Getting at once to the heart of things

“Won’t I? You’ll see, then — ” He caught her by the wrist, and they stood glaring at each other and breathing hard, like two angry young animals. Then Halo, with a laugh, wrenched her hand free, and reopening the bag drew out another ten dollars. She tossed the three notes on the table, and walked across the hall and out of the front door. No footsteps followed her, and she deemed it superfluous to glance back and see if the money had been removed from the table.
Chapter 8
In the cobwebby coach-house of the old stable she found the man-of~all-work, Jacob, who was chauffeur when he was not gardener and dairyman, lying on the floor with his head under the car. He emerged at her call, and said he guessed there was something wrong again, because Mr. Lorry had had trouble getting her up the hill, and maybe he’d better take her to pieces while he was about it.
“Not on your life. I’m going down to Paul’s Landing in her th nike free running shoes is minute.”
Jacob stared, but without protesting. “You won’t get back, very likely,” he merely observed, and Halo scrambled into the motor with a laugh and a shrug. The motor, she said to herself, was like life in general at Eaglewood: it was always breaking down, but it always managed to keep on going. “Tied together with string and patched up with court plaster: that’s been the way with everything in the family ever since I can remember.” She gave a little sigh as she slipped down the overgrown drive, heading for the stone pillars of the gateway. The motor, she knew, would be all right going down the hill to Paul’s Landing — and after that, at the moment, she didn’t particularly care. If she and Lewis Tarrant had to wa nike free trainers uk lk back to Eaglewood in the dark — well, Lewis wouldn’t mind, she imagined. But meanwhile she had to catch up somehow with her forgotten engagement.
In a few minutes the winding road down the mountain brought her to the sad outskirts of Paul’s Landing, and thence to the Tracys’ house. She jumped out, ran up the steps and knocked, looking about her curiously as she did so. She seldom went to the Tracys’, and had forgotten how shabby and humble the place was. The discovery increased her sense of compunction and self-disapproval. How could she have forgotten that clever boy there for so long! If he had been one of her own nike free 3.0 sale group it would never have happened. “If there’s anything I hate,” she reflected, “it’s seeming casual to people who live like this.” And instantly she decided that one ought to devote one’s whole life to the Tracys and their kind, and that to enjoy the world’s goods, even in the limited and precarious way in which they were enjoyed at Eaglewood, while other lives like these were being lived at one’s door, denoted nike free 5.0 v4 a vulgarity of soul which was the last fault she would have cared to confess to. What made it worse, too, in the particular case, was the Tracys’ far-off cousinship with the Lorburn family; the fact that two or three generations ago a foolish (and elderly) Lorburn virgin had run away with farmer Tracy’s son, wh nike free o worked in the cement factory down on the river, and being cast off by her family had dropped to the level of her husband’s, with whom affairs had not gone well, and who had left his widow and children in poverty. Nowadays all this would have signified much less, as far as the family’s social situation went; but in the compact life of sixty years ago it was a hopeless fall to lapse from the height of Eaglewood to the depth in which the small shopkeepers and farmers of Paul’s Landing had their being. It was all wron nike free run 3.0 g, Halo mused, wrinkling her young brows like her mother’s in the effort to think out, then and there, while she waited for her ring to be answered, the quickest way of putting an end to such injustice.
The development of her plan was interrupted by the appearance of young Upton, who looked at her nike free run plus with such surprise that she felt more acutely than ever her suddenly discovered obligation toward his family.
“Oh, Upton, how are you? I know I’ve interrupted you at supper! I hope your mother won’t be very angry with me.”
“Angry —?” young Tracy echoed, bewildered. He passed the back of his hand over his mouth in the effort to conceal the fact that she had rightly suspected him of coming from supper. “I thought mebbe there was something wrong at the Willows,” he said.
“The Willows! No. Or rather, yes, it is about the Willows — ” She burst out laughing. “Don’t look so frightened, poor Upton! The wrongdoing’s mine, all mine. I believe I promised to meet your cousin there this afternoon, to let him take a look at the books . . . .” She looked interrogatively at Upton, and caught his motion of assent. “Didn’t I? Yes. Well — and I didn’t go. It was all my fault. The fact is I was . . . prevented . . . at the last minute. I should so like to see him and explain . . . .”
“Oh,” said Upton, with evident relief. He glanced about him timidly, away from her sweeping searching eyes: “If you’ll step into the parlour, Miss Halo — ”
She shook her head. “No, I won’t do that, or your mother’ll feel she ought to leave her supper to receive me. And I’ve only got a minute — I’m meeting a friend at the station,” she reminded herself with a start, for that also she had b nike free run 2 review een near forgetting. “So if you’ll just ask your cousin — Vance, that’s his name, isn’t it? — ask him to come out here and say two words to me . . .”
“Oh, certainly,” Upton agreed. He turned back into the house, but the visitor caught him by the sleeve. “Upton! Listen. Don’t mention my name; don’t tell Vance I’m here. Just say it’s somebody with a message — SOMEBODY WITH A MESSAGE,” she repeated, trying with her sharp italics to bore the fact into the youth’s brain.
“Oh, certainly,” Upton repeated. He walked away to the back of the house, and Hélo?se, already partly rid of her burden of self~reproach, as she always tended to be the moment she had given it expression, stood looking absently over the garden, the broken-down fence, and the darkness already gathering in the folds of the hills.
She heard another step, and saw Va cheap nike free run nce Weston. He stood gazing at her with wide open eyes, his face small and drawn from his recent illness. In the twilight of the library at the Willows he had not looked so boyish; now she was struck by his frailness and immaturity, and felt sorrier than ever that she had failed to keep her promise.
“It’s me, Vance. I’ve come to apologize about this afternoon.”
“Oh — ” he began, as awkwardly as Upton.
“You went to the Willows after lunch, and waited for me?” He nodded without speaking.
“Waited HOURS?”
“I didn’t mind. I sat in the porch. I liked it.”
“Well, it was hideous of me — hideous! I don’t know how . . .”
He looked at her in surprise. “How could you help it? Upton said something prevented you — ”
“Ah — then he told you I was here?” She laughed with amusement, and relapsed into self-accusal. “It was worse, much worse! nike free 3.0 review What I told Upton wasn’t true. Nothing prevented me — and nobody. I simply forgot. The day was so heavenly — wasn’t it? I went off alone, up the mountain, to bathe in a pool in the woods; and I took some books and the dogs; and I forgot everything. . . . Can you ever forgive me?” She stretched her hands out, but he stood and looked at them, bewildered, as if not believing such a gift could be meant for him, even for the space of a touch.
“A pool in the woods . . . is it anywhere near here? Could I get to it?” he questioned eagerly.
“Of course you could. I’ll take you. It’s the divinest place! In weather like this it’s better even than books. . . . But you shall see the books too,” she added, suffusing him in her sudden smile.
He reddened slightly, with the flush of convalescence, which leaves the face paler when it goes. “I nike free review — that’s awfully kind . . .”
“No. I’m never kind. But I like to share my treasures — sometimes.” She continued to look at him, noting with a sort of detached appreciation, as characteristic of her as the outward glow, the good shape of his head with its shock of rumpled brown hair, the breadth and modelling of his forehead, and the strong planting of the nose between his widely set eyes, the gray eyes which sometimes seemed to bring his whole self to their surface, and sometimes to draw it back into an inaccessible retreat, as when she had surprised him over “Kubla Khan” at the Willows. Decidedly, she thought, in saying that she had not gone too far. She was jealous of what she called her treasures; but here was someone with whom they might be shared. Yes, she would let him see the pool. . . . But when? Her life was always cheap nike free run 2 crowded with projects, engagements, fragments of unfinished work; there were always people arriving at Eaglewood, or opportunities to dash off from it (with visitors who had motors), or passionately absorbing things to be dealt with on the spot — as she was dealing with the Weston boy now. Yes, better do it at once, before other things crowded in. It would be the friendliest way of wiping out her forgetfulness . . . .
“Do you get up early?” she asked. “Do you care about sunrises?”
He coloured again, with pleasure, as it seemed. Her elliptic interrogatory seemed to have no fears for him. “Yes. I guess the pool would be great then,” he said.
“Oh, well, we’ll see the Hudson first. You can’t see it from here, can you?” She felt a sudden contempt for the unimaginativeness of living like the Tracys. “You’ve no idea what it is from Eaglewood — and better still from up above — from the ridge of Thundertop. The river’s like a sea at that hour. You don’t speak German?” He made a negative gesture, and she added: “I was only going to quote something from Faust — you’ll read it some day — but now just listen to the sound:
“‘Die Sonne t?nt nach alter Weise
In Brudersph?ren Wettgesang.
Und ihre vorgeschriebene Reise
Vollendet sie mit Donnergang.
Ihr Anblick giebt den Engeln St?rke
Wenn keiner sie ergründen mag,
Die unbegreiflich hohen Werke
Sind herrlich wie am ersten Tag.’
“Isn’t that beautiful to you, just as mere music, without any meaning? Besides, that whole question of MEANING in poetry . . . I have an old friend I wrangle with about it by the hour . . .” She broke off, and gathering up her whole attention, poured it for a moment into the gaze she shed on him. “I have an idea! If you’re not afraid of getting too tired (you’ve been ill, I know), what do you say to my bringing the car down to the corner of the lane tomorrow, about half an hour before sunrise? I’ll run you up to Thundertop first, and we’ll have a picnic breakfast by the pool. Does that tempt you? Only you’ll have to get up — when? Half-past two, I suppose! And we’ll see the stars fade like flowers, and a new world born — don’t you feel it’s a new world every morning? And it will be all ours, with no one to interfere, or spoil it — Oh, Vance,” she broke off, lifting her wrist to her short-sighted eyes. “I do believe my watch has stopped! The brute! Can you tell me the time? I’ve got to meet a friend at the station, and it’s nearly dark, and the car’s only going on one leg . . . .” He pulled out a new-looking watch, and gave her the hour. “Oh, misery! can I make it? Well, I’ll have to try, or Lewis won’t have his suitcase till tomorrow; and he loathes borrowing pyjamas.” She stood poised in the dusk of the porch as if her outcry had given her wings; then she turned and held out her hand. This time Vance took it in his. “Well — so long. Don’t oversleep yourself! I’ll be on the stroke tomorrow,” she laughed.
She ran down the steps and scrambled into the car, and the Providence which cares for the improvident carried her to the station just in time for the arrival of the train from New York.
A perspiring throng was pouring out of the station, but she had to wait for some time before she was joined by a fair-haired young man in a light gray suit, whose movements had the deliberation of a nervous traveller determined to keep cool.
The two greeted each other with friendly familiarity. “I was afraid you’d get tired of waiting, and run away before I turned up,” the young man said, as he put himself and his suitcase into the motor, “but I didn’t want to get mixed up with that dripping crowd.”
She replied with a laugh that running away was the last thing the motor was thinking of, and that it was doubtful if they wouldn’t have to push her up the hill or drop her at a garage for repairs. But this did not seem to dismay him.
“I suppose Lorry’s been out in her again,” he merely remarked; and Miss Spear rejoined that it was no use trying to hide the family secrets from him. He settled himself comfortably at her side, and she put her hand on the wheel. The car, after making a spasmodic dash, hovered a moment between arrest and movement, and then spurted up the mountain as if nothing in the world had been the matter with it. As they bumped up the road under the dark arch of overhanging trees Halo lapsed into silence, her attention seemingly absorbed in the delicate task of persuading the motor to forget its grievances till they were safely landed at Eaglewood. In reality her mind was still lingering over her talk with young Weston, and his curious way of leaping straight at the gist of things, as when, at the Willows, he had asked her as soon as she appeared in the doorway who had written “Kubla Khan,” and just now had seized upon her mention of a mountain pool, instantly crying: “Could I get to it?” That way of disposing of preliminaries, brushing them aside with an impatient shake, as he tossed the tumbled hair from his forehead — what a sense it gave of a latent power under his unformed boyish manner. And what a wonderful thing life would be without idle preliminaries — as clear of smoke and rubbish as the crystal world of sunrise she was going to show him from the mountain! Getting at once to the heart of things: that was the secret. But how many people know it, or had any idea where the heart of things really was? . . .
She felt a touch on her arm. “Penny, Halo.”
“My thoughts? I don’t know. . . . Well, yes.” She gave a little laugh. “I was thinking I’d spent thirty dollars this afternoon, and what I’d bought with it.”
“New hat?”

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