stringing random words together

ion of their existence was yet apart from them, and empowered to be their chronicler. . . . Tramping back after dark, hungry and happy under the sharp autumn stars, he stood still suddenly and thought: “God, if I could tell her — ” But even that pang was a passing one. These people were HIS people, he held the threads of their lives, it was to him the vision had been given — for the time that seemedenough, seemed all his straining consciousness could hold . . . .
From the bungalow a light winked through the apple branch on which his book had hung. The gleam gave him a feeling of homely reassurance. He saw the supper table in the kitchen, his desk with the beckoning lamp. As soon as he had eaten something he would get to work under that lamp, with the great sh heap ghd hair straighteners uk adowy night looking on him . . . .
Under the apple tree he halted and listened. Perhaps he would hear Laura Lou singing, and see her shadow moving on the drawn-down blind. But the house was silent. He walked up to the door and went in. The table was laid with a box of sardines, potatoes, and pickles. All was orderly and inviting; but Laura Lou was not there. The remembrance of her pale face with that queer drawn smile returned disquietingly, and he pushed open the door of their room. It was dark, and he went back for the lamp. Laura Lou lay on the bed, the blankets drawn up. She was motionless; she did not turn as he entered. Lamp in hand he bent over, half afraid; but as the light struck her lids they lifted, and she looked at him calmly, as she had on their wedding night when he had come back with provisions from the farm and found her sleeping. His anxiety fell from him. “Hullo — I guess I woke you up,” he said.
She smiled a little, not painfully but naturally. “Yes.”
“You’re not sick, child?”
“Oh, no, no,” she assured him.
“Only a little bit tired?”
“Yes. A little bit.”
He sat down on the edge of the bed. “I guess we’ll have to get a woman in to help you.”
“Yes. Maybe just for the washing . . .”
“You think it was the washing that tired you?”
“Maybe.” She shut her eyes peacefully and turned her head away.
“All right. Have you had anything to eat?”
“Yes. I had some milk.”
“And now you want to go to sleep again?”
Out of her sleep she mu cheap ghd straighteners rmured: “Yes,” and he stooped to kiss her and stole away.
As he sat down to his supper he reflected: “Certainly I must get a woman in to wash for her.” Then his thoughts wandered away again to his book. After he had eaten he heated a cup of coffee, and carried that and the lamp back to his desk.
For the next few days Laura Lou was weak and languid, and he had to get a woman in daily to do the work. But after that she was up and about, looking almost well, and singing in the kitchen while he sat at his desk. The golden October days followed each other without a break; and when the housework was done he would drag one of the rattan armchairs out under the apple tree, and Laura Lou would sit in the sun, well wrapped up, and busy herself with the mending, while every now and then he called out through the window: “To hell with cheap ghd flat iron the damned book — it won’t go!” or: “Child — I believe I’ve found what I was after!”
Chapter 43
The golden days began to be tarnished with rain; but the air remained mild, and life at the bungalow followed its quiet course. Vance, plunged in his imaginary world, hardly noticed that in the real one the hours of daylight were rapidly shortening, and that in the mornings there was a white hoarfrost in the orchard.
Laura Lou seemed to have recovered; but she was still easily tired, and the woman who came for the washing had still to be summoned almost daily to help with the housework. Then the weather turned cold, and the coal bill went up with a rush. The bungalow was not meant for winter, and Vance had to buy a couple of stoves and have the stovepipes pushed up through the roof. But in spite of these cares he was still hardly cheap ghds conscious of the lapse of time, and might have drifted on unaware to the end of the year if the old familiar money problem had not faced him. What with the coal and the stoves and the hired woman, and buying more blankets and some warm clothes, the monthly expenses had already doubled; what would it be when winter set in? Still, they had the derelict place for a song, and it would perhaps cost less to stay on there than to move.
About a month after his grandmother’s departure from New York a letter came from her. She reported the success of her lecture tour, and was loud in praise of “Storecraft’s” management. She spoke enthusiastically of the way in which the publicity was organized, and said it was bringing many souls to Jesus; and she reminded Vance affectionately of her offer to provide him and Laura Lou with a home. S ghd outlet he would be ready to do so, she said, as soon as she paid off her debt to Mr. Weston; and that would be before long, judging from her present success. To justify her optimism she enclosed one of the advance circulars with which “Storecraft” was flooding the country, together with laudatory articles from local papers and a paean from her own special organ, Spirit Life, (which was now serializing her religious experiences). She said ingenuously that she guessed she had a right to be proud of such results, and added that anyhow they would show Vance there were plenty of cultured centres in the United States where the spiritual temperature was higher than in the Arctic circles of Park Avenue.
The letter touched Vance. It came at a moment when the problem of the winter was upon him, and he might have yielded to Mrs. Scrimser’s s ghd straighteners uggestion — if only she had not enclosed the newspaper articles. But there they were, in all their undisguised blatancy, and her pride in them showed her to have been completely unaffected by her grandson’s arguments and entreaties, or at any rate blind to their meaning. And after all, that very blindness exonerated her. If she really believed herself a heaven-sent teacher, why should she not live on what she taught? Where there was no fraud there was no dishonour. She was only giving these people what they wanted, and what she sincerely believed they ought to have.
Yes, but it was all based on the intellectual laziness that he abhorred. It was because she was content with a shortcut to popularity, and her hearers with words that sounded well and put no strain on their attention, that, as one paper said, she could fill thre cheap ghd straighteners £50 e-thousand-seat auditoriums all the way from Maine to California. The system was detestable, the results were pitiable. . . . But his grandmother had to have the money, and her audiences had to have the particular blend of homemade religiosity that she knew how to brew. “Another form of bootlegging,” Vance growled, and pitched the newspapers to the floor. The fraud was there, it was only farther back, in the national tolerance of ignorance, the sentimental plausibility, the rush for immediate results, the get-rich-quick system applied to the spiritual life. . . . The being he loved with all the tenacity of childish affection was exactly on a level with her dupes.
He did not answer the letter, and his grandmother did not write again.
Vance thought cheap ghd air he had thrown all the “Storecraft” documents into the stove; but one day he came back and found Laura Lou with one of the advance cheap ghd wide plate straighteners circulars smoothed out before her on the kitchen table. She looked up with a smile.
“Oh, Vanny, why didn’t you show me this before? Did your grandmother send it to you?”
He shrugged his acquiescence, and she sat gazing at the circular. “I guess it was Bunty who wrote it himself — don’t you believe so?”
Vance’s work had not gone well that day, and he gave an irritated laugh. “Shouldn’t wonder. But you probably know his style better than I do.”
The too-quick blood rushed to her cheeks, and ebbed again with the last word of his taunt. She looked at him perplexedly. “You don’t like it, then — you don’t think it makes enough of your grandmother?”
“Lord, yes! It makes too much — that’s the trouble.” He picked the leaflet up and read it slowly over, trying, out of idle curiosity, to see it from Laura Lou’s point of view, which doubtless was exactly that of his grandmother. But every word nauseated him, and his sense of irony was blunted by the fact that the grotesque phrases were applied to a being whom he loved and cheap ghd straighteners next day delivery admired. He threw the paper down contemptuously. “I suppose I could make a good living myself writing that kind of thing . . . .”
Laura Lou’s face lit up responsively. “I’m sure you could, Vanny. I’ve always thought so. Bunty told me once that a good publicity writer could earn every bit as much as a best seller.”
He laughed. “Pity I didn’t choose that line, isn’t it? Since I don’t look much like being a best seller, anyhow.”
She scented the sarcasm and drew back into herself, as her way was when he stung her with something unanswerable. Vance picked up the paper, tore it in bits, and walked away majestically to his desk. These w Buy discount ghd straighteners cheap sale uk omen —! . . . Of course his work had been going badly of late — how could it be otherwise, with the endless interruptions and worries he was subjected to? A man who wanted to write ought to be free and unencumbered, or else in possession of an independent income and of a wife who could keep house without his perpetual intervention. Other fellows he knew . . . The thought of the other fellows woke a sudden craving in him, that craving for discount ghd straighteners change, talk, variety, a general freshening-up of the point of view, which seizes upon the creative artist after a long unbroken stretch of work. He wanted the Cocoanut Tree again, and the “Loafers’,” and a good talk with Frenside. . . . He wanted above all to get away from Laura Lou and the bungalow . . . .
“See here — I’ve got an appointment in town. I guess if I sprint for the elevated I can make it before one o’clock,” he announced abruptly; and before she could question or protest he had got into his hat and overcoat, and was hurrying down the lane to the turnpike.
It was weeks since he had been to New York, and then he had stayed only long enough to persuade Dreck and Saltzer to give him a small advance on his royalties. Today, as the huge roar of the streets enveloped him, he felt his heart beating in time with it. He hadn’t known how much he had missed the bracing a ghd straighteners cheap ir of the multitude. He avoided the New Hour, but turned in for lunch at the Cocoanut Tree, where it was bewildering and stimulating, after those endless weeks of country solitude and laborious routine, to find the old idlers and workers, the old jokes, the old wrangles, the old welcome again. Eric Rauch met him amicably, and seemed glad to hear that the novel was growing so fast. “Queer, though, if you were to get away the Pulsifer Novel Prize from the boss,” he chuckled in Vance’s ear. Vance stared, and had to be told, in deepest confidence, that Tarrant was also at work on a novel — his first — and that the few intimates who had seen it predicted that it would pull off the Pulsifer Prize, though perhaps not altogether on its merits.
“Luckily, though,” Rauch ended, “it’s a First Novel Prize, and that rules you out, because of Instead.” He seemed to derive intense amusement from the narrowly averted drama of a conflict between the editor of the New Hour and its most noted contributor.
When Vance left the Cocoanut Tree, rather later than he had meant to, he went to Frenside’s lodgings, but found a card with “Away” above the latter’s name in the vestibule. Then he recalled the real object of his trip: he must try to get another two or three hundred out of Dreck and Saltzer. His reluctance to ask for a second advance was manifest, and theirs to accord it no less so. The cashier reminded him affably that it wasn’t so very long since his last application. That sort of thing was contrary to their rules; but if he’d look in after the first of the year, possibly Mr. Dreck would see what he could do. . . . Vance turned away, and walking back to Fifth Avenue stood for a while watching the stream of traffic pour by — the turbid flood which had never ceased to press its way through those perpetually congested arteries since he had first stood gazing at it, hungry and light-headed, or the later day when, desperate with anxiety for Laura Lou and the need for money, he had breasted the tide to make his way to Mrs. Pulsifer’s and beg for a loan.
He stood there idly on the curbstone, smiling at his past illusions and at the similarity of his present plight. He was as poor as ever, with the same wants to meet, the same burden to bear, and none of his illusions left. Nothing had changed in his life except his easy faith in the generosity of his fellows. There was his grandmother, indeed, whose generosity was no illusion — at a word she would shoulder all his difficulties. But that word he could not speak. And in all the rest of the world he knew of no one ready to take on the burden of an unsuccessful novelist . . . .
He wandered up Fifth Avenue, letting the noise and the tumult drug him to insensibility. The cold brief daylight had vanished in a blaze of nocturnal illumination. Vance crossed over to Broadway and tramped on aimlessly till a call flamed out at him from among all the other flaming calls. Beethoven — The Fifth Symphony . . . He had heard it for the first and only time with Halo Tarrant, the previous winter. . . . Well, he was going to hear it again, to hear it by himself that very evening. He turned in at the concert hall, secured the last seat in the highest gallery, and wandered away again to pick up a sandwich and a cup of coffee before the concert began. The night was cold, and the hot coffee set all his veins singing. Music and heat and love . . . they were what a fellow needed who was young and hungry and a poet . . . .
From his corner of the upper heaven he could lean over and catch sight of the orchestra stalls where he and Halo had sat on that divine night. He remembered, vaguely, her having said something about their being subscription seats — about her husband’s always having them for the Beethoven cycle — and his heart began to beat at the thought that she might actually be sitting there, far below him, that he might presently discover her small dark head and white shoulders standing out from the indifferent throng. But he had come early; nearly all the orchestra seats were still empty, and it was impossible to identify the two they had occupied. With a painful fixity he sat watching as the great auditorium gradually filled up. He had forgotten all about the music in his agonized longing to see Mrs. Tarrant again. He did not mean to try to speak to her — what was the use? — but to see her would be a bitter ecstasy; and he was in pursuit of all the ecstasies that night . . . .
And then, abruptly, the music began. Unperceived by him the orchestra had noiselessly filed in, filling the stage tier by tier; the conductor’s gesture broken the hush, and in the deep region of the soul the echo of the fateful chords awoke.
Vance listened in the confused rapture of those to whom the world of tone is an inexplicable heaven. When Halo Tarrant had first introduced him to it he had resented his inability to analyse this new emotion. It seemed as though great poetry, the science of Number, should be the clue of the mathematically definite laws underlying this kindred art; and when he found it was not so, that the ear most acutely taunted to verbal harmonies may be dull in the dissection of pure sound, he felt baffled and humbled. But gradually he came to see that for the creative artist two such fields of emotion could hardly overlap without confusion. He needed all his acuteness and precision of sensibility for his own task; it was better that his particular domain should lie surrounded by the great golden haze of the other arts, like a tiny cultivated island in the vagueness of a sunset ocean. . . . A sunset ocean: that was it! The inarticulate depths in him woke to this surge of sound as they did to the surge of the waves, or to that murmur of the blood which the lips of lovers send back to their satisfied hearts. . . . And that was enough.
When the first interval came he sat for a while with his eyes covered, as though the accumulated impress must escape if he opened them. Then he roused himself, and look down at the stalls. They were filling fast; he was able to distinguish definitely the two seats which he and Mrs. Tarrant had occupied. They were empty, and that seemed to establish their identity, and to put a seal on the memory of that other evening. But now he did not greatly care if she came or not — she was his in the plenitude of the music. He shut his eyes again and the multitudinous seas poured over him . . . .
Chapter 44
The snow lay so deep outside the bungalow that Vance had had to interrupt his work (he seemed to be always interrupting it nowadays) to clear a path from the door to the lane. The shovelling of heavy masses of frozen snow put a strain on muscles relaxed by long hours at his desk, and he stood still in the glittering winter sunshine, leaning on his shovel, while the cold and the hard exercise worked like a drug in his brain.
Weeks had gone by since his last visit to New York. He had not returned there since the evening of the Beethoven concert. His talk with his friends at the Cocoanut Tree and his long evening of musical intoxication had set his imagination working, and he had come home as from an adventure in far countries, laden with treasure to be transmuted into the flesh and blood of his creations. He had often noticed how small a spark of experience or emotion sufficed to provoke these explosions of activity, and with his booty in his breast he hurried back to his solitude as impatiently as he had left it.
But though he came home full of spiritual treasure, it was without material results. He had found no way of raising money, and he knew he must have some before the end of the month. For a fortnight past the woman who came to help Laura Lou had not shown herself. She lived some distance away, and when Vance went to hunt her up she excused herself on the plea of the cold weather and the long snowy walk down the lane from the trolley terminus. But Vance knew it was because he owed her several weeks’ wages, and when she said: “I’d never have come all that way, anyhow, if it hadn’t been I was sorry for your wife,” he received the rebuke meekly, conscious that it was a way of reminding him of his debt.
With the coming of the dry cold Laura Lou seemed to revive, and for a while she and Vance managed to carry on the housekeeping between them, though the meals grew more and more sketchy, and it became clear even to Vance’s inattentive eyes that the house was badly in need of cleaning. Carrying in the bags of coal (which he now had to fetch from the end of the lane) left on the floors a trail of black dust that Laura Lou had not the strength to scrub away, and the soil was frozen so hard that Vance could no longer bury the daily refuse at the foot of the orchard, but had to let it accumulate in an overflowing barrel. All that mattered little when she began to sing again about the house; but his nerves were set on edge by the continual interruptions to his work while he was still charged with creative energy, and often, when he got back to his desk, he would sit looking blankly at the blank page, frightened by the effort he knew his brain would refuse to make.
But today, after his labour in the snow, brain and nerves were quiescent. He would have liked to put more coal on the stove and then stretch out on the broken-down divan for a long sleep. But he knew he had to get the kitchen ready for Laura Lou, and after that . . . there was always an “after” to every job, he mused impatiently. He leaned the shovel against the door, stamped the snow off his feet, and went in.
Laura Lou was not in the kitchen. The fire was unlit, and no preparations had been made for their simple breakfast. He called out her name. She did not answer; and thinking somewhat resentfully of his hard work in the snow while she slept warm between the sheets, he opened the bedroom door. She lay where he had left her; her head was turned away, facing the wall, and the blankets and his old overcoat were drawn up to her chin.
“Laura Lou!” he called again. She stirred and slowly turned to him.
“What’s the matter? Are you sick?” he exclaimed; for her face wore the same painful smile which had struck him on the day when he had found her pushing the mysterious rags into the kitchen fire.
“Time to get up?” she asked in a scarcely audible whisper.
He sat down on the bed and took her hand; it was dry and trembling. His heart began to beat with apprehension. “Do you feel as if you were too tired to get up?”
“Yes, I’m tired.”
“See here, Laura Lou — ” He slipped down on his knees, and slid his arm under her thin back. “Why is it you always feel so tired?” Her eyes, which were fixed on his, widened like a suspicious animal’s, and he drew her closer to whisper: “Is it — it isn’t because you’re going to have a baby?”
She started in his arms, and drew back a little instead of yielding to his embrace. Her tongue ran furtively over her dry lips, as if to moisten them before she spoke. “A baby —?” she echoed. Vance pressed her tighter.
“I’d — we’ll manage somehow; you’ll see! I guess it would be great, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t you be less lonely, sweet?” he hurried on, stringing random words together to hide the confused rush of his feelings.
She drew her head back, and her free hand, slipping from under the blankets, pushed the hair off his forehead. “Poor old Vanny,” she whispered.
“Were you afraid I’d be bothered if you told me? Is that why —?” She made a faint negative motion.
“What was it then, dear? Why didn’t you tell me?”
The painful smile drew up her lip again. “It’s not that.” She looked at him with an expression so strangely, lucidly maternal, that he felt as he sometimes had when, as a little boy, he brought his perplexities to his mother. It was the first time that Laura Lou had ever seemed to stoop to him from heights of superior understanding, and he was queerly awed by the mystery of her gaze. “Not that, darling?” he echoed.
Her hand was still moving in his hair. “Wouldn’t you have liked it, dear?” he repeated.

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