and on Vance’s saying yes

t makes you so tired, do you suppose?” But he nike air max 90 sale felt the futility of the question. “I’ll run down to the grocer’s and call up the doctor,” he said energetically, clutching at the idea of doing something definite. But Laura Lou sat up in bed and stretched her thin arms out to him. “No, no, no — Vanny, no!”
“But why not, darling?”
“Because I’m not sick — because I don’t want him—because there’d be nothing to tell him . . .” He knew it was on her lips to add: “Because there’d be nothing to pay him with.”
“Nonsense, Laura Lou. You must see a doctor.”
“What would he say? He’d tell me to take a tonic. I’m all right, Vanny — I’ll be up and have breakfast ready in half an hour. . . . Can’t you give me till then?” she pleaded, sobbing; and full of contrition and perplexity he hurried back to the bed. “There, there, child; don’t cry . . . .”
“You’ll promise not?”
“I promise . nike air max classic . . .”
He left her to go and make up the kitchen fire, and get out the condensed milk and the tin of prepared coffee. Inwardly he said to himself: “As soon as she’s up I’ll go to New York and not come home till I’ve raised money enough to get back the hired woman and pay the doctor. She’s probably right; it’s nothing but worry and fatigue that’s the matter with her.” He fastened his mind on this conviction like a shipwrecked man clinging to a bit of wreckage. “She’s anaemic, that’s what she is. . . . What she needs is good food and rest, and a tonic.” The more he repeated it to himself the stronger his conviction grew. He felt instinctively that he could not get on with his work without reassurance, and yet his work must be got on with to buy the reassurance. . . . The last gleam of inner light faded from his brain as it s nike air max 1 truggled with this dilemma. For a moment a vision brushed his eyes of the long summer afternoons at the Willows, with the sound of the bees in the last wistaria flowers, and Halo Tarrant sitting silent on the other side of the green velvet table, waiting for the pages as he passed them over. . . . But he dragged his thoughts away from the picture. . . . As soon as Laura Lou was up they breakfasted together; then he hurried off to the trolley . . . .
At “Storecraft” they told him the manager was in his office, and Vance flew up in the mirror-lined lift. He had not been in the place since he had taken Laura Lou there to see his bust at the “Tomorrowists’” exhibition. In the distorted vista of his life all that seemed to be years away from him. The lift shot him out on the manager’s floor and he was shown into an office where nike air max 90 Bunty Hayes throned before a vast desk of some rare highly polished wood. Vance was half aware of the ultramodern fittings, the sharp high lights and metallic glitter of the place; then he saw only Bunty Hayes, stout and dominant behind a shining telephone receiver and a row of electric bells.
“I want to know if you’ve got a job for me,” Vance said.
Bunty Hayes rested both his short arms on the desk.
With a stout hairy hand he turned over a paperweight two or three times, and his round mouth framed the opening bar of an inaudible whistle.
“See here — take a seat.” He leaned forward, fixing his attentive eyes on his visitor. “Fact is, I’ve been thinking we ought to start a publishing department of our own before long — if it was only to show the old fossils how literature ought to be handled. But I haven’t had time to get cheap nike air max trainers round to it yet. Seems as if Providence had sent you round to help me get a move on. My idea is that we might begin with a series of translations of the snappiest foreign fiction, in connection with our Foreign Fashions’ Department . . . .” He leaned forward eagerly, no longer aware of Vance except as a recipient intelligence. “Get my idea, do you? We say to the women: ‘Read that last Geed or Morant novel in our “Storecraft” Series? Well, if you want to know the way the women those fellows write about are dressed, and the scents they use, and the facial treatment they take, all you got to do is to step round to our Paris Department’ — you see my idea? Of course translations would be just a beginning; after we got on our legs we’d give ’em all the best in our own original fiction, and then I’d be glad to call on you for anything you wanted to dispose of. Fact is, I’ve got an Nike Free Run idea already for a first ‘Storecraft’ novel — ”
He stopped, and Vance once more became an individual for him. “Maybe you don’t get my idea?” he said with a sudden shyness.
Vance felt the nausea in his throat. He began: “Oh, I don’t believe it’s any good — ”
“What isn’t?” Hayes interrupted.
“I mean, my coming here.” His only thought now was how to get away; he could find no further words of explanation. But Hayes, still leaning across the desk, said mildly: “You haven’t told me yet what you came for. But I guess there’s hardly any case ‘Storecraft’ isn’t ready to deal with.”
Vance was silent. In a flash he pictured his plight if he let his disgust get the better of him and turned away from this man’s coarse friendliness. After all, it was not Hayes the man who disgusted him any longer, but the point of view he represented; and what business had a fellow who didn’t know where to turn for his next day’s dinner to be squeamish about aesthetic differences? He swallowed quickly, and said: “Fact is, I thought perhaps you might be willing to take me on in your advertising department.”
The whistle which had been lurking behind Hayes’s lips broke forth in an astonished trill. “See here — ” he exclaimed, and sat inarticulately contemplating his visitor.
His gaze was friendly and even reverential; Vance guessed that he was not beyond being impressed by the idea of a successful novelist offering his services to “Storecraft.” “I suppose you’ve had some practice with book blurbs?” he began at last, hopefully.
Vance shook his head. “Not even.”
“Oh, well — ”
Vance had recovered his self-possession. He set forth, in as few words as possible, his business relations with the New Hour and Dreck and Saltzer, and his urgent need of raising money. He explained that he was debarred from selling his literary work to other bidders, and that he wanted to try his hand at publicity. It hardly seemed to be his own voice speaking — he felt more as if he were making a character talk in one of his books. When Hayes opened a parenthesis to ease his mind on the subject of Tarrant and the New Hour, Vance recalled the drunken row in the office — but that too had become far-off and inoffensive. The only thing that was actual and urgent was what this man on the other side of the desk was going to say in reply to his appeal for help. He stiffened himself inwardly and waited.
Hayes leaned back and drummed on the desk. “Cigarette?” he queried, pushing a box across the table. Vance shook his head, and there was another silence. Then: “How’s your wife?” Hayes asked abruptly.
The blood rushed to Vance’s temples. “She’s fairly well,” he said coldly.
“I see. Living at the same old stand?”
“No. We’re out in the country now.”
“Say — are you?” Hayes lit his cigarette, took a puff or two, and then stood up. “See here, Mr. Weston, I guess we can fix you up some way or other. Come round with me now to our Publicity Department — ” He opened the glass door and led the way down a corridor to another glazed enclosure . . . .
When Vance got into the elevated to return home he had five hundred dollars in his pocket. He had spent an hour with “Storecraft’s” publicity agent, and besides the money his pockets were bulging with models of advertisements — “blurbs” and puffs of every conceivable sort, from an advertisement of silk stockings or face cream, or “Storecraft’s” insurance policies, to circulars and prospectuses featuring the lecture tours managed by “Storecraft’s” Arts and Letters Department. In the bunch, as Vance glanced over them, he found his grandmother’s advance circular, and thrust it disgustedly under the others; but the disgust was easily dominated. He had the money in his pocket, a retaining fee, Hayes had explained to him. It was worth the money to “Storecraft” to have a well-known novelist on their publicity list; and he’d soon pick up the hang of the thing sufficiently to earn his advance, and more too. Fellows who knew how to sling words were what they were after, Hayes continued; many of the literary people didn’t seem to realize yet that writing a good advertisement was just as much of an art as turning out Paradise Lost or Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Vance hardly noticed at the time that the pecuniary transaction did not take place in the Publicity Department, but in Hayes’s private office, to which the manager invited him back for a cocktail and a final talk. He had the money in his pocket, and he was going to turn to and try to earn it, and as much more as he could. Compared with these monumental facts everything else seemed remote and negligible; and when Hayes, at the close of their talk, said a little awkwardly: “Well, so long. . . . Glad to hear your wife’s all well again, anyhow,” Vance felt a sudden compunction, as if he had been deliberately deceiving the first person who had really befriended him. “Well, she hasn’t been very bright lately,” he confessed with an effort at frankness.
“That so? Sorry to hear it.” Hayes paused uncertainly, and shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “I don’t believe I know just where your burg is. Maybe I could call round one day and see how she’s getting on — bring her a little grapefruit and so on, eh?”
Vance hesitated. Since they had left New York he had given his address to no one; even Eric Rauch had not been able to wheedle it out of him. In reply to Hayes he mumbled that he was hard at work on his novel, and had to keep away from people as much as he could — and he saw Hayes redden at the rebuff, and was sorry, yet could not bring himself to say more. “Well, you’ll be round again soon with something to show us, I suppose?”
Vance said yes, and after another awkward moment the hands of the two men met.
“You’ve done me a mighty good turn,” Vance stammered, and the other replied: “Oh, well — call on me if there’s any other way I can be of use.” Then the lift received Vance, and he dropped down the long flights, dizzy with what he had achieved, and a little ashamed at the poor return he had made for it. But Hayes with his damned grapefruit spying out the misery of the bungalow — no.
On the way home he felt a sudden buoyancy, combined with a new steadiness and composure of mind. He was even able to enjoy the humour of the situation as he ran over the list of subjects the publicity agent had given him to try his hand on. At a newstand he bought a handful of picture magazines, and plunged into the advertising pages, comparing, criticising, mentally touching them up. Evidently what “Storecraft” wanted was a combination of Sinclair Lewis, Kathleen Norris, and Mrs. Eddy. Well, he thought he could manage that, and even go them one better. . . . He longed for someone to share his laugh, and the thought of Halo Tarrant flashed out, as it always did when the human comedy or tragedy held up a new mask to him. Poor Laura Lou would not be able to see the joke. Her admiration for Bunty Hayes was based on his scholarship and eloquence — Vance remembered how much she had been impressed by the literary quality of Mrs. Scrimser’s advance circular. Her simplicity had irritated him at the moment; now he saw it through a rosy gleam of amusement. After all, he decided he would tell Laura Lou about his visit to Hayes and their arrangement. It would please her to know that the two men were friends; and somehow he felt he owed it to her not to conceal Hayes’s generosity. He had never forgotten the crumpled love letter he had picked up in her room, in the early days at Paul’s Landing. He reached his journey’s end, and swung down the lane whistling and singing through the night . . . .
He banged on the front door, but there was no answer. He tried the handle and it opened. How often he had told Laura Lou to lock up in his absence! Really, her carelessness . . . The room was pitch~dark and cold. He stumbled over something and fell to his knees. “Laura Lou — Laura Lou!” he cried out in deadly terror.
By the light of his electric torch he saw her lying almost across the threshold. She was quite still, her face ashy white under the faint yellow hair. At first in his horror he imagined an accident, a crime; but as he bent over, whispering and crying her name, and chafing her icy hands in his, her lids lifted and she gave him the comforted look of a tired child.
“Laura Lou! Darling! What’s the matter?”
“Carry me back to bed, Vanny. I’ll be all right.” She spoke so quietly that he was half reassured.
Her head fell back on his shoulder as he lifted her to his breast. In the darkness he stumbled across the room, groped his way to the bed, and laid her down on it. Then he found a match and lit the lamp. His hands were shaking so that he could hardly carry it. He held the light over the bed and saw, on the floor beside it, a basin half full of blood, and a crumpled pile of rags, such as he had seen her push into the kitchen range.
“Laura Lou — you’ve had a hemorrhage?”
Her lids fluttered open again. “Ever since that day I caught cold — ”
“It’s not the first?”
Her lips shaped an inaudible: “Never mind.”
“But, child, child — how could you hide it from me? In God’s name, why didn’t you get the doctor?”
The old terror returned to her eyes as she clutched his sleeve with her weak fingers. “No, no, no . . .” She lifted herself up haggardly, her eyes wide with fear, like a dead body raising itself out of its grave. “Never, Vanny, never! You’ve got to promise me. . . . They’d take me away from you to some strange place, with nurses and people, where I’d never see you. . . . I won’t go, I won’t . . . but if the doctor comes he’ll make me . . . and I’d rather die here. . . . You promise me . . . .”
“Of course I promise. But you won’t die — you won’t, I tell you!” He held her tight, burning with her fever, straining to pour his warmth and strength into her poor shuddering body; and after a while her head drooped back on the pillow, and her lids fell over her quieted eyes.
Chapter 45
The doctor said he was going to let Laura Lou stay just where she was. Evidently, then, Vance concluded, he didn’t think it was so serious. What she wanted was feeding up, warmth, nursing. Vance could get a woman in to help? Oh, yes. . . . And sterilized ice? And fresh milk? . . .
Laura Lou lay back smiling, blissful, a little pink in the hollow of her cheekbones. She had emptied the glass of milk Vance had brought her, and the mild sun streamed in onto her bed. It was a day like April, the ground reeking with a sudden thaw.
Vance followed the doctor out onto the porch, and the two men stood there in silence. On the way Vance had handed to the doctor the sum that was owing him; and the doctor, who was a good fellow, and no doubt saw how things were, had said: “Oh, see here — there’s no sort of hurry . . . .” After that they stood and looked for a while at his mud-spattered Ford, which had dug its way down the lane through the morass of the thaw.
“You’ll be back soon?” Vance asked, wondering how to let the doctor know that there would be no trouble now about paying for his visits.
“Oh, sure — ” said the doctor, who was young and not very articulate. He stamped his feet on the wooden step, and added: “Not that there’s much else to do.”
“You mean she’ll pull round soon, with this tonic?” Vance held the prescription in his hand.
The doctor looked at his Ford, and then at Vance. He had a poor sort of face, not made for emotional emergencies, and seemed to know it. He laid his hand awkwardly on Vance’s shoulder. “If I was sure she’d pull round, I’d have to take her away from here today. I’m not sure — that’s why I’m going to let you keep her.” He turned and went down the steps. From his seat in the car he called out to Vance, who had not moved: “Anyway, I’ll look in tomorrow.”
After the doctor had driven away Vance continued to stand in the same place in the porch. He was trying to piece together the meaning of the words: “That’s why I’m letting you keep her.” Laura Lou had doubtless known that if the doctor had been sent for sooner she would have been packed off to a sanitarium. Now it didn’t matter — and that meant that she was dying, or at least that the doctor thought so. Vance tried to grasp the reality underlying the words, but it slipped out of his hold. He knew very little of the character of tuberculosis, except for its more melodramatic features: fever, hemorrhages and night sweats — the sort of consumption people had in sentimental novels. Of the real disease he had no experience. But he saw that Laura Lou was less ignorant; he had guessed instantly that in her terror of being taken from him she had concealed her condition as long as possible; and h Nike Free Run Homme Pas Cher e wondered dully if she had understood that the doctor’s permission to her to remain at the bungalow was her death warrant. But even that dark word conveyed little meaning. The doctor’s phrase had acted like some strange corrosive, decomposing Vance’s visible world. He stood in the porch repeating to himself: “Laura Lou, Laura Lou,” as if the name were a magic formula against destruction. He tasted something salt on his lips, and found that the tears were running down his face . . . .
Well, after all, the doctor had to admit the next day that his p nike air max 95 atient was a good deal better than he had expected. A wonderful rally, he said. . . . Vance, at the foot of the bed, caught a quick flit of fear in Laura Lou’s eyes. The doctor must have caught it too, for he added with his clumsy laugh: “Anyway, I guess this air’s as good as the Adirondacks . . .” and Laura Lou’s head fell back contentedly. . . . After that she seemed to maintain her strength, though without making perceptible progress. The doctor did not come often; he said there was nothing to do beyond nursing and feeding, and Vance could always get hold of him by telephoning from the grocery. . . . The hired woman came regularly, but she could not be persuaded to stay at night, and Vance trembled to think of what might happen if anything went wrong and he had to leave Laura Lou while he rushed out for help. He tried to persuade her to let him get a trained nurse for the night, but the same looks of fear came into her eyes, and she asked if the doctor had said so, and if it meant that she was going to die right off. Vance laughed the question away, and dragged the divan mattress into a co run.shtm rner of the bedroom. That frightened her too, and finally he had to go back to his previous arrangement of sleeping in the living room, and trying to wake himself up at intervals to creep in for a look. But youth and health made him a heavy sleeper; and after vainly trying to force himself to wake at regular intervals he got the hired woman to brew a pot of strong coffee every night before she left, and kept himself awake on that.
As the doctor said, there was really very little to do; and after a few days Vance tried to get back to work. As cheap nike air max soon as he sat down at his desk he was overwhelmed by an uncontrollable longing to plunge again into his novel. Once before — after seeing his grandfather by the river with Floss Delaney — he had been dragged back to life by the need to work his anguish out in words. Now, at this direr turn of his life, he found himself possessed by the same craving, as if his art must be fed by suffering, like some exquisite insatiable animal. . . . But what did all that matter, when the job before him was not novel-writing but inventing blurbs for “Storecraft”? He had already spent a good part of Hayes’s cheque, and he would need more money soon; his business now was to earn it. He clenched his fists and sat brooding over the model “ads” till it was time to carry in the iced milk to Laura Lou. But he had not measured the strength of the force that propelled him. In his nights of unnatural vigil his imagination had acquired a fierce impetus that would not let him rest. Words sang to him like the sirens of Ulysses; sometimes the remembering of a single phrase was like entering into a mighty templ nike air max sale e. He knew, as never before, the rapture of great comet flights of thought across the heaven of human conjecture, and the bracing contact of subjects minutely studied, without so much as a glance beyond their borders. Now and then he would stop writing and let his visions sweep him away; then he would return with renewed fervour to the minute scrutiny of his imaginary characters. There was something supernatural and compulsory in this strange alternation between creating and dreaming. Sometimes the fatigue of his nights would overcome him in full activity, and he would drop into a leaden sleep at his desk; and once, when he roused himself, he found his brain echoing with words read long ago, in his early days of study and starvation: “I was swept around all the elements and back again; I saw the sun shining at midnight in purest radiance; GODS OF HEAVEN AND GODS OF HELL I SAW FACE TO FACE AND ADORED THEM . . .” Yes, that was it; gods of heaven and gods of hell . . . and they had mastered him. . . . He got the milk out of the icebox, and carried it in to Laura Lou . . . .
He had forgotten all about Bunty Hayes and the “Storecraft” job. Every moment that he could spare from his wife was given up to his book. And Laura Lou really needed so little nursing. . . . One day the doctor, as he was leaving, stopped in the porch to say: “Isn’t there anybody who could come over and help you? Hasn’t your wife got any family?” The question roused Vance from his heavy dream. He had not yet let Mrs. Tracy know of her daughter’s illness. He explained to the nike air max doctor that Laura Lou had a mother and brother out in California, but that he hadn’t sent them word because if he did the mother would be sure to come, and Laura Lou would know that only an alarming report would make her undertake such a journey — and he feared the effect on his wife.
The doctor considered this in his friendly inarticulate way. “Well, I don’t know but what you’re right. I suppose you’re willing to cheap nike air max take the responsibility of not letting them know?” he said at length; and on Vance’s saying yes, he drove off without further comment.
The days succeeded each other with a sort of deceptive rapidity: they had the smooth monotonous glide of water before it breaks into a fall. Every hour was alike in its slow passage, yet there did not seem to be enough of them to eke out an ordinary day. After an interval of cold and rain the weather became fine and springlike again, and on the finest days Vance carried Laura Lou into the living room, and she sat there in the sun, wrapped in blankets, and watched him while he wrote.
“Soon I’ll be copying for you again,” she said, with the little smile which showed the line of her pale gums; and he smiled back at her and nodded.
“I guess I’ll do

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