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self-possession returned, the enjoyment of her actual presence was added to the intellectual excitement. Everything about her seemed to be listening and understanding, from the attentive droop of her lids to the repressed eagerness of her lips and the hands folded quietly on her knee. When he had ended he turned away abruptly, as though she might see even the heart thumping in his throat. He threwthemanuscript down, and his self~confidence crumbled.
Mrs. Tarrant did not speak. She merely unclasped her hands, and then laid one over the other again, without otherwise moving. To Vance the silence seemed abysmal. He turned back and almost shouted at her: “Well, it’s no earthly good, is it?”
She looked up. “It’s going to be by far the best thing you’ve done.” Her voice sounded rich with restrained emotion. “I can’t tell you how strange the feeling is — all those dull familiar things with their meaning given back to them . . . .”
“Oh, is that what I’ve done? You see — you DO see?”
“Of course — I see with your eyes, and with mine too. That’s the strangeness — and the beauty. Oh, Vance, how did you do it? I’m so glad!” She stood up and drew nearer. It was as if achievement were shining down on him. “You must go on — you must give up everything to finish this.” He nodded, speechless, and she stood looking about the shadowy room. “And of course you must do your work here. You’ve made this place yours, you know. And you must be quiet and undisturbed. I’ll arrange it for you.” She sat down again, leaning toward him across the table. “But this is only a beginning; tell me how you mean to go on.”
Chapter 29
Halo Tarrant’s eleventh-hour decision not to sail with her husband was due to a trifling domestic quarrel; so most people would no doubt have called it — though she sometimes wondered how it was possible, in any given case, to say in advance what would turn out trifling and what ominous in the world of sentiment.
She had, or imagined she had, been looking forward eagerly to the trip; to the interesting people they would see, the excitement of playing even a small part in the literary world of London and Paris, and all the inducements which change offers to the young and the unsatisfied. Then, suddenly, a link had snapped in the chain holding her to Tarrant, and they stood miles apart, hardly visible to each other.
cheap nike air max Queer that life should be at the mercy of such accidents! But in this case circumstances had been tending for some time to unsettle her husband’s moral atmosphere, which was not at best a stable one. The New Hour was not taking hold as they had hoped. Subscriptions were not increasing. That, they were told, was natural: the first year of a new periodical is always critical. More disquieting was the fact that book shops and newsstands were not sending in heavier orders. There had even been a falling off in the sale of the last numbers, and the editorial programme for the rest of the year was hardly brilliant enough to revive the demand. The situation was not unusual; but that was precisely what made it mortifying to Tarrant. Halo had already learned that in her husband’s scheme of life half successes were almost worse than failures. He had taken hold of the moribund journal and put new life into it; and if it were to languish again in his hands — if somebody else’s failure were to become HIS— the situation would be much more humiliating (and more difficult for his vanity to account for) than if he had sta cheap nike air max rted a new enterprise and not made it a success.
Frenside, at this juncture, had the happy thought of suggesting that Tarrant should go over to London and Paris and look about him: personal contact with editors and authors abroad might lead, he thought, to something interesting. Tarrant, always exhilarated by any new plan, at once became buoyant and masterful. He declared he had always thought he ought to go; he was glad that, for once, his wife and Frenside had come round to his view. He was prepared, Halo knew, to face a pecuniary loss on the review for the first y nike air max ear or two, but not a loss of prestige. Being his review, it must be brilliant or vanish: a slow decline would be unbearable. But he was confident that great things would result from this journey, and that he would come home with a glittering list of contributors.
Whenever his faith in himself returned, his wife’s revived with it, and the two hurried joyfully through their preparations. But on the evening before they were to sail Tarrant came home in a different humour. He and Halo were alone, and when they returned to the library after dinner he broke out at once: “Well, we’re dished this time; I don’t see that there’s much use in sailing.”
Halo roused herself out of her happy preoccupation. Hurry, confusion, sudden preparations of any sort, always amused and stimulated her; but they made Lewis nervous — and so did the mere reaction from optimism. She had learned to allow for that, and only echoed absently: “No use sailing?” while her real self remained absorbed in luggage labels, passports and deck chairs. At length her husband’s silence told her that something more was expected of her, and still absently she added: “Why?”
As i nike air max 95 f her delay had reached to the extreme limit of his patience, his answer sprang back: “The Pulsifer Prize. That fool Weston has gone and lost it.”
Halo shook off her travel dream with a start. What on earth, she wondered, could have set Lewis fretting about the Pulsifer Prize? But what was the use of wondering? She supposed that, after two or three years of marriage, there were times when most husbands seemed to their wives like harmless lunatics (when it wasn’t the other way round, or perhaps reciprocal), and she answered, in a tone of good~humoured reminder: “Lost it? How could he, when it’s not given until next Nov nike air max canada ember?”
Tarrant, with a shrug, threw himself back wearily in his chair, and she remembered, too late, that there was nothing he so loathed as being humoured. “My dear,” he said, “what’s the sense of that sort of talk? You’re not really as simple as all that: you know perfectly well that the prize is given the minute Jet Pulsifer takes a shine to one of the candidates. And she had taken a shine to that silly ass.” nike air max sale
Halo’s indifference was giving way to a sense of counter~irritation. Where would he go to dig up his next grievance, she wondered? And just as she ought to be writing out the labels —! “Oh, if that’s all — ” The whole subject of the Pulsifer Prize, with its half-confessed background of wire-pulling and influencing, was particularly distasteful to her, and she was really thankful there was no time to deal with it.
“All?” Tarrant echoed. “It’s everything. She fell for Weston the minute she laid eyes on him — that evening at the party here. It was rather what we’d planned the thing for — you remember? And she’s been awfully nice to him ever since . . . seeing him very often, and encouraging him a good deal, I imagine. You know what she is.”
Halo murmured reluctantly: “Well —?”
“Well, what does the infernal fool do? Goes ther e the other day and holds her up for a loan.”
“A loan?”
“A loan. And how much, do you suppose? The exact amount of the prize. Two thousand dollars — not a copper less!” Tarrant started up angrily and began to pace the floor. “She sent for me today; I never saw a woman so upset. She says he talked as if he were merely asking for an advance — as if his getting the prize was a sure thing, and she might as well hand the cash over at once, as long as he was bound to get it.”
Thoughts of luggage labels and deck chairs vanished from Halo’s mind. Into their place there stole a cold insidious dread of what was coming, of what her husband was going to say, and she was going to feel about it. “Nonsense, Lewis,” she exclaimed. “I don’t believe he ever said anything like that.”
Tarrant laughed. “We all know you think he can’t do wrong. nike air max classic But I suppose you’ll admit he did ask for the money, if she says so?”
Halo pondered. She had forgotten herself and Tarrant in the shock of a new distress. “Poor fellow — I wonder why he wanted it so badly.”
“Well, I own I’m less interested in that. What I care about is that he’s fairly dished us, and that we were banking on the prize to give us a boost at the end of the year. With a new review it would have made a lot of difference. But the idea of considering US is the last that would enter his head.”
“I suppose it is, if he wanted the money as much as that; and he must have, to dream of asking Jet Pulsifer.”
“Oh, I don’t know. I daresay it’s rather in his line. That kind of man, when he sees a woman’s gone on him . . .”
“He’s not that kind of man!” Halo exclaimed. She also stood up, trembling with an unaccountable disma nike air max 90 sale y. “What reason did he give — didn’t she tell you?”
“Oh, the usual one, I believe. Hard up — wife ill, or something — they always tell the same story. To think the fool had only to sit tight and let her go on admiring him!”
There was a long silence. Tarrant stopped his nervous pacing and returned to his armchair, throwing himself into it with a groan of impatience. “That prize was ours!”
“Well — isn’t he our discovery?” He laughed. “Yours, if you prefer. You’re welcome to it. I hold no brief for blackmailers.”
She looked at him with astonishment. He had suddenly crowded Vance Weston out of her mind and taken possession of its centre himself. “Blackmailers?” she repeated. She said the word over slowly, once or twice. Then: “But, Lewis, if he’s that, what are we? What’s the New Hour?”
Tarrant threw back his handsome head and returned her look with faintly raised brows of interrogation, and a glance which declared resignedly: “Ah, now I give up!”
“What are we,” his wife went on, “who knew what Jet was, and put the boy in her way, and worked up her imagination about him, all to . . .” She broke off, vexed with her own exaggerated emotion, yet unable to control it.
Tarrant’s tone, in contrast, grew profoundly quiet. “All to — what?”
“Steal the prize for our paper.”
He looked at her, still with arched ironic brows. “That’s what you call it? Stealing?”
“Don’t you? We began to throw that boy in Jet’s way months ago — began in this very house, and at your suggestion.” (Oh, of course, he interjected, he knew she’d end by putting all the blame on him.) “No, I don’t,” Halo continued. “I keep my share; and it’s a big one. But I see now that we o nike air max 1 ught both to be ashamed — far more ashamed than Vance. And I AM— I’m revolted. If that’s the way literature is produced, it had better cease altogether. If it has to be shoved down people’s throats like Beauty Products and patent collar buttons it shows our people don’t really want it; that’s all!”
Tarrant leaned back, and stretched his hand out for a cigar. “Did you ever really think they did?”
Her colour rose. “I suppose I didn’t think at all — I just rushed ahead with the crowd. But now . . .”
“Well — now?”
“Now it seems to me there’s only one thing we can do to save our souls — we must lend the boy that money.”
Tarrant paused attentively in the lighting of his cigar. “WE—?”
“You,” she corrected herself, crimsoning. Something, perhaps involuntary, in the inflexion of his voice seemed to imply that, where there was a que nike air max 2013 stion of bestowing money, the plural pronoun could hardly be current between them. But his next retort brushed aside the implication.
“We — I? Lend him the money? What on earth are you talking about? He gets us into a damned mess, and we reward him for it?” She was silent. “Is that your idea of it?” he insisted.
She murmured with a shrug: “I suppose it’s your idea of my idea.”
“Ah, and what is yours, if I’ve misinterpreted it?”
“That the fault is all ours, and that we ought to expiate.”
“Expiate!” He smiled. “You talk like an old-fashioned Russian novel . . . .” He paused a moment, and then added: “I had no idea you were such an idealist. . . . Well, it’s getting late,” he continued, standing up with a shake of his long body. “I’ve got to throw some last things into my trunk, and we’ll postpone this discussion till we’re o cheap nike air max trainers n board.”
Halo felt a sudden blur before her eyes. “Lewis!” she exclaimed.
He turned back, irritated, impatient to make an end, and as the two stood looking at each other Halo saw, in a revealing flash, how immeasurably far apart they were — had always been, perhaps. It was as if she had been walking in her sleep, and had now abruptly opened her eyes on the edge of a sheer drop. Yet what was there in this paltry wrangle to throw such a glare into the depths?
Tarrant stood waiting. He looked drawn, tired, exasperated. It was no time for reasonable explanations; he hated tactlessness, and she was being tactless. Yet speak she must — speak (she said to herself) before they were so far apart that he was out of hearing . . . .
“Well?” he repeated.
“Lewis . . . you’re not going to understand . . . .”
“Understand what?”
“Why I sa nike air max 90 y what I’m going to say — ”
“Lord! How portentous! What are you going to say?”
“That our talk has made me feel I want to be by myself for a while — away from you, I mean . . . .”

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