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his poetry to George Frenside (if that was the man’s name)? Much chance he’d ever hear of that again . . . likely as not she’d never even done it; just meant to, and forgotten. For if she had, wouldn’t she have had something to report — even if unfavourable? It wasn’t likely she’d stick at telling him a few more home truths, after the stiff dose she’d already administered! Perhaps on second thoughtsshe’d decided the stuff wasn’t worth showing. And yet, hadn’t she told him in so many words that she HAD shown it? No, what she had said, literally, was: “I gave Frenside your poetry to read.” Well, the great critic probably hadn’t taken advantage of his opportunity — perhaps she’d put him off in advance with her comments. “Urge” not a noun! And that nonsense about “dawn” and “lorn” not being good rhymes! God, to see a tone-deaf woman laying down the law — and all Eaglewood kowtowing! Well, he had to laugh at the thought of those stuffed oracles sitting up there and telling each other what was what. . . . What the hell’d he care for their opinion, anyhow — of his poetry, or of himself? Lot of self-opiniated amateurs . . . he had to laugh. . . . Well, he’d go to New York the next day, and look round on his own, and see what the professionals thought about him. . . . After all, he could describe himself as being on the staff of the Free Speaker.
Suddenly a shadow cut off the western sunlight slanting on his book, and he saw one of the young men from Eaglewood leaning on the window and looking in at him — not the fair dissatisfied-looking one they called “Lewis,” but the other: Halo’s brother Lorburn. Lorburn Spear put his hand on the sill, said “Hullo — still at it?” and vaulted into the room. In the middle of the floor he paused, his hands in his pockets, and gazed about with an amused smile and ironically lifted brows. He was slim and dark, like Halo, with the same carefully drawn features as his father, but more height and less majesty than Mr. Spear. An easy accessible sort of fellow; a fellow Vance felt he could have taken a liking to if only — if what? Perhaps it was that his eyes were too close together. Grandma Scrimser always used to say: “Don’t you ever trust a man whose eyes are near enough to be always whispering to each other.” And then she went and trusted everybody — even Grandpa! Fact was, Grandma liked axioms the way you like olives; it never occurred to her they were meant for anything but to roll under your tongue . . . .
“Well,” said Lorry Spear pleasantly, “this is luck, finding you still in the mausoleum. I suppose Halo set you the job and then chucked you? Thought so. She promised to pick me up by and by, but will she? Have you made any amusing finds? Cigarette? No?” He drew out his own, lit one, and dropped into the chair nearest Vance’s. “There ought to be things here, you know,” he went on sending his eyes sharply about him while his attention still seemed to be centred on Vance.
“Things?” Vance echoed excitedly: “I should say so! See here — do you know this?” He pushed across the table the volume of Half Hours, open at Beddoes. Lorry Spear stared, took the book up, glanced at the title page and threw it down. “Well — I don’t believe there’d be any bids for that unless it took the ragpicker’s fancy.”
“The ragpicker —?”
The young men stared at each other, and Lorry laughed.
“Oh, I see: you’re a reader. Halo told me. It’s a conceivable branch of the business, of course.”
“Business —?”
“Business of book-collecting. That’s what books are for, isn’t it? Even people who read ’em have to collect them. But personally I’ve never thought they were meant to be read. You can get all the talk you want — and too much — from live people; I never could see the point of dragging in the dead. The beauty of books is their makeup: like a woman’s. What’s a woman without clothes and paint? Next to nothing, believe me, after you’ve worn off the first surprise. . . . And a book without the right paper, the right type, the right binding, the right date on the title page; well, it’s a blank to me, that’s all.” He got up again, cigarette in hand, and lounged across the room. “Don’t suppose there’s much here, anyhow. I’ve always meant to take a look, and never had time. . . . There might be some Americana — never can tell. The best thing about these ancestors was that they never threw anything away. Didn’t value things; didn’t know about them; but just hung on to them. I shouldn’t wonder — Oh, see here! HULLO!” He stretched his long arm toward an upper shelf, reached down a volume, and stood absorbed.
Vance watched him curiously. He had never seen anyone so easy, self-assured, and yet careless as this brother of Miss Spear’s. “Thought you didn’t care about reading,” he remarked at length, amused at his visitor’s absorption. Young Spear gave a start, and laid the book down. “Oh, I was turning out paradoxes — they madden my family, but amuse me. Trouble about reading at Eaglewood is that whatever you get hold of everybody’s been there before you. No discoveries to be made. But YOU don’t read, do you — you write? You’ll find nobody can do both. What’s your line? Poetry?”
Vance was trembling with excitement, as he always did when anyone touched on his vocation. But his recent experiences had caused a sort of protective skin to grow over his secret sensibilities — or was it that really the eyes of this good-looking young man were too close together? Vance could imagine having all kinds of a good time with him, but not talking to him of anything that lay under that skin. “Oh, I guess there’ll be time for me to choose a line later,” he said. “I’m in the reading stage still. And this old house interests me. Where I come from everything’s bran’ new — houses and books and everything. We throw ’em out when they get shabby. And I like looking at all these things that folks have kept right along — hung onto, as you say.”
Lorburn Spear looked at him with interest, with sympathy even, Vance thought. For a second his smile had the fugitive radiance of his sister’s. “Why, yes, I see your point: what you might call the novelty of permanence. And this place certainly has character, though old Tom Lorburn is too stupid to see it. And our Cousin Elinor had character too! Good head, eh?” He glanced up at the portrait, still with that odd air of keeping hold of Vance while he looked away from him. “You know she did a good deal to the house when she inherited it. This room expresses one side of her; her maturity, her acceptance. But when she did the drawing rooms she was frivolous, she still dreamed of dancing — she’d read Byron on the waltz, poor girl! What an appetizer it must have been to those women to have so many things forbidden! Seen the rest of the rooms? N nike free review o? Oh, but they’re worth it. Come along before it gets too dark.”
Gaily, with his long free step, he led the way across the patterned parquet, and Vance followed, captivated by the image of a young Miss Lorburn who still dreamed of dancing, and to whom so many things were sweet because forbidden. “Yet she ended in her library . . . .” he thought.
Lorry Spear was a stimulating guide. His quick touches woke the dumb rooms to life, lit the dusky wax candles in chandeliers and wall brackets, drew a Weber waltz from the slumbering piano, peopled the floor with gaily circling couples, even made Vance see the dotted muslins and billowy tarlatans looped with camellias of the young women with their ringlets and sandalled feet. He found the cleverest words, made it all visible and almost tangible, knew even what flowers there would have been in the ornate porcelain vases: mignonette and pinks, with heavy pink roses, he decided: “Yes — I ought to have been a theatrical decorator; would be, if only the boss would put up the cash. But to do that they’d have to sell Eaglewood — or marry Halo to a millionaire,” he added with an impatient laugh.
Upstairs he took Vance over the funny bedrooms, so big and high~ceilinged, with beds of mahogany or rosewood, and the lace-looped toilet tables (like the ladies’ ball-dr Cheap Nike Free Run 3/5.0 Runners Shoes Australia Womens/Mens Sale esses) with gilt mirror frames peeping through the festoons, and big marble-topped washstands that carried carafes and goblets of cut glass, porcelain basins and ewers with flower garlands. In one of the dressing rooms (Miss Lorburn’s) there was a specially ornate toilet set, with a ewer in the shape of a swan with curving throat and flattened wings, and a basin Nike Free Run like a nest of rushes. “Poor Elinor — I supposed she dreamed of a Lohengrin before the letter, and hoped to find a baby in the bulrushes,” Lorry commented; and Vance, understanding the allusions, felt a pang of sympathy for the lonely woman. At the end of the passage, in one of the freakish towers, was a circular room with blue brocade curtains and tufted furniture, the walls hung with large coloured lithographs of peasant girls dancing to tambourines, and young fellows in breeches and velvet jackets who drove oxcarts laden with ripe grapes. “The Italy of her day,” Lorry smiled. “She must have done this boudoir in the Lohengrin stage. And she ended in spectacles, cold and immaculate, reading Coleridge all alone. Brr!” He nike free run plus broke off, and turned to the window. “Hullo! Isn’t that Halo?”
The hoarse bark of the Eaglewood motor sounded at the gate. “Come along down,” Lorry continued. “You’d better take advantage of the lift home. Besides, it’s too dark to do much more here.”
They started down the stairs, but in the hall Vance hesitated. “I’ve left the books piled up anyhow. Guess I’d better go back and put them on the shelves.” He realized suddenly that for the last two days he had done neither dusting nor sorting, and wondered what Miss Spear would say if she saw the havoc he had created.
“Not on your life!” Lorry enjoined him. “You could ha nike free running shoes rdly see a yard before your nose in the library by this time, and lighting up is strictly forbidden. Might set the old place on fire. If it was mine I’d do it, and collect the insurance; but old Tom don’t need to, curse him.” He stopped short, and clapped his hand on his waistcoat pocket. “I must have left my cigarette case in there. Yes, I remember. You wait here — ”
He spun down the polished floor of the drawing nike free -rooms and disappeared. Vance waited impatiently. Although the June sky outside was still full of daylight it was dark already in the hall with its sombre panelling and heavy oak stairs. Now and then he heard the croak of the Eaglewood motor and he wondered how much longer Miss Spear would deign to wait. Between the motor calls the silence was oppressive. What could young Spear have done with his cigarette case? Once Vance thought he heard the banging of a window in the distance. Could it be that he had forgotten to close the windows in the library? But he was sure he had not; and the sound took on the ghostly resonance of unexplained noises. Perhaps that silly Laura Lou was right to be scared — as dusk fell it became easier to believe that the Willows might be haunted. Vance started back across the echoing parquet to the l nike free run 2 review ibrary; but halfway he met Lorry returning.
“Couldn’t find the damn thing,” he grumbled. “Got the keys, eh?” Vance said he had, and they moved toward the door. On the threshold Lorry paused, and turned to him again with Halo’s smile. “You haven’t got ten dollars you don’t know what to do with? Like a fool I let Lewis and Frenside keep me up half the night playing poker. . . . Well, that’s white of you. Thanks. Settle next week. And don’t mention it to Halo, will you? The old people are down on poker . . . and on everything else I want to do.” Vance turned the key in the front door, and the two walked through the long grass to the gate.
Vance felt grown-up and important. It put him at his ease with Lorry’s sister to have a secret between men to keep from her.
Chapter 12
Vance turned over slowly, opened his eyes, pushed back nike free 3.0 review his rumpled hair, and did not at first make out where he was.
He thought the bed was a double one, black walnut with carved ornaments and a pink mosquito net, on the wall facing him a large photograph of a fat man with a Knights of Pythias badge and a stiff collar, and a gramophone shrieking out the Volga Boat Song somewhere below.
Then the vision merged into the more familiar one of his neat little room at Euphoria, of college photographs and trophies on the walls, and the sound of early splashing in the white-tiled bathroom at the end of the passage. But this picture also failed to adapt itself to his clearing vision, and gradually he thought: “Why, I’m back at Paul’s Landing,” and the sloping ceiling, the flies banging against the pane, the glimpse, outside, of a patch of currant bushes backed by sultry blue woods, came nike free 5.0 v4 to him with mingled reassurance and alarm. “What the hell — ” he thought.
Oh — he knew now. That baseball game over in New Jersey had been Upton’s idea. It was a Saturday, the day after Lorry Spear’s visit to the Willows. When Vance got back to the Tracys’ Upton had been waiting at the gate, his eyes bursting out of his head. A fellow had given him tickets: Bunty Hayes, a reporter on the Paul’s Landing paper. They could leave next morning by the first train, take a look round in New York, and reach the field in good time. As it was a Saturday there would be no difficulty in Upton’s getting off. Vance was struck by the change in him: his pale face flushed, his shy evasive eyes burning with excitement, his very way of moving and walking full of a swagger and self-importance which made him seem years older.
Indoors, under Mrs. Tracy’s eyes, he relapsed at once into the shy sham http://www.righteouspups.org.au/free.aspx bling boy with callous hands and boots covered with mud from the nursery. Mrs. Tracy did not oppose the plan, or did so only on the ground of Vance’s health. They had a long hot day before them, and could not get home till ten or eleven o’clock at night. He must remember that he was just getting over a bad illness. . . . But Vance refused to be regarded as an invalid, or even as a convalescent. He was well again, he declared, and equal to anything. Mrs. Tracy could not but acknowledge how much he had gained during his fortnight at Paul’s Landing; and she finally gave a colourless assent to the expedition, on condition that the two youths should take the earliest possible train home, and keep out of bad company — like that Bunty Hayes, she added. Vance and Upton knew it was not her way to acquiesce joyfully in any suggestion which broke the routine of life, and after giving h nike free trainers uk er the requisite assurances they began their preparations lightheartedly.
In the morning, when they came down to gulp the cold coffee and sandwiches she had laid out overnight, Vance was astonished to find Laura Lou in the kitchen, in her refurbished yellow muslin, with a becoming shade-hat on her silvery-golden head. “You’re going to take me, aren’t you? I’ve warmed the coffee and boiled some eggs for you,” she said to Vance in her childish way; and it caused him a pang when Upton, with a brother’s brutality, reminded her that she knew Bunty’d only given him two tickets. Her lower lip began to tremble, her big helpless gray eyes to fill: Vance asked himself with inward vexation whether he ought to surrender his ticket to this tiresome child. But before he had made up his mind Upton cut short his sister’s entreaties. “We’re going with a lot of fellows: you know Mother wouldn’t hear of it. What’s all the fuss about anyway? You’ nike free 3.0 sale ve got that school picnic this afternoon. That’s what you were doing up your dress for yesterday. Don’t you take any notice of her, Vance.” She ran from the room, crimson and half crying; and Vance ate his eggs with compunction and relief. He didn’t want any girl on his hands the first day he saw New York . . . .
They were there only a couple of hours, and there was no use trying to hunt up an editor. The most he could achieve was a distant view of the most notable skyscrapers, a gasp at Fifth Avenue and a dip into Broadway, before dashing to the Pennsylvania Station for the Jersey train. From that moment they were caught up in the baseball crowd, a crowd of which he had never seen the like. Life became a perspiring struggle, a struggle for air, for a foothold, for a sight of anything but the hot dripping napes and shoulder blades that hemmed them in. Finally, somehow, they had reached the field, got through the gates, found their places, discovered Bunty Hayes nearby with a crowd of congenial spirits, and settled down to the j cheap nike free run 2 oys of spectatorship — or such glimpses of it as their seats permitted. It was a comfort to Vance to reflect that he had been right not to give his ticket to Laura Lou; such a frail creature could hardly have come alive out of the battle.
The oddest thing about the adventure was the transformation of Upton. Vance would have imagined Upton to be almost as unfitted as his sister for such a test of nerve and muscle; but the timorous youth of Paul’s Landing developed, with the donning of his Sunday clothes, an unforeseen audacity and composure. The fact that Vance didn’t know the ropes seemed to give Upton a sense of superiority; he said at intervals: “Come right along; stick to me; don’t let ’em put it over on you,” in a tone of almost patronizing reassurance. And when they joined Bunty Hayes, who was one of the free spirits of Paul’s Landing, Vance was struck by the intimacy of his greeting of Upton, and by the “Hullo, Uppy boy” — “Say, that the Tracy kid?” of his companions. It was evident that Upton had already acquired the art of the double life, and that the sheepish boy who went about his job at the Paul’s Landing nursery, and clumped home for supper with mud and manure on his boots, was the pale shade of the real Upton, a dashing blade with his straw hat too far back on his pale blond hair, and a fraternity ribbon suddenly budding in his buttonhole. “Wonder if Laura Lou knows?” Vance speculated, and concluded that she did, and that brother and sister carried on their own lives under Mrs. Tracy’s unsuspecting eye. He was rather sorry now that they hadn’t brought Laura Lou after all; it would have been curious to see her blossom out like her brother. But Vance soon forgot her in the exhilaration of watching the game. It was his first holiday for months; for the dull business of convalescence had nothing to do with holiday~making. The noise and excitement about him were contagious, and he cheered and yelled with the rest, exchanged jokes with Bunty Hayes and his friends, and felt himself saturated with the vigour of all the young and vigorous life about him. But when the game was over, and the crowd began to scatter, the vitality seemed to ebb out of him as the spectators ebbed out of the stadium. It was still very hot; he had shouted himself hoarse; they had ahead of them the struggle at the station, the struggle to get into a train, the stifling journey home — and Vance began to feel that he was still a convalescent, with no reserves of strength. At Euphoria, after a ball game, a dozen people would have been ready to give him a lift home; but here he knew no one, Upton seemed to have no acquaintances but Bunty Hayes and his crowd, and Paul’s Landing, where they all came from, was a long way off.
“See here — you look sick,” said Bunty Hayes, touching him on the shoulder.
Vance flushed up. “Sick? I’m hot and thirsty, that’s all.” He wasn’t going to have any of that lot of Upton’s treating him like a sissy.
“Well, that’s easy. Come round with us and have a cool-off. We’re all going to look in at the Crans’, close by here. This is their car: jump in, sonny.”
Suddenly a motor stood there: Vance remembered piling into it with Upton, Bunty Hayes, and some other fellows; they sat on each other’s laps and on the hood. A girl who laughed very much and had blown-back hair, dyed red, was at the wheel. Where were they going? Who was she? Vance didn’t care. As the motor began to move the wind stirred in his own hair, driving it back like the girl’s, and life flowed through him again. He began to laugh, and tried to light a cigarette, but couldn’t, because there wasn’t enough elbow-room for a sardine. The others laughed at his ineffectual attempt, and another girl, perched somewhere behind him, lit a cigarette and leaned forward to push it between his lips. They were going to the Crans’, and he found out, he didn’t know how, that these two were the Cran girls — Cuty with the dyed hair at the wheel, and the younger, ‘Smeralda they called her, sitting behind him on the hood between two fellows, so that his head rested against her knees, and he felt, through his hair, the warm flesh where her scant skirt had slipped up. Once or twice, after they had left the state highway, the overloaded motor nearly stuck in the deep ruts of the country road, and everybody laughed and cheered and gave college yells till Cuty somehow got them going again.
Ah, how good the cool drinks were when they got to the Crans’! It was at the back of the house, he remembered, under an arbour of scarlet runners that looked out on a long narrow yard where clothes were drying. Some of the clothes were funny little garments with lace edgings and holes for ribbon, and there was a good deal of joking about that, and he remembered Cuty Cran crying out: “No, it ain’t! No, I don’t! Mine are crepp-de-sheen. . . . Well, you come upstairs and see, then . . . .” But Cuty was not the one he fancied; and anyhow, since Floss he’d never . . . and he had young Upton to look after . . . .
As the shadows lengthened it grew quiet and almost cool under the arbour. The girls had the house to themselves, it appeared, Mr. and Mrs. Cran having been called away that morning to the bedside of a grandmother who had been suddenly taken sick somewhere upstate. “Real accommodating of the old lady to develop stomach trouble the day before the game,” Bunty commented to the sisters, who responded with shrieks of appreciation. “Not the first time either,” he continued, winking at his admiring audience, and the sisters shrieked afresh. The redhaired one was the current type of brazen minx — but the younger, ‘Smeralda, with her smouldering eyes and her heavy beauty of chin and throat — ah, the younger, for his undoing, reminded Vance of Floss Delaney. She had the same sultry pallor, the same dark penthouse of hair . . . .
Presently some other girls turned up, and there were more drinks and more jokes about Mr. and Mrs. Cran being away. “Guess some of us fellows ought to stay and act watchdog for you two kiddies,” Bunty humorously suggested. “Ain’t you scared nights, all alone in this great big house?” A general laugh hailed this, for the Cran homestead was of the most modest proportions. But it stood apart in the fields, with a little wood behind it and the girls had to admit that it WAS lonesome at night, particularly since somebody’d poisoned the dog. . . . More laughs, and a burlesque confession from Bunty that he’d poisoned the dog for his own dark ends, which evoked still shriller cries of amusement. . . . Bunty always found something witty and unexpected to say . . . .
There was a young moon, and it glinted through the dusk of the bean leaves and silvered their edges as darkness fell. Bunty and Cuty, and the other girls and fellows, wandered off down into the wood. Vance meant to follow, but he was very tired and sleepy, and a little befuddled with alcohol, and his broken-down rocking chair held him like a cradle.
“You’re dead beat aren’t you?” he heard one of the girls say, and felt a soft hand push back his hair. He opened his eyes and ‘Smeralda’s were burning into his.
“Come right upstairs, and you can lay down on Mother’s bed,” she continued persuasively.
He remembered saying: “Where’s Upton?” with a last clutch at his vanishing sense of responsibility, and she answered: “Oh, he’s down in the woods with Cuty and the others,” and pulled Vance to his feet. He followed her upstairs through the darkening house, and at the top of the landing she slid a burning palm in his . . . .
As his vision readjusted itself and he found that he was in a narrow iron bedstead, instead of a wide one of black walnut, with a portrait of Mr. Cran facing him, he began to wonder how he had got from the one couch to the other, and how much time had elapsed in the transit. . . . But the effort of wondering was too much for him; his aching head dropped back . . . .
The recollection of Upton shot through him rebukingly; but he said to himself that Upton hadn’t needed any advice, and would probably have rejected it if offered. “He ran the show — it was all fixed up beforehand between him and the Hayes fellow. . . . I wonder if his mother knows?” The thought of Mrs. Tracy was less easy to appease. He remembered her warning against Hayes, her adjuration that they should avoid bad company and come home before night; and he would have given the world to be in his own bed at Euphoria, with no difficulties to deal with but such as could be settled between himself and his family. “If I only knew the day of the week it is!” he thought, feeling more and more ashamed of the part he had played, and more and more scared of its probable consequences. “She’ll cry — and I shall hate that,” he reflected squeamishly.
At last he tumbled out of bed, soused his head in cold water, got into his clothes, and shuffled downstairs. The house was quiet, the hour evidently going toward sunset. In the back porch Mrs. Tracy sat shelling peas. There was no sign of emotion on her face, which was sallow and stony. She simply remarked, without meeting his eyes: “You’ll find some fried liver left out on the table,” and bent again to her task.
“Oh, I don’t want anything — I’m not hungry,” he stammered, longing to question her, to find out from her all that remained obscure in his own history, to apologize and to explain — if any explanation should occur to him! But she would not look up, and he found it impossible to pour out his excuses to her bent head, with the tired~looking hair drawn thinly over the skin, like the last strands of cotton round one of his mother’s spools. “Funny women should get to look like that,” he thought with a shiver of repulsion. To cut the situation short, he wandered into the dining room, looked at the fried liver and sodden potatoes, tried in vain to guess of what meal they were the survival, and turned away with the same sense of disgust with which the top of Mrs. Tracy’s head had inspired him.
In the passage he wavered, wondering if he should go up again to his room or wander out in the heat. If Mrs. Tracy had not been in the porch his preference would have been to return there and go to sleep again in the hammock. Then he determined to go back and have it out with her.
“Can’t I help with those peas?” he asked, sitting down beside her. She lifted her head and looked at him with eyes of condemnation. “No, I don’t want any help with the peas. Or any help from you, anyhow. You’d better go upstairs and sleep off your drunk before Miss Spear and Mr. Lorburn come round again — ”
“My drunk?” Vance flushed crimson. “I don’t know what you mean — ”
“The words are English, I guess. And you’ll want all your wits about you when you see Mr. Lorburn.”
“Who’s Mr. Lorburn? Why should he want to see me?”
“He’s the owner of the Willows. He’ll tell you soon enough why he wants to see you.”
Vance felt a sinking of the heart. “I don’t know what Mr. Lorburn’s got to say to me,” he muttered, but he did.
“Well, I presume HE does.” Mrs. Tracy pushed aside the basket of peas and stood up. Her face was a leaden white and her lower lip twitched. “Not as I care,” she continued, in a level voice as blank as her eyes, “what he says to you, or what you feel about it. What’s a few old books, one way or another? I don’t care if you did take his books — ”
“Take his books?” Vance gasped; but she paid no heed.
“ — When what you took from me was my son. I trusted him with you, Vance; I thought you’d had enough kindness in this house to feel some obligation. I said to you: ‘Well, go to that game if you’re a mind to. But swear to me you’ll be back the same night, both of you; and keep away from that Hayes and his rough crowd.’ And you swore to me you would. And here I sat and waited and waited — the first time Upton was ever away from me for a night, and not so much as knowing where he was. And then a second night, and no sign of you. I thought I’d go mad then. I began life grand enough, as your folks’ll tell you; and now everything’s gone from me except my children. And when you crawled in yesterday evening, the two of you, I knew right away where you’d been, and what you’d been doing — and leading Upton into. It’s not the first time you’ve been out all night since you came here, Vance Weston; but I wasn’t going to say anything about the other time, if only you’d have let Upton alone. Now I guess you’d better tell your folks the air here don’t agree with you. And here’s the money your father sent me for your first fortnight. Take it.”
She held out the money in a twitching hand, and Vance took it because at that moment he would not have dared to disobey any injunction she laid on him. And, besides, he could understand her hating that money. There was something much more alarming to him in the wrath of this mild creature than in the explosions of the choleric. When Mr. Weston was angry Vance knew it bucked him up like a cocktail; but Mrs. Tracy’s anger clearly caused her suffering instead of relief, was only one more misery in a life made up of them. “If it hurts her to keep that money I’d better take it,” he thought vaguely.
“You mean I’d better go?” he asked.
“You’d better go,” she flung back with white lips.
“I’m sorry,” was all he could think of saying. It was awfully unjust about Upton, but the boy WAS his junior by two or three years, and of course, if his mother didn’t know . . .
“All right, I’ll go if you say so. Is this Monday or Tuesday?”
“It’s Tuesday, and near suppertime,” said Mrs. Tracy contemptuously. “I trust you’ve enjoyed your sleep.” She gathered up the basket of pods and the bowl of shelled peas, and walked into the kitchen. Vance stood gazing after her with a mind emptied of all willpower. It seemed incredible that three nights should have passed since he and Upton had set out so lightheartedly for the ball game. He had always hated the idea of drunken bouts — had never been in one like this since his freshman year. His self-disgust seemed to cling to every part of him, like a bad taste in the mouth or a smell of stale tobacco in the clothes. He didn’t know what had become of the Vance of the mountain pool and of the library at the Willows . . . .
The Willows! The name suddenly recalled Mrs. Tracy’s menacing allusion. What had she meant by saying that he had taken old Mr. Lorburn’s books? She must have lost her head, worrying over Upton. He HAD left the books in a mess, the evening before the ball game; he remembered that. He had wanted to go back and straighten them out, and Lorry Spear had dissuaded him; said it was too dark, and it wouldn’t do, in that old house, to light a candle. And now it would seem that the absentee owner of the place, who, according to Miss Spear, never came there, had turned up unexpectedly, and found things in disorder. Well, Vance had to own that the fault was his; he would have liked to see Miss Spear, and tell her so, before leaving. But the pale hostility of Mrs. Tracy’s face seemed to thrust him out of her door, out of Paul’s Landing. He thought to himself that the easiest thing would be to pack up and go at once — he did not want to sit at the table again with that face opposite to him. And Upton, the dirty sneak, would be afraid, he felt sure, to say a word in his defence . . . to tell his mother that the Hayes gang, and the Cran girls, were old acquaintances. . . . “No, I’ll go now,” Vance thought.
He went up to his room, packed up his clothes, and jammed his heap of scribbled papers in on top of them; then he leaned for a moment in the window and looked out to the hills. Up there, behind that motionless mask of trees, lived the girl with whom he had wandered in another world. He would have liked to see her again, to be with her just once on those rocks facing the sunrise. . . . Well . . . and how was he going to get his things down to the station? He guessed he was strong enough by this time to lug them down the lane to the trolley . . . He started downstairs with the suitcase and the unwieldy old bag into which his mother, at the last moment, had crammed a lot of useless stuff. The sound of the bags bumping against the stairs brought Mrs. Tracy to the kitchen door. She stared at Vance, surprised: “Where are you going?”

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