in the kitchen and declaring earnestly that the perpendicular symbols were not Japanese, nor anything resembling Japanese.
Gloria had taken a strong dislike to the man ever since the day when, returning unexpectedly from the village, she had discovered him reclining on Anthony's bed, puzzling out a newspaper. It was the instinct of all servants to be fond of Anthony and to detest Gloria, and Tana was no exception to the rule. But he was thoroughly afraid of her and made plain his aversion only in his moodier moments by subtly addressing Anthony with remarks intended for her ear:
"What Miz Pats want dinner?" he would say, looking at his master. Or else he would comment about the bitter selfishness of "'Merican peoples" in such manner that there was no doubt who were the "peoples" referred to.
But they dared not dismiss him. Such a step would have been abhorrent to their inertia. They endured Tana as they endured ill weather and sickness of the body and the estimable Will of God--as they endured all things, even themselves.
One sultry afternoon late in July Richard Caramel telephoned from New York that he and Maury were coming out, bringing a friend with them. They arrived about five, a little drunk, accompanied by a small, stocky man of thirty-five, whom they introduced as Mr. Joe Hull, one of the bes t fellows that Anthony and Gloria had ever met.
Joe Hull had a yellow beard continually fighting through his skin and a low voice which varied between basso profundo and a husky whisper. Anthony, carrying Maury's suitcase up-stairs, followed into the room and carefully closed the door.
"Who is this fellow?" он потребовал.
Maury chuckled enthusiastically.
"Who, Hull? Oh, he's all right. He's a good one."
"Yes, but who is he?"
"Hull? He's just a good fellow. He's a prince." His laughter redoubled, culminating in a succession of pleasant catlike grins. Anthony hesitated between a smile and a frown.
"He looks sort of funny to me. Weird-looking clothes"--he paused--"I've got a sneaking suspicion you two picked him up somewhere last night."
"Ridiculous," declared Maury. "Why, I've known him all my life." However, as he capped this statement with another series of chuckles, Anthony was impelled to remark: "The devil you have!"
Later, just before dinner, while Maury and Dick were conversing uproariously, with Joe Hull listening in silence as he sipped his drink, Gloria drew Anthony into the dining room:
"I don't like this man Hull," she said. "I wish he'd use Tana's bathtub."
"I can't very well ask him to."
"Well, I don't want him in ours."
"He seems to be a simple soul."
"He's got on white shoes that look like gloves. I can see his toes right through them. Uh! Who is he, anyway?"
"You've got me."
"Well, I think they've got their nerve to bring him out here. This isn't a Sailor's Rescue Home!"
"They were tight when they phoned. Maury said they've been on a party since yesterday afternoon."
Gloria shook her head angrily, and saying no more returned to the porch. Anthony saw that she was trying to forget her uncertainty and devote herself to enjoying the evening.
It had been a tropical day, and even into late twilight the heat-waves emanating from the dry road were quivering faintly like undulating panes of isinglass. The sky was cloudless, but far beyond the woods in the direction of the Sound a faint and persistent rolling had commenced. When Tana announced dinner the men, at a word from Gloria, remained coatless and went inside.
Maury began a song, which they accomplished in harmony during the first course. It had two lines and was sung to a popular air called Daisy Dear. The lines were:
"The--pan-ic--has--come--over us, So ha-a-as --the moral de cline !"
Each rendition was greeted with bursts of enthusiasm and prolonged applause.
"Cheer up, Gloria!" suggested Maury. "You seem the least bit depressed."
"I'm not," she lied.
"Here, Tannenbaum!" he called over his shoulder. "I've filled you a drink. Come on!"
Gloria tried to stay his arm.
"Please don't, Maury!"
"Why not? Maybe he'll play the flute for us after dinner. Here, Tana."
Tana, grinning, bore the glass away to the kitchen. In a few moments Maury gave him another.
"Cheer up, Gloria!" он плакал. "For Heaven's sakes everybody, cheer up Gloria."
"Dearest, have another drink," counselled Anthony.
"Cheer up, Gloria," said Joe Hull easily.
Gloria winced at this uncalled-for use of her first name, and glanced around to see if any one else had noticed it. The word coming so glibly from the lips of a man to whom she had taken an inordinate dislike repelled her. A moment later she noticed that Joe Hull had given Tana another drink, and her anger increased, heightened somewhat from the effects of the alcohol.
"--and once," Maury was saying, "Peter Granby and I went into a Turkish bath in Boston, about two o'clock at night. There was no one there but the proprietor, and we jammed him into a closet and locked the door. Then a fella came in and wanted a Turkish bath. Thought we were the rubbers, by golly! Well, we just picked him up and tossed him into the pool with all his clothes on. Then we dragged him out and laid him on a slab and slapped him until he was black and blue. 'Not so rough, fellows!' he'd say in a little squeaky voice, 'please! ...'"
--Was this Maury? thought Gloria. From any one else the story would have amused her, but from Maury, the infinitely appreciative, the apotheosis of tact and consideration....
"The--pan-ic--has--come--over us, So ha-a-as --"
A drum of thunder from outside drowned out the rest of the song; Gloria shivered and tried to empty her glass, but the first taste nauseated her, and she set it down. Dinner was over and they all marched into the big room, bearing several bottles and decanters. Some one had closed the porch door to keep out the wind, and in consequence circular tentacles of cigar smoke were twisting already upon the heavy air.
"Paging Lieutenant Tannenbaum!" Again it was the changeling Maury. "Bring us the flute!"
Anthony and Maury rushed into the kitchen; Richard Caramel started the phonograph and approached Gloria.
"Dance with your well-known cousin."
"I don't want to dance."
"Then I'm going to carry you around."
As though he were doing something of overpowering importance, he picked her up in his fat little arms and started trotting gravely about the room.
"Set me down, Dick! I'm dizzy!" она настаивала.
He dumped her in a bouncing bundle on the couch, and rushed off to the kitchen, shouting "Tana! Tana!"
Then, without warning, she felt other arms around her, felt herself lifted from the lounge. Joe Hull had picked her up and was trying, drunkenly, to imitate Dick.
"Put me down!" she said sharply.
His maudlin laugh, and the sight of that prickly yellow jaw close to her face stirred her to intolerable disgust.
"The--pan-ic--" he began, but got no further, for Gloria's hand swung around swiftly and caught him in the cheek. At this he all at once let go of her, and she fell to the floor, her shoulder hitting the table a glancing blow in transit....
Then the room seemed full of men and smoke. There was Tana in his white coat reeling about supported by Maury. Into his flute he was blowing a weird blend of sound that was known, cried Anthony, as the Japanese train-song. Joe Hull had found a box of candles and was juggling them, yelling "One down!" every time he missed, and Dick was dancing by himself in a fascinated whirl around and about the room. It appeared to her that everything in the room was staggering in grotesque fourth-dimensional gyrations through intersecting planes of hazy blue.
Outside, the storm had come up amazingly--the lulls within were filled with the scrape of the tall bushes against the house and the roaring of the rain on the tin roof of the kitchen. The lightning was interminable, letting down thick drips of thunder like pig iron from the heart of a white-hot furnace. Gloria could see that the rain was spitting in at three of the windows--but she could not move to shut them....
... She was in the hall. She had said good night but no one had heard or heeded her. It seemed for an instant as though something had looked down over the head of the banister, but she could not have gone back into the living room--better madness than the madness of that clamor.... Up-stairs she fumbled for the electric switch and missed it in the darkness; a roomful of lightning showed her the button plainly on the wall. But when the impenetrable black shut down, it again eluded her fumbling fingers, so she slipped off her dress and petticoat and threw herself weakly on the dry side of the half-drenched bed.
She shut her eyes. From down-stairs arose the babel of the drinkers, punctured suddenly by a tinkling shiver of broken glass, and then another, and by a soaring fragment of unsteady, irregular song....
She lay there for something over two hours--so she calculated afterward, sheerly by piecing together the bits of time. She was conscious, even aware, after a long while that the noise down-stairs had lessened, and that the storm was moving off westward, throwing back lingering showers of sound that fell, heavy and lifeless as her soul, into the soggy fields. This was succeeded by a slow, reluctant scattering of the rain and wind, until there was nothing outside her windows but a gentle dripping and the swishing play of a cluster of wet vine against the sill. She was in a state half-way between sleeping and waking, with neither condition predominant ... and she was harassed by a desire to rid herself of a weight pressing down upon her breast. She felt that if she could cry the weight would be lifted, and forcing the lids of her eyes together she tried to raise a lump in her throat ... to no avail....
Drip! Drip! Drip! The sound was not unpleasant--like spring, like a cool rain of her childhood, that made cheerful mud in her back yard and watered the tiny garden she had dug with miniature rake and spade and hoe. Drip--dri-ip! It was like days when the rain came out of yellow skies that melted just before twilight and shot one radiant shaft of sunlight diagonally down the heavens into the damp green trees. So cool, so clear and clean--and her mother there at the centre of the world, at the centre of the rain, safe and dry and strong. She wanted her mother now, and her mother was dead, beyond sight and touch forever. And this weight was pressing on her, pressing on her--oh, it pressed on her so!
She became rigid. Some one had come to the door and was standing regarding her, very quiet except for a slight swaying motion. She could see the outline of his figure distinct against some indistinguishable light. There was no sound anywhere, only a great persuasive silence--even the dripping had ceased ... only this figure, swaying, swaying in the doorway, an indiscernible and subtly menacing terror, a personality filthy under its varnish, like smallpox spots under a layer of powder. Yet her tired heart, beating until it shook her breasts, made her sure that there was still life in her, desperately shaken, threatened....
The minute or succession of minutes prolonged itself interminably, and a swimming blur began to form before her eyes, which tried with childish persistence to pierce the gloom in the direction of the door. In another instant it seemed that some unimaginable force would shatter her out of existence ... and then the figure in the doorway--it was Hull, she saw, Hull--turned deliberately and, still slightly swaying, moved back and off, as if absorbed into that incomprehensible light that had given him dimension.
Blood rushed back into her limbs, blood and life together. With a start of energy she sat upright, shifting her body until her feet touched the floor over the side of the bed. She knew what she must do--now, now, before it was too late. She must go out into this cool damp, out, away, to feel the wet swish of the grass around her feet and the fresh moisture on her forehead. Mechanically she struggled into her clothes, groping in the dark of the closet for a hat. She must go from this house where the thing hovered that pressed upon her bosom, or else made itself into stray, swaying figures in the gloom.
In a panic she fumbled clumsily at her coat, found the sleeve just as she heard Anthony's footsteps on the lower stair. She dared not wait; he might not let her go, and even Anthony was part of this weight, part of this evil house and the sombre darkness that was growing up about it....
Through the hall then ... and down the back stairs, hearing Anthony's voice in the bedroom she had just left--
But she had reached the kitchen now, passed out through the doorway into the night. A hundred drops, startled by a flare of wind from a dripping tree, scattered on her and she pressed them gladly to her face with hot hands.
The voice was infinitely remote, muffed and made plaintive by the walls she had just left. She rounded the house and started down the front path toward the road, almost exultant as she turned into it, and followed the carpet of short grass alongside, moving with caution in the intense darkness.
She broke into a run, stumbled over the segment of a branch twisted off by the wind. The voice was outside the house now. Anthony, finding the bedroom deserted, had come onto the porch. But this thing was driving her forward; it was back there with Anthony, and she must go on in her flight under this dim and oppressive heaven, forcing herself through the silence ahead as though it were a tangible barrier before her.
She had gone some distance along the barely discernible road, probably half a mile, passed a single deserted barn that loomed up, black and foreboding, the only building of any sort between the gray house and Marietta; then she turned the fork, where the road entered the wood and ran between two high walls of leaves and branches that nearly touched overhead. She noticed suddenly a thin, longitudinal gleam of silver upon the road before her, like a bright sword half embedded in the mud. As she came closer she gave a little cry of satisfaction--it was a wagon-rut full of water, and glancing heavenward she saw a light rift of sky and knew that the moon was out.
She started violently. Anthony was not two hundred feet behind her.
"Gloria, wait for me!"
She shut her lips tightly to keep from screaming, and increased her gait. Before she had gone another hundred yards the woods disappeared, rolling back like a dark stocking from the leg of the road. Three minutes' walk ahead of her, suspended in the now high and limitless air, she saw a thin interlacing of attenuated gleams and glitters, centred in a regular undulation on some one invisible point. Abruptly she knew where she would go. That was the great cascade of wires that rose high over the river, like the legs of a gigantic spider whose eye was the little green light in the switch-house, and ran with the railroad bridge in the direction of the station. The station! There would be the train to take her away.
"Gloria, it's me! It's Anthony! Gloria, I won't try to stop you! For God's sake, where are you?"
She made no answer but began to run, keeping on the high side of the road and leaping the gleaming puddles--dimensionless pools of thin, unsubstantial gold. Turning sharply to the left, she followed a narrow wagon road, serving to avoid a dark body on the ground. She looked up as an owl hooted mournfully from a solitary tree. Just ahead of her she could see the trestle that led to the railroad bridge and the steps mounting up to it. The station lay across the river.
Another sounds startled her, the melancholy siren of an approaching train, and almost simultaneously, a repeated call, thin now and far away.
Anthony must have followed the main road. She laughed with a sort of malicious cunning at having eluded him; she could spare the time to wait until the train went by.
The siren soared again, closer at hand, and then, with no anticipatory roar and clamor, a dark and sinuous body curved into view against the shadows far down the high-banked track, and with no sound but the rush of the cleft wind and the clocklike tick of the rails, moved toward the bridge--it was an electric train. Above the engine two vivid blurs of blue light formed incessantly a radiant crackling bar between them, which, like a spluttering flame in a lamp beside a corpse, lit for an instant the successive rows of trees and caused Gloria to draw back instinctively to the far side of the road. The light was tepid, the temperature of warm blood.... The clicking blended suddenly with itself in a rush of even sound, and then, elongating in sombre elasticity, the thing roared blindly by her and thundered onto the bridge, racing the lurid shaft of fire it cast into the solemn river alongside. Then it contracted swiftly, sucking in its sound until it left only a reverberant echo, which died upon the farther bank.
Silence crept down again over the wet country; the faint dripping resumed, and suddenly a great shower of drops tumbled upon Gloria stirring her out of the trance-like torpor which the passage of the train had wrought. She ran swiftly down a descending level to the bank and began climbing the iron stairway to the bridge, remembering that it was something she had always wanted to do, and that she would have the added excitement of traversing the yard-wide plank that ran beside the tracks over the river.
Там! This was better. She was at the top now and could see the lands about her as successive sweeps of open country, cold under the moon, coarsely patched and seamed with thin rows and heavy clumps of trees. To her right, half a mile down the river, which trailed away behind the light like the shiny, slimy path of a snail, winked the scattered lights of Marietta. Not two hundred yards away at the end of the bridge squatted the station, marked by a sullen lantern. The oppression was lifted now--the tree-tops below her were rocking the young starlight to a haunted doze. She stretched out her arms with a gesture of freedom. This was what she had wanted, to stand alone where it was high and cool.
Like a startled child she scurried along the plank, hopping, skipping, jumping, with an ecstatic sense of her own physical lightness. Let him come now--she no longer feared that, only she must first reach the station, because that was part of the game. Она была счастлива. Her hat, snatched off, was clutched tightly in her hand, and her short curled hair bobbed up and down about her ears. She had thought she would never feel so young again, but this was her night, her world. Triumphantly she laughed as she left the plank, and reaching the wooden platform flung herself down happily beside an iron roof-post.
"Here I am!" she called, gay as the dawn in her elation. "Here I am, Anthony, dear--old, worried Anthony."
"Gloria!" He reached the platform, ran toward her. "С тобой все впорядке?" Coming up he knelt and took her in his arms.
"What was the matter? Why did you leave?" he queried anxiously.
"I had to--there was something"--she paused and a flicker of uneasiness lashed at her mind--"there was something sitting on me--here." She put her hand on her breast. "I had to go out and get away from it."
"What do you mean by 'something'?"
"I don't know--that man Hull--"
"Did he bother you?"
"He came to my door, drunk. I think I'd gotten sort of crazy by that time."
Wearily she laid her head upon his shoulder.
"Let's go back," he suggested.
"Uh! No, I couldn't. It'd come and sit on me again." Her voice rose to a cry that hung plaintive on the darkness. "That thing--"
"There--there," he soothed her, pulling her close to him. "We won't do anything you don't want to do. What do you want to do? Just sit here?"
"I want--I want to go away."
"By golly, Gloria," he cried, "you're still tight!"
"No, I'm not. I haven't been, all evening. I went up-stairs about, oh, I don't know, about half an hour after dinner ...Ouch!"
He had inadvertently touched her right shoulder.
"It hurts me. I hurt it some way. I don't know--somebody picked me up and dropped me."
"Gloria, come home. It's late and damp."
"I can't," she wailed. "Oh, Anthony, don't ask me to! I will to-morrow. You go home and I'll wait here for a train. I'll go to a hotel--"
"I'll go with you."
"No, I don't want you with me. I want to be alone. I want to sleep--oh, I want to sleep. And then to-morrow, when you've got all the smell of whiskey and cigarettes out of the house, and everything straight, and Hull is gone, then I'll come home. If I went now, that thing--oh--!" She covered her eyes with her hand; Anthony saw the futility of trying to persuade her.
"I was all sober when you left," he said. "Dick was asleep on the lounge and Maury and I were having a discussion. That fellow Hull had wandered off somewhere. Then I began to realize I hadn't seen you for several hours, so I went up-stairs--"
He broke off as a salutatory "Hello, there!" boomed suddenly out of the darkness. Gloria sprang to her feet and he did likewise.
"It's Maury's voice," she cried excitedly. "If it's Hull with him, keep them away, keep them away!"
"Who's there?" Anthony called.
"Just Dick and Maury," returned two voices reassuringly.
"He's in bed. Passed out."
Their figures appeared dimly on the platform.
"What the devil are you and Gloria doing here?" inquired Richard Caramel with sleepy bewilderment.
"What are you two doing here?"
"Damned if I know. We followed you, and had the deuce of a time doing it. I heard you out on the porch yelling for Gloria, so I woke up the Caramel here and got it through his head, with some difficulty, that if there was a search-party we'd better be on it. He slowed me up by sitting down in the road at intervals and asking me what it was all about. We tracked you by the pleasant scent of Canadian Club."
There was a rattle of nervous laughter under the low train-shed.
"How did you track us, really?"
"Well, we followed along down the road and then we suddenly lost you. Seems you turned off at a wagontrail. After a while somebody hailed us and asked us if we were looking for a young girl. Well, we came up and found it was a little shivering old man, sitting on a fallen tree like somebody in a fairy tale. 'She turned down here,' he said, 'and most steppud on me, goin' somewhere in an awful hustle, and then a fella in short golfin' pants come runnin' along and went after her. He throwed me this.' The old fellow had a dollar bill he was waving around--"
"Oh, the poor old man!" ejaculated Gloria, moved.
"I threw him another and we went on, though he asked us to stay and tell him what it was all about."
"Poor old man," repeated Gloria dismally.
Dick sat down sleepily on a box.
"And now what?" he inquired in the tone of stoic resignation.
"Gloria's upset," explained Anthony. "She and I are going to the city by the next train."
Maury in the darkness had pulled a time-table from his pocket.
"Strike a match."
A tiny flare leaped out of the opaque background illuminating the four faces, grotesque and unfamiliar here in the open night.
"Let's see. Two, two-thirty--no, that's evening. By gad, you won't get a train till five-thirty."
"Well," he muttered uncertainly, "we've decided to stay here and wait for it. You two might as well go back and sleep."
"You go, too, Anthony," urged Gloria; "I want you to have some sleep, dear. You've been as pale as a ghost all day."
"Why, you little idiot!"
"Very well. You stay, we stay."
He walked out from under the shed and surveyed the heavens.
"Rather a nice night, after all. Stars are out and everything. Exceptionally tasty assortment of them."
"Let's see." Gloria moved after him and the other two followed her. "Let's sit out here," she suggested. "I like it much better."
Anthony and Dick converted a long box into a backrest and found a board dry enough for Gloria to sit on. Anthony dropped down beside her and with some effort Dick hoisted himself onto an apple-barrel near them.
"Tana went to sleep in the porch hammock," he remarked. "We carried him in and left him next to the kitchen stove to dry. He was drenched to the skin."
"That awful little man!" sighed Gloria.
"How do you do!" The voice, sonorous and funereal, had come from above, and they looked up startled to find that in some manner Maury had climbed to the roof of the shed, where he sat dangling his feet over the edge, outlined as a shadowy and fantastic gargoyle against the now brilliant sky.
"It must be for such occasions as this," he began softly, his words having the effect of floating down from an immense height and settling softly upon his auditors, "that the righteous of the land decorate the railroads with bill-boards asserting in red and yellow that 'Jesus Christ is God,' placing them, appropriately enough, next to announcements that 'Gunter's Whiskey is Good.'"
There was gentle laughter and the three below kept their heads tilted upward.
"I think I shall tell you the story of my education," continued Maury, "under these sardonic constellations."
"Shall I, really?"
They waited expectantly while he directed a ruminative yawn toward the white smiling moon.
"Well," he began, "as an infant I prayed. I stored up prayers against future wickedness. One year I stored up nineteen hundred 'Now I lay me's.'"
"Throw down a cigarette," murmured some one.
A small package reached the platform simultaneously with the stentorian command:
"Silence! I am about to unburden myself of many memorable remarks reserved for the darkness of such earths and the brilliance of such skies."
Below, a lighted match was passed from cigarette to cigarette. The voice resumed:
"I was adept at fooling the deity. I prayed immediately after all crimes until eventually prayer and crime became indistinguishable to me. I believed that because a man cried out 'My God!' when a safe fell on him, it proved that belief was rooted deep in the human breast. Then I went to school. For fourteen years half a hundred earnest men pointed to ancient flint-locks and cried to me: 'There's the real thing. These new rifles are only shallow, superficial imitations.' They damned the books I read and the things I thought by calling them immoral; later the fashion changed, and they damned things by calling them 'clever'.
"And so I turned, canny for my years, from the professors to the poets, listening--to the lyric tenor of Swinburne and the tenor robusto of Shelley, to Shakespeare with his first bass and his fine range, to Tennyson with his second bass and his occasional falsetto, to Milton and Marlow, bassos profundo. I gave ear to Browning chatting, Byron declaiming, and Wordsworth droning. This, at least, did me no harm. I learned a little of beauty--enough to know that it had nothing to do with truth--and I found, moreover, that there was no great literary tradition; there was only the tradition of the eventful death of every literary tradition....
"Then I grew up, and the beauty of succulent illusions fell away from me. The fibre of my mind coarsened and my eyes grew miserably keen. Life rose around my island like a sea, and presently I was swimming.
"The transition was subtle--the thing had lain in wait for me for some time. It has its insidious, seemingly innocuous trap for every one. With me? No--I didn't try to seduce the janitor's wife--nor did I run through the streets unclothed, proclaiming my virility. It is never quite passion that does the business--it is the dress that passion wears. I became bored--that was all. Boredom, which is another name and a frequent disguise for vitality, became the unconscious motive of all my acts. Beauty was behind me, do you understand?--I was grown." Он сделал паузу. "End of school and college period. Opening of Part Two."
Three quietly active points of light showed the location of his listeners. Gloria was now half sitting, half lying, in Anthony's lap. His arm was around her so tightly that she could hear the beating of his heart. Richard Caramel, perched on the apple-barrel, from time to time stirred and gave off a faint grunt.
"I grew up then, into this land of jazz, and fell immediately into a state of almost audible confusion. Life stood over me like an immoral schoolmistress, editing my ordered thoughts. But, with a mistaken faith in intelligence, I plodded on. I read Smith, who laughed at charity and insisted that the sneer was the highest form of self-expression--but Smith himself replaced charity as an obscurer of the light. I read Jones, who neatly disposed of individualism--and behold! Jones was still in my way. I did not think--I was a battle-ground for the thoughts of many men; rather was I one of those desirable but impotent countries over which the great powers surge back and forth.
"I reached maturity under the impression that I was gathering the experience to order my life for happiness. Indeed, I accomplished the not unusual feat of solving each question in my mind long before it presented itself to me in life--and of being beaten and bewildered just the same.
"But after a few tastes of this latter dish I had had enough. Here! I said, Experience is not worth the getting. It's not a thing that happens pleasantly to a passive you--it's a wall that an active you runs up against. So I wrapped myself in what I thought was my invulnerable scepticism and decided that my education was complete. But it was too late. Protect myself as I might by making no new ties with tragic and predestined humanity, I was lost with the rest. I had traded the fight against love for the fight against loneliness, the fight against life for the fight against death."
He broke off to give emphasis to his last observation--after a moment he yawned and resumed.
"I suppose that the beginning of the second phase of my education was a ghastly dissatisfaction at being used in spite of myself for some inscrutable purpose of whose ultimate goal I was unaware--if, indeed, there was an ultimate goal. It was a difficult choice. The schoolmistress seemed to be saying, 'We're going to play football and nothing but football. If you don't want to play football you can't play at all--'
"What was I to do--the playtime was so short!
"You see, I felt that we were even denied what consolation there might have been in being a figment of a corporate man rising from his knees. Do you think that I leaped at this pessimism, grasped it as a sweetly smug superior thing, no more depressing really than, say, a gray autumn day before a fire?--I don't think I did that. I was a great deal too warm for that, and too alive.
"For it seemed to me that there was no ultimate goal for man. Man was beginning a grotesque and bewildered fight with nature--nature, that by the divine and magnificent accident had brought us to where we could fly in her face. She had invented ways to rid the race of the inferior and thus give the remainder strength to fill her higher--or, let us say, her more amusing--though still unconscious and accidental intentions. And, actuated by the highest gifts of the enlightenment, we were seeking to circumvent her. In this republic I saw the black beginning to mingle with the white--in Europe there was taking place an economic catastrophe to save three or four diseased and wretchedly governed races from the one mastery that might organize them for material prosperity.
"We produce a Christ who can raise up the leper--and presently the breed of the leper is the salt of the earth. If any one can find any lesson in that, let him stand forth."
"There's only one lesson to be learned from life, anyway," interrupted Gloria, not in contradiction but in a sort of melancholy agreement.
"What's that?" demanded Maury sharply.
"That there's no lesson to be learned from life."
After a short silence Maury said:
"Young Gloria, the beautiful and merciless lady, first looked at the world with the fundamental sophistication I have struggled to attain, that Anthony never will attain, that Dick will never fully understand."
There was a disgusted groan from the apple-barrel. Anthony, grown accustomed to the dark, could see plainly the flash of Richard Caramel's yellow eye and the look of resentment on his face as he cried:
"You're crazy! By your own statement I should have attained some experience by trying."
"Trying what?" cried Maury fiercely. "Trying to pierce the darkness of political idealism with some wild, despairing urge toward truth? Sitting day after day supine in a rigid chair and infinitely removed from life staring at the tip of a steeple through the trees, trying to separate, definitely and for all time, the knowable from the unknowable? Trying to take a piece of actuality and give it glamour from your own soul to make for that inexpressible quality it possessed in life and lost in transit to paper or canvas? Struggling in a laboratory through weary years for one iota of relative truth in a mass of wheels or a test tube--"
Maury paused, and in his answer, when it came, there was a measure of weariness, a bitter overnote that lingered for a moment in those three minds before it floated up and off like a bubble bound for the moon.
"Not I," he said softly. "I was born tired--but with the quality of mother wit, the gift of women like Gloria--to that, for all my talking and listening, my waiting in vain for the eternal generality that seems to lie just beyond every argument and every speculation, to that I have added not one jot."
In the distance a deep sound that had been audible for some moments identified itself by a plaintive mooing like that of a gigantic cow and by the pearly spot of a headlight apparent half a mile away. It was a steam-driven train this time, rumbling and groaning, and as it tumbled by with a monstrous complaint it sent a shower of sparks and cinders over the platform.
"Not one jot!" Again Maury's voice dropped down to them as from a great height. "What a feeble thing intelligence is, with its short steps, its waverings, its pacings back and forth, its disastrous retreats! Intelligence is a mere instrument of circumstances. There are people who say that intelligence must have built the universe--why, intelligence never built a steam engine! Circumstances built a steam engine. Intelligence is little more than a short foot-rule by which we measure the infinite achievements of Circumstances.
"I could quote you the philosophy of the hour--but, for all we know, fifty years may see a complete reversal of this abnegation that's absorbing the intellectuals to-day, the triumph of Christ over Anatole France--" He hesitated, and then added: "But all I know-- the tremendous importance of myself to me, and the necessity of acknowledging that importance to myself--these things the wise and lovely Gloria was born knowing these things and the painful futility of trying to know anything else.
"Well, I started to tell you of my education, didn't I? But I learned nothing, you see, very little even about myself. And if I had I should die with my lips shut and the guard on my fountain pen--as the wisest men have done since--oh, since the failure of a certain matter--a strange matter, by the way. It concerned some sceptics who thought they were far-sighted, just as you and I. Let me tell you about them by way of an evening prayer before you all drop off to sleep.
"Once upon a time all the men of mind and genius in the world became of one belief--that is to say, of no belief. But it wearied them to think that within a few years after their death many cults and systems and prognostications would be ascribed to them which they had never meditated nor intended. So they said to one another:
"'Let's join together and make a great book that will last forever to mock the credulity of man. Let's persuade our more erotic poets to write about the delights of the flesh, and induce some of our robust journalists to contribute stories of famous amours. We'll include all the most preposterous old wives' tales now current. We'll choose the keenest satirist alive to compile a deity from all the deities worshipped by mankind, a deity who will be more magnificent than any of them, and yet so weakly human that he'll become a byword for laughter the world over--and we'll ascribe to him all sorts of jokes and vanities and rages, in which he'll be supposed to indulge for his own diversion, so that the people will read our book and ponder it, and there'll be no more nonsense in the world.
"'Finally, let us take care that the book possesses all the virtues of style, so that it may last forever as a witness to our profound scepticism and our universal irony.'
"So the men did, and they died.
"But the book lived always, so beautifully had it been written, and so astounding the quality of imagination with which these men of mind and genius had endowed it. They had neglected to give it a name, but after they were dead it became known as the Bible."
When he concluded there was no comment. Some damp >
"As I said, I started on the story of my education. But my high-balls are dead and the night's almost over, and soon there'll be an awful jabbering going on everywhere, in the trees and the houses, and the two little stores over there behind the station, and there'll be a great running up and down upon the earth for a few hours--Well," he concluded with a laugh, "thank God we four can all pass to our eternal rest knowing we've left the world a little better for having lived in it."
A breeze sprang up, blowing with it faint wisps of life which flattened against the sky.
"Your remarks grow rambling and inconclusive," said Anthony sleepily. "You expected one of those miracles of illumination by which you say your most brilliant and pregnant things in exactly the setting that should provoke the ideal symposium. Meanwhile Gloria has shown her far-sighted detachment by falling asleep--I can tell that by the fact that she has managed to concentrate her entire weight upon my broken body."
"Have I bored you?" inquired Maury, looking down with some concern.
"No, you have disappointed us. You've shot a lot of arrows but did you shoot any birds?"
"I leave the birds to Dick," said Maury hurriedly. "I speak erratically, in disassociated fragments."
"You can get no rise from me," muttered Dick. "My mind is full of any number of material things. I want a warm bath too much to worry about the importance of my work or what proportion of us are pathetic figures."
Dawn made itself felt in a gathering whiteness eastward over the river and an intermittent cheeping in the near-by trees.
"Quarter to five," sighed Dick; "almost another hour to wait. Look! Two gone." He was pointing to Anthony, whose lids had sagged over his eyes. "Sleep of the Patch family--"
But in another five minutes, despite the amplifying cheeps and chirrups, his own head had fallen forward, nodded down twice, thrice....
Only Maury Noble remained awake, seated upon the station roof, his eyes wide open and fixed with fatigued intensity upon the distant nucleus of morning. He was wondering at the unreality of ideas, at the fading radiance of existence, and at the little absorptions that were creeping avidly into his life, like rats into a ruined house. He was sorry for no one now--on Monday morning there would be his business, and later there would be a girl of another class whose whole life he was; these were the things nearest his heart. In the strangeness of the brightening day it seemed presumptuous that with this feeble, broken instrument of his mind he had ever tried to think.
There was the sun, letting down great glowing masses of heat; there was life, active and snarling, moving about them like a fly swarm--the dark pants of smoke from the engine, a crisp "all aboard!" and a bell ringing. Confusedly Maury saw eyes in the milk train staring curiously up at him, heard Gloria and Anthony in quick controversy as to whether he should go to the city with her, then another clamor and she was gone and the three men, pale as ghosts, were standing alone upon the platform while a grimy coal-heaver went down the road on top of a motor truck, carolling hoarsely at the summer morning.