but he had refused

octor said, there was really very little to do; and after a few days Vance tried to get back to work. As 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 ofhis 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 w jimmy choo sale as 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 temple. He knew, as never be cheap jimmy choo uk fore, 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 s cheap jimmy choo trange 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. . jimmy choo . . 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 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 take the responsibility of not letting them know?” he said at length; and on Vance’s saying yes, he drove off without further jimmy choo wedding shoes 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 it better than I used to . . . I won’t have to stoop over so,” she continued. He nodded again and put his fingers on his lip; for the doctor had told her not to talk. Then h jimmy choo outlet e went on with his writing, and when he turned to look at her again her head had fallen back and she was sleeping, the sun in her hair.
One day she persuaded him to let her stay up longer than usual. She liked to see him writing, she said; and what harm was there, if she sat as still as a mouse and didn’t talk? He could tell the doctor that she didn’t talk. . . . Vance, deep in his work, absently acquiesced. He liked to have her near him while he wrote — he felt as if nothing could go really wrong while he was close to her, and he knew that she felt so too. He no longer believed she was going to die, and he had an idea that she did not believe so either; but neither of them dared to say a word to the other. It was as if they must just sit and hold their breath while the footsteps of the enemy hesitated outside on the thresh jimmy choo shoes h&m old.
Vance wrote on as long as the daylight lasted; then he got up to fetch the lamp. The fire had gone out, and he noticed with dismay how cold the room had grown. He called to the woman in the kitchen to bring in some coal. He stood the lamp on the desk, and as the unshaded light fell on Laura Lou’s face he felt a return of fear. She was sleeping quietly, but her face was so bloodless that there seemed to be nothing alive about her but the hair bubbling up with unnatural brilliance from her drawn forehead. “I wonder if it’s true that the hair dies last?” he thought.
When the fire was made up he said: “We’d better get her back to bed,” and while the woman went in to prepare the bed he stooped over Laura Lou and gathered her up. Her eyes opened and rested on his, but with a look of terror and bewilderment. “Who is it?” she jimmy choo h&m exclaimed, and began to struggle in his arms; and as he lowered her to the bed the hemorrhage came. . . . He hurried the woman off to telephone for the doctor, adjuring her to come back as quickly as she could; and when she had gone he tried to remember what he had been told to do if “it” happened, and to stumble through the doing as best he could. By and by the bleeding stopped and he sat down by the bed and waited. The night was so still that he could hear every sound a long way off; but no one came, and as he sat there remembered the frightened fugitive look in the woman’s eyes, and said to himself that she probably did not mean to return. . . . The time dragged on — hours and hours, days and nights, it might have been — and finally he heard the doctor’s motor-horn down the lane. He looked at his watch and saw that it wa jimmy choo handbags s hardly an hour since the woman had gone for him.
The doctor said there was nothing to do — never had been, anyhow, from the first. In those cases he never bothered people — just let them stay where they wanted to . . . No, there wouldn’t have been anything to do last winter, even. Of course, if they’d known long ago . . . but it was the quick kind, that had probably been only a few months developing, and in those cases there wasn’t any earthly good in sending people off . . . .
He agreed with Vance that the woman probably wouldn’t come back; hemorrhages always scared that kind of people out of their senses; but he promised to try and get a nurse the first thing in the morning. There was a bad epidemic of grippe, and nurses were scarce in the district; but he’d do what he could . . . and for the time being he thought every jimmy choo uk thing would be comfortable. When he had gone Vance looked at his watch again and saw that it was not yet ten o’clock. He sat down by the bed, where Laura Lou was sleeping with a quiet look on her face.
Before daylight Vance crept out to put coal on the fire and start up the range. He opened the front door and looked out into the thinning darkness. All his actions were mechanical; his mind refused to work. He felt a lethargic heaviness stealing over him, and finding a pot of cold coffee in the kitchen he put it on the range to warm. Then he crept back to Laura Lou, sat down by the bed, and fell asleep . . . When he woke it was broad daylight, but she was still sleeping. He shook himself, got the hot coffee, and swallowed it at a gulp. Then he began to set about such rudimentary housework as he was capable of, while he waited for Laura Lou to wake.
After a while he heard a motor horn. It was not the doctor’s hoot; but perhaps it might be the nurse? He interrupted the cleaning of the kitchen dishes, and when he got to the front door he saw that a big motor had stopped halfway down the lane, and that a man was advancing on foot under the apple trees. He and Vance stared at each other. It was Bunty Hayes.
“Say — this is country life all right!” Hayes exclaim christian louboutin ed, coming forward with outstretched hand. “It takes a sleuth to run you folks down.”
Vance stood motionless on the porch. The shock of Hayes’s sudden appearance acted stupefyingly on his unstrung nerves. For a moment he could not adjust himself to this abrupt intrusion of a world that had passed out of his thoughts. Then anger seized him.
“It was no earthly use running us down,” he said.
“No use?”
“I haven’t got anything for you. I haven’t done a stroke of work, and I’ve spent every cent o cheap jimmy choo f the money you gave me.”
Hayes received this with a look of embarrassment, as though the words offended not his pride but a sense of delicacy which Vance had never suspected in him. He stood in the grass below the doorstep and looked up at Vance, and Vance looked down on him without making any motion to invite him in.
“Why, I didn’t come on business — ” Hayes began.
Vance continued to stand squarely on the upper step. “What did you come for?” he asked; and he saw the blood purple the other’s ruddy face. “I presume you think it’s rather too early in the day for a call?” Hayes continued. He was evidently trying for a tone of conciliatory ease. “Fact is, I heard by accident you were living out in these parts, and as I was running up to the Hudson to spend Sunday I thought you and Mrs. Weston would excuse me if I dropped in on the way . . . .”
Vance continued to stare at him. “Is this Sunday?” he asked.
“Why, yes.” Hayes hesitated a moment. “I’m sorry if I butted in. But see her jimmy choo bridal e, Weston — you look sick. Can I do anything? Is there anything wrong?”
Vance pushed his hair back from his forehead. He realized for the first time that he was unshaved, unwashed, with the fever of his wakeful nights in his eyes. He looked again at Hayes, with a last impulse of contempt and futile anger. A trivial retort rose to his lips; but his voice caught in his throat, he felt the muscles of his face working, and suddenly he broke into sobs. In a moment Hayes was by his side. Vance pressed his fists against his eyes; then he turned and the two men looked at each other.
“Laura Lou?”
Vance nodded. He walked back into the house and Hayes followed him.
“Christ, it’s cold in here!” Hayes exclaimed below his breath.
“Yes. I know. I made the fire, but it’s gone out again. The woman didn’t come back . . . .”
“The woman?”
“The hired woman. When she saw the hemorrhage last night she bolted. The doctor’s trying to find a nurse.” The two spoke to each other in whispers. Hayes’s flush had faded at Vance’s last words, and his face had the ghastly sallowness of full-blooded men when their colour goes.
“Damn the nurse. Here, I guess I’ll do as good as any nurse.” He lowered his voice still more to add: “Is it warmer in where she is?” Vance nodded. “Then I’ll get this fire started first off.” He pulled off his coat and looked about him. “You go back to her — I’ll see to things. I’m used to camping. Don’t you mind about me . . . .”
Vance, as if compelled by a stronger will, turned obediently toward the bedroom. He had not known till Hayes entered the house how desperately his solitude had weighed on him. He felt as if life had recovered its normal measure, as if time were re-established and chaos banished. He understood that he was dizzy with hunger and sleeplessness and fear. He crept back to Laura Lou’s bed and sat down beside her.
She was still asleep; in the half darkness he could just see the faint stir of her breathing. He longed to feel her pulse, but was afraid of disturbing her, and sat there, holding his breath, his body stiffened into immobility. Outside he heard Hayes moving about with a strangely light tread for so heavy a man. “He must have taken off his shoes so as to make less noise,” he thought, with a little twinge of gratitude. It helped him to hear Hayes padding softly about, and to wonder what he was doing. After the ghastly stillness of the night, it made everything less dreadful and unreal to listen to those familiar household sounds.
Presently he thought he would go and get Laura Lou’s milk, to have it within reach when she woke. But the truth was that he could not stay still any longer — he felt a sudden need to see Hayes again, and hear his voice.
He stretched out one foot after another, trying to get stealthily to his legs without her hearing him. But as he got up the chair slipped back and knocked against the side of the bed. He stopped in terror, and Laura Lou stirred, and seemed to struggle to raise her head from the pillow. He ran to the window to pull up the blind, and when he got back to the bed she lifted herself up to him with outstretched arms, and the unbearable look of terror in her face. “Vanny, I’m — ” She dropped back and lay still. He knelt down beside the bed and took her hand; but presently she began to breathe in short racking gasps. A mortal chill stole over him. Those gasps were like the sound of something being wrenched out of its socket. Her eyes were shut and she did not seem to know that he was there.
He got up and went to the door. Through the crack he saw Hayes in his shirtsleeves putting a coffee pot and something steaming in a dish on the table. He beckoned to him and said: “The doctor — you’d better go for him quick.” Then he thought he heard a sound in the bedroom and turned back, trembling. As he moved away Hayes caught his arm. “Is she worse? Can I see her a minute first?” he whispered.
Vance suddenly felt that it would be a relief to have someone else look at that far-off face on the pillow. Perhaps Hayes would know . . . He sighed “Yes,” and Hayes crept into the room after him. They went up to the bed, and Hayes bent over Laura Lou. Her eyes were open now. They looked straight up at the two men, and beyond them, into the unknown. Her hand twitched on the sheet. Suddenly she drew a short breath and then was quiet again. Vance and Hayes stood side by side without speaking. Her hand stopped twitching — it lay still on the sheet, dry and frail as a dead leaf. Hayes suddenly stooped lower, bringing his round close-cropped head close to her lips; then he slowly straightened himself again. “She’s dead,” he said.
Vance stood motionless, uncomprehending. He saw Hayes put out one of his short thick hands and draw down the lids over Laura Lou’s eyes. Then he saw him walk out of the room, very stiffly, with short uneven steps.
The hours passed. Hayes went off to telephone; when he came back the doctor was driving up with a nurse. The two went into the bedroom together, and Vance sat outside on the porch. He felt like an indifferent spectator. After a while Hayes came out and said: “Here, you ought to have something to eat — there’s some eggs and hot coffee in the kitchen.” Vance shook his head and the other disappeared again. The doctor drove off; he told Vance that Mr. Hayes would take the nurse back when she had finished. The word “finished” had a dreadful sound; but Vance did not stir from his place. He felt that whatever was happening within was something with which he had no concern. At last the nurse came out, and Hayes drove her down the road to the trolley. When he came back Vance was still sitting in the same place.
“Won’t you go in and see her now?” Hayes asked hesitatingly.
Without answering, Vance got up and followed him into the house. Hayes paused in the living room, and Vance went up to the closed door of the bedroom. Then he stopped and turned back. “You come too,” he said to Hayes.
The other shook his head. “No, no.”
But Vance felt an indescribable dread of going alone into the utter silence of that room. “You come too,” he repeated, in the tone of an obstinate child. Hayes flushed up, and followed him into the room.
The bed was all white; as he approached, Vance saw that it was covered with white roses and Easter lilies. Hayes must have brought them back in the big box he had lugged in from the motor. Emerging from the coverlet of flowers was a small waxen image with the lineaments of Laura Lou. Her eyes were shut, her pale lips smiled. She seemed to have been modelled by a sculptor who had no power of conveying the deeper emotions — or to have reached a region where they drop from the soul like a worn garment.
Vance had forgotten that Hayes was in the room. For a long while he stood gazing at the empty shell of Laura Lou. He dreaded to touch her, to feel the cold smoothness of her quieted flesh; but he felt that she might know he was there, and perhaps in a dim way resent his indifference. With an effort he bent over her, and laid his hand on her cold hands and his lips on her cold forehead.
Behind him he heard Hayes moving. He turned and saw that the heavy man had got down on his knees, a little way from the bed. He lifted his clasped hands and said in a queer artificial voice: “Shall we pray . . .?” Vance said nothing, and Hayes went on: “Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name . . .” He hesitated, as if he were not sure of the next words. . . . “Forgive us our trespasses against you . . .” he went on “ . . . as I forgive Laura Lou. . . . Oh, God, yes, I do forgive her!” He burst into miserable helpless sobs, burying his face in his hands.
Vance had remained standing beside the bed. He went up to Hayes and put a hand on his shoulder. The other got awkwardly to his feet, fumbling for a handkerchief. Vance took him by the hand, and the two men walked side by side out of the quiet room.
Chapter 46
It was Vance’s last day but one. He was going back to his family at Euphoria.
He had lingered on at the bungalow to try to sleep off his lethargy before seeing people again, and taking up the daily round. He would have liked to go on living there alone, watching the approach of spring, tramping in the woods, writing, dreaming, trying to adjust himself to life again. The solitude of the place, so dreadful to him during the last days of Laura Lou’s illness, had become soothing now that he was alone. But practical reasons made it impossible to remain; and for the present the simplest thing was to return to his parents.
He was beginning to shake off the state of apathy which had overcome him as soon as the strain was over; but even now he could not have said how the days had passed since Laura Lou’s death. All he was certain of was that, after all, no great inner change had befallen him. He remembered how once before, after he had carried her off to New York, reconquering her from her mother and Bunty Hayes, he had expected that everything in their lives would be new and different and how he had gradually come to see that nothing was changed. And it was the same now: life could not change Laura Lou, and neither had death changed her. At first he had imagined that death, the great renewer, would renew his blurred vision of her, set her before him in a completeness he had somehow always missed. But death did nothing of the kind. It left him only that larval image among the white roses, with which his imagination could do nothing. Behind that uncommunicative mask the face of the real Laura Lou was as he had always known it. How could death give people anything they had not had in life, except the pathos of the thwarted destiny? And that he had always felt in Laura Lou. He had always thought of her as someone thwarted and unfulfilled; had often imagined her life with another man — with Bunty Hayes even — as more likely to have given her the chance to express what was in her. But fate had made her choose him instead; and in spite of the incompleteness of their life together he knew, to the very last, that it was what she wanted. It had not needed death to show him that. It was because he knew that he was her choice, and that she would certainly have chosen rather to be unhappy with him than comfortable and contented with anyone else, that the tie between them was sacred. Death had altered nothing in his vision of her, and added nothing to it. Death had simply closed the book in which he had long ago read the last word . . . .
When these thoughts first came they frightened him. It seemed as though he could never have loved Laura Lou; yet this was not so. And she had never been so dear to him as during their last months together. But since he had honestly tried to give her all that she was capable of receiving from him, how was he to blame if her going had left the live forces in him untouched? It was as if a door had quietly opened and shut in a room in which he was working — and when he looked up from his work he saw no change. Someone had gone out, but the room was not more empty . . . .
He had not seen a human being for the last three or four days. The hired woman, ashamed of her desertion, had offered to come back and help him, but he had refused; the doctor had made him promise to telephone if he needed anything; Hayes had wanted him to come and stay in his flat in town. Vance felt a great kindness toward them all — even toward the frightened hired woman he had no resentment. But what they could not any of them understand was how much he wanted to be alone. . . . He had broken into a laugh when, the day after the funeral, he had surprised Hayes and the doctor furtively hunting for his revolver when they thought he was out of sight . . . .

Parašykite komentarą

El. pašto adresas nebus skelbiamas. Būtini laukeliai pažymėti *