with the adornment of the rooms

y felt ashamed of her own impotent anger. She could have rendered Vance no worse service than by harping to her husband on his blunder. For the sake of satisfying a burst of temper as useless as Tarrant’s she had risked what little hope there was of bringing him around to a kindlier view. But it was almost impossible for her to be adroit and patient when she dealt with anything near to her heart. Then generosity and frankness were her only weapons — and they were about as availing as bows and arrows against a machine-gun. At length she said: “I can understand Dreck and Saltzer taking this stand — I suppose, from a business point of view, it’s all right. But with you it’s so different, isn’t it? Fellow artists surely ought to look at the question from the same angle. Vance is terribly poor . . . his wife is ill . . . in some respects his collaboration hasn’t been of much use to the review, and I should think you’d be glad, if the New Hour can’t afford to raise his pay, to let him off his bargain, and get Dreck and Saltzer to do the same. What harm can it do either of you? And at any rate you’ll have given him the chance of trying his luck elsewhere. . . . I daresay he was stupid, and even rude, in his talk with you — he’s got no tact, no cleverness of that kind — but you, who’ve got all the social experience he lacks, you ought to be generous . . . you can afford to be . . . .” Her lips were so parched that she had to stop. To go on talking like that was like chewing sawdust. And when she paused she understood in a flash the extent of her miscalculation. It is too easy to think that vain people are always stupid — and this was the mistake she had made. Yet she ought to have known that her husband, though he was vain, was not stupid . . . or at least not always so; and that flattery administered at the wrong time will not deceive even those who most thirst for it. Tarrant stood up and looked down on her with a faintly ironic smile.
“What you really think,” he said, “is that I’m a fool — but I’m not quite as an egregious one as all that. I leave that superiority to your young friend. Besides,” he added, “I ought not to forget that you’ve never understood anything about business. It was the only gift your fairy godmothers left out. I’m awfully obliged for your advice; but really, in matters of this kind, you must leave me to deal with our contributors myself . . . .”
Chapter 41
The summer light lay so rightly on the lawn and trees of the Willows that Halo Tarrant understood more clearly than ever before the spell the place had cast on Vance Weston.
She had gone there to take a look, for the first time in months. The present owner, the old and infirm Miss Lorburn, sat in her house in Stuyvesant Square and fretted about her inability to keep an eye on the place; she always said what a pity it was that poor Tom hadn’t left it to poor Halo instead of to her. Miss Lorburn’s world was peopled with friends and relatives who seemed to her best described by the epithet “poor”; what with one thing or another, she thought them all objects of pity. It was only of herself, old, heavy, with blurred eyes, joints knotted by rheumatism, legs bloated by varicose veins, and her GOOD ear beginning to go, that she never spoke with compassion. She merely said it was a pity poor Halo would have to wait so long for the Willows . . . not that it would be much use to the poor child when she did get it, if the value of property at Paul’s Landing continued to decline at its present rate.
Since Mrs. Tracy’s departure for California the Willows, for the first time, had been entrusted to hands unconnected with its past, and as Miss Lorburn feared the new caretakers might not treat poor Elinor’s possessions with proper reverence it behoved Halo to see that everything was in order.
As she walked along the drive she was assailed by memories so remote that she felt like an old woman — as old as the Elinor Lorburn of the portrait above the mantel or the purblind cripple in Stuyvesant Square. “I almost wonder I’m not on crutches,” she mused; so heavily did the weight of the past hang on her feet and her mind.
The place wore its old look of having waited there quietly for her, with a sort of brooding certainty of her return — not changing, not impatient, not discouraged, but just standing there, house, turf, and trees, the house yearly losing more of its paint, the wistaria adding more clusters to the thousands mercifully veiling the angles and brackets it had been meant to adorn. As she looked about her she understood for the first time how, in what seemed the grotesqueness of discarded fashion, Vance’s impatient genius had caught the poetry of the past. For him the place had symbolized continuity, that great nutritive element of which no one had ever told him, of which neither Art nor Nature had been able to speak to him, since nothing in his training had prepared him for their teaching. Yet, blind puppy, groping embryo as he was, he had plunged instantly into that underlying deep when the Willows had given him a glimpse of it.
Halo had purposely avoided the new caretakers’ day. She wanted the place to herself; there were ghosts of her own there now. . . . She felt her way in among the familiar obscurities. That looming darkness on her right was the high Venetian cabinet in the hall; this spectral conclave on which a pale starlight twinkled down was the group of shrouded armchairs in confabulation under the prisms of the drawing room chandelier. Capricious rays, slanting through the shutters, seemed to pick out particular objects for her attention, like searchlights groping for landmarks over a night landscape. She fancied the inanimate things assisted in the search, beckoning to the light, and whispering: HERE, HERE! in their wistful striving for reanimation. There was no amount of psychic sensibility one could not read into the walls and furniture of an old empty house . . . .
Her own youth was in it everywhere, hanging in faded shreds like the worn silk of the curtains — her youth, already far-off and faded, though she was now only twenty-eight! As she stood in the library she recalled her first meeting with Vance Weston — how she had strolled in on one of her perfunctory visits and surprised an unknown youth in Elinor Lorburn’s armchair, his hair swept back untidily from a brooding forehead, his eyes bent on a book; and how, at her approach, he had lifted those eyes, without surprise or embarrassment, but with a deep inward look she was always to remember, and had asked eagerly: “Who wrote this?” How like Vance! It was always so with him. No time for preambles — always dashing straight to the vital matter, whether it were the authorship of “Kubla Khan,” or the desperate longing to kiss her. . . . She shut her eyes a moment, and listened to that cry: “You don’t understand — I want to kiss you!” He thought she didn’t understand — so much the better . . . .
In those early days, for all her maternal airs with him, she had been as young, as inexperienced as he was. She knew a good deal about art and literature, but next to nothing about life, though she thought herself a past mistress in its management. Her familiarity with pecuniary makeshifts, with the evasions and plausibilities of people muddling along on insufficient means, bluffing, borrowing, dodging their creditors, entertaining celebrities and neglecting to pay the milkman and the butcher — all these expedients had given her a precocious competence which she mistook for experience. They had also called forth a natural ardour for probity and fair dealing which she must have inherited from one of the straitlaced old Lorburns on the panelled walls at Eaglewood. Side by side with it burned an equally fierce ardour for living — for the beauty of the visible world, its sunrises and moon births, and the glories with which man’s labours have embellished it. Never was a girl more in love with the whole adventure of living, and less equipped to hold her own in it, than the Halo Spear who had come upon Vance Weston that afternoon.
In love in the human way too? Yes, that she had been equally ready for — only it seemed beset with difficulties. Hers was one of the undifferentiated natures which ask that all the faculties shall share in its adventures; she must love with eyes, ears, soul, imagination — must feel every sense and thought impregnated together. And either the young men who pleased her eye chilled her imagination, or else the responsive intelligences were inadequately housed. She wanted a companion on the flaming ramparts; and New York had so far failed to find her one.
Lewis Tarrant came the nearest. He was agreeable to look at; she liked his lounging height, the sharp thinness and delicate bony structure of his face, and she was impressed by the critical aloofness of mind, which unbent only for her. Her wavering impulses sought in him a rectitude on which she could lean. He had a real love of books, a calm cultivated interest in art; his mind was like a chilly moonlit reflection of her own. She nearly loved him — but not quite. And then, just as she had decided that he could never walk the ramparts with her, came the discovery that her family, certain of the marriage, had accepted one or two discreet loans — and the final shock of learning that it was Lewis who had found the missing Americana from the Willows and bought them back in time to avert a scandal . . . .
Well, what of all that? Hadn’t she always known what her family were like — long since suspected the worst of her brother? Why had she not washed her hands of them and gone her own way in the modern manner? She could not; partly from pride, but much more from attachment, from a sort of grateful tenderness. She had been happy, after all, in that muddling happy-go-lucky household. Her parents had a gipsylike charm, and they were always affectionate and responsive. The life of the mind, even the life of the spirit, had been enthusiastically cultivated in spite of minor moral shortcomings. If she loved poetry, if she knew more than most girls about history and art, about all the accumulated wonders peopling her eager intelligence, she owed it to daily intercourse with minds like her own, to the poetry evenings by the fire at Eaglewood, when Mrs. Spear would rush out to placate an aggrieved tradesman, and come back unperturbed to “The Garden of Proserpine” or “The Eve of St. Agnes”; to those thrifty wanderings in Europe, when they vegetated in cheap Italian pensions or lived on sunshine and olives through a long winter at Malaga, but wherever they went, it was always hand in hand with beauty.
Desert such parents in their extremity? It was unthinkable to a girl who loved their romantic responsiveness as much as she raged against their incurable dishonesty. Lewis Tarrant had been immensely generous — was she going to let herself be outdone by him? Some day — if she inherited the Willows, and a little of Cousin Tom’s money — she might be able to pay him back, and start fair again. But meanwhile, what could she do but marry him? And at the thought of his generosity she began to glow with tenderness, and to mistake her tenderness for love. On this tidal wave of delusion — and after the news that her cousin Tom had disinherited her — she was swept into the dull backwater of her marriage . . . .
She had not seen Vance since the destruction of the manuscript. After a sleepless night — a night of dry misery and crazy unreal plans — she had telegraphed him: “Have you gone mad? Is there really no other copy? Come this evening after nine. I must see you.” The day dragged by. She did not see Tarrant again before he departed for the office. She had nothing further to say to him, and was afraid of making another blunder if the subject of Vance came up. If she had not foolishly reproached her husband for destroying a masterpiece he might have been glad to let Vance off his bargain — but now she knew he would exact his pound of flesh. In what form? she wondered. She was not clear about the legal aspects of the case, but she knew Tarrant would move cautiously and make certain of his rights in advance. The meaningless hours crawled on. Her husband was dining at Mrs. Pulsifer’s — a big affair for some foreign critic who had been imported to receive a university degree. She was sure of her evening alone with Vance. But the hours passed, the evening came, and he did not come with it, and he sent no message. She sat waiting for him till after midnight; then she heard the click of her husband’s latchkey and hurried away to her room to avoid meeting him. When she looked at herself in the glass as she undressed she saw a ravaged face and eyes swollen with crying. She had wept unconsciously as she sat there alone and waited.
The next day and the next Vance made no sign; it was not until the third that a note came. “I am going away from New York. My wife is sick, and we are moving out to the country. I couldn’t come the other night. There isn’t any other copy; but then you never cared for it much, and I guess I can do better. Vance.”
Not a word of tenderness or of regret. But the phrases had the desperate ring of the broken words he had jerked out that evening in the library. It was never his way to waste words over the irremediable. And, as far as he and she were concerned, she saw now that the case was irremediable. How could she have asked him to come back to her house? The breach with her husband made that impossible. And now he was going away from New York, he did not even tell her where. It was all useless, hopeless — whatever she might have been to him, or done for him, the time was past, the opportunity missed . . . .
After waiting a day or two she had sent for Frenside, and told him as much of the story as concerned her share in Vance’s work, and the intellectual side of their friendship. When she came to the destruction of the manuscript, and to her husband’s attitude in the matter, Frenside, who had listened musingly over his pipe, gave a short laugh. “Well, my dear, you have made a mess of it!” She was too much humiliated to protest. “But what can I do now?” she merely asked, and was not unprepared for the “Nothing!” he flung back.
“Oh, Frenny, but I MUST— ”
He shrugged her protest away. “And you know,” he went on, “it’s not such a bad thing for a young novelist with a demoralizing success behind him to tear up a manuscript or two. Chances are they wouldn’t have been much good — just the backwash of the other. He’s done the right thing to go off into the country and tackle a new job in new surroundings — without even you to advise him.”
She winced, but Frenside’s sarcasm was always salutary. “But he can’t afford to wait,” she said. “He’s starving — and with that poor little ill wife. How can I persuade Lewis to let him off his bargain? His only hope is to get an advance from Lambart on his unwritten book, so that he can go off and work quietly, without this dreadful anxiety about money. But I can’t make Lewis feel as I do about it . . . .”
Frenside contemplated his pipe in silence. “Tarrant’s writing a novel himself, isn’t he? What about —?”
She felt a little shock of apprehension. “Oh, I don’t know. He’s so secretive. He’s never asked me to look at it, and I don’t dare suggest . . .”
Frenside looked at her shrewdly. “Dare — suggest — insist. Get him to let you see what he’s done; tell him it’s a darned sight better than any of Weston’s stuff. If he can be got to believe that — and you ought to know how to make him — he may stop bothering about Weston.”
She remained silent while Frenside got up to go. “Look here, my child; get him to read his book to you, and try to think it’s a masterpiece. Perhaps it is.” But seek as she would she could find no answering pleasantry. She sat helpless, benumbed, while her old friend emptied his pipe, pushed it into his pocket, and reached out for his stick. But as he got to the door she started up and broke out, with a little sob: “All the help I wanted to give him has turned to harm. Oh, Frenny, how am I going to bear it?” Frenside limped back to her and laid his hand for a moment on her shoulder. Then he took off his glasses to give her one deep look. “Bravely,” he said, and turned to go.
All that had happened three months ago; and she was glad now that she had said what she had to Frenside, and also that he had guessed what she left unsaid. It made her world less lonely to think of that solitary spark of understanding burning in another mind like a little light in an isolated house. But that was the only help he had been able to give. As far as she could bring herself to do so, she followed his advice with respect to Tarrant. But though she refrained from all further reference to Vance, and behaved to her husband as though the bitter scene between them had never happened, she found it impossible to question him about his work. When she tried to do so her throat grew dry, and every phrase she thought of sounded false and hollow. Some premonition told her that his novel would be an amateurish performance, and that if it were she would not be able to conceal her real opinion of it. For days she tried to think of a method of approaching the subject, of flattering his hypersensitive need of praise without running the subsequent risk of wounding it; but she found no way. “I know he can’t write a good novel — and if it’s bad he’ll find out at once that I think it is. . . . What he wants is an audience like Jet Pulsifer . . . .” She smiled a little at the picture of their two ravenous vanities pressing reciprocal praises on each other; yet even now it wounded her to think that the man she had chosen was perhaps really made for Mrs. Pulsifer . . . .
Chapter 42
Just outside the cottage window an apple branch crossed the pane. For a long time Vance had sat there, seeing neither it nor anything else, in the kind of bodily and spiritual blindness lately frequent with him; and now suddenly, in the teeming autumn sunlight, there the branch was, the centre of his vision.
It was a warped unsightly branch on a neglected tree, but so charged with life, so glittering with fruit, that it looked like a dead stick set with rubies. The sky behind was of the densest autumnal blue, a solid fact of a sky. Against it the shrunken rusty leaves lay like gilt bronze, each fruit carved in some hard rare substance. It might have been the very Golden Bough he had been reading about in one of the books he had carried off when he and Laura Lou left New York.
Whatever happened to Vance on the plane of practical living, in the muddled world where bills must be paid, food provided, sick or helpless people looked after, there still came to him this mute swinging wide of the secret doors. He never knew when or how it would happen: it sometimes seemed that he was no more than the latch which an unseen hand raised to throw open the gates of Heaven . . . .
And here he was, inside! No mere latch, after all, but the very king for whom the gates had been lifted up. . . . It was utterly improbable, inexplicable, yet the deepest part of him always took it for granted, and troubled no more over the how and why than a child let loose in an unknown garden. In truth it was the only human experience that was perfectly intelligible to him, though he was so powerless to account for it . . . .
As usual with him now, the sudden seeing of the apple branch coincided with the intensely detailed inner vision of a new book. In the early days that flash of mysterious light used to blot out everything else; but with the growing mastery of his craft he noticed, on the contrary, that when the gates swung open the illumination fell on his daily foreground as well as on the heavenly distances. Mental confusion ceased for him from the moment when the inner lucidity declared itself, and this sense of developing power gave him a feeling of security, of an inviolable calm in the heart of turmoil . . . .
The quarrel with Tarrant had ended vaguely, lamely, as business disputes most often do. Vance was beginning to understand that only intellectual differences, battles waged in the abstract for absolute ends, can have heroic conclusions. The tearing-up of his manuscript had been the result of a passionate impulse, but it had neither bettered his situation nor made it appreciably worse. Eric Rauch told him that Tarrant would never have let him off anyhow: “it wasn’t his way.” Rauch advised Vance to rewrite the lost chapters, and was genuinely surprised to hear him pronounce this an impossibility. Rauch’s own conception of the products of the creative arts was as purely businesslike (in spite of his volume of poems) as if they had been standardized like motor parts. But Vance could only say that the book was gone past recovery . . . .
Finally it was agreed that Tarrant should give him time to write another novel, and that the New Hour should meanwhile continue his slender salary. Soon afterward the first instalment of the royalties on Instead fell due. It was slightly above Dreck and Saltzer’s expectations, and Vance was able to pay back half of the money he had borrowed, and to clear off the interest and his other debts. He had thought long and painfully over the future after his last talk with his grandmother, and had finally concluded that he would leave to Laura Lou the decision as to her future and his. He refrained from telling her of Mrs. Scrimser’s offer, and of his resolve not to share the money she hoped to make on her lecturing tour. To speak of this might raise hopes that he would have to disappoint without being able to make his wife see why. The alternatives he put before her were the offer of a home with his family, or the possibility of her joining Mrs. Tracy and Upton in California. It went hard with him to suggest the latter, for it meant the avowal of his failure to make her h cheap ghds appy or comfortable. But he said to himself, with a gambler’s shrug: “If she chooses to go to her mother it will mean she wants to be free — and if she does, I ought to let her.” He still did not understand why he resented this idea instead of welcoming it, or how much there was of memory, and how much of mere pride, in his dogged determination to keep her with him as long as she was willing.
Hardly less distasteful was the idea of going back to his family. The offer had been renewed by Mr. Weston, who, though his ill~advised speculations had checked his career in real estate, was ready to take his son and his son’s wife into his house, and find a job for Vance (he thought there would still be a chance on the Free Speaker). But Vance’s few hours with his grandmother had put Euphoria before him in merciless perspective. In every allusion, every turn of her speech, every image that came to Cheap GHD Straighteners her, he saw how far he had travelled from Mapledale Avenue. With cruel precision he evoked the mental atmosphere of the place; the slangy dingy days at the Free Speaker, the family evenings about the pink-throated gramophone; and he knew he could not face it. Yet he was determined not to let Laura Lou suspect his reluctance. His business was to do his best for her, and perhaps, according to her lights, his best was this. He put the case for Mapledale Avenue first, without betraying his own feelings; he even exaggerated the advantages of his father’s offer. But, to his surprise, Laura Lou rejected it. She was never good at giving reasons or analysing her instinctive reluctances, and he suspected that the fear of hurting his feelings benumbed her. But she seemed to feel that he ought to be near New York, and not have to go back to newspaper work, at least not at Euphoria. . . . “I know you’d be doing it just for me,” she tried to explain.
“Well, we’ve got to live,” he rejoined, not unkindly; and she said, in her disjointed way: “If we were somewhere where I could cook . . . and nobody interfere . . . .” If they had a home of their own! He knew that was what she meant. But he said, still more gently: “See here, Laura Lou, till I can give you a place where nobody’ll interfere, how about going out to your mother and Upton? You know that climate — ”
She flushed, this time with pleasure; then her eyes grew dusky, as they did when she was troubled. “But I guess California’d be a good way farther from your work than Euphoria even; and we’d have more expenses . . . .” She looked at him with a little practical smile. Oh, Lord — how was he to tell her? Yes, he said, he supposed he’d have to stick on here in New York, on his job; what he meant was — “For me to go out alone?” she completed, and added immediately: “Oh, Vanny, it isn’t what you WANT, is it? You’re not trying to tell me it would be easier for you if I went back to Mother? If that’s it, I’d rather you . . . .” She ended desperately: “If we could only find some little place whe cheap ghd wide plate straighteners re I could do the cooking . . .” and as he kissed away her tears he swore he would find a way, if she was really sure she didn’t want to leave him. . . . “I’d mend for you too, better than I have,” she sobbed out, rapturous and repentant; and the search for the little place began. It was anxious and arduous; the friendly settlement manager was consulted, but could suggest nothing within Vance’s means. Other enquiries failed; and at last it was Rebecca Stram who, oddly enough, came to the rescue. She had an old Jewish mother who lived out on the fringes of the Bronx, a cheap ghd straighteners nd a brother in real estate who picked up unlikely bargains, and waited; and among them they found a shaky bungalow containing some rattan chairs, a divan and a kitchen range. It stood alone on a bit of bedraggled farmland, in the remains of an orchard, with a fragment of woodland screening it from flathouses and chimneys. Not far off, the outskirts of the metropolis whirled and rattled and smoked; but in this sylvan hollow nature still worked her untroubled miracles, and Vance had to walk through deep ruts, and past a duck pond and an ancient pump, to pick up turnpike and trolley. Behind the house the land rose in a wooded ridge, and beyond that was real country, still untouched; it was heaven to dwellers at Mrs. Hubbard’s, and for the first weeks the mere sense of peace and independence gave Vance the illusion that all was well. He consolidated the divan, and bought a stove, a couple of lamps, some linen, a jute rug; he managed their simple marketing, and rigged up shelves and hooks; and the house being made habitable, Laura Lou began the struggle to keep it going. At first it cheap ghd flat iron did not much trouble Vance. He took his fountain pen and his pad and wandered off along the ridge, where there were still shady hollows in which you could stretch out and dream, and watch the clouds travel, and the birds; it was enough to be in this green solitude, and he did not much care what food, or lack of it, he came back to. But for a good many weeks he did little more than dream. The foundations of his being had been shaken; he was full of warfare and alarms. What he wrote he tore up, and he read more than he heap ghd hair straighteners uk wrote; the few books he had picked up at a cheap sale, as they were leaving New York, were devoured before the summer was half over. But all the while he was rebuilding his soul; he found no other term for the return of the inner stability which was like a landing field for his wide~pinioned dreams. And then one day he looked out of the window and saw the apple bough, and his new book hanging on it. He held his breath and watched . . . .
He had no idea of reviving Loot. All desire to treat the New York spectacle was gone. The tale he saw shaping itself was simpler, nearer to his own experience. It was to be about a fellow like himself, about two or three people whose spiritual lives were as starved as his own had been. He sat for a long time penetrating his mind with the strange hard beauty created by that bit of crooked apple bough against a little square of sky. Such ordinary material to make magic out of — and that should be his theme. As he meditated, a thousand mysterious activities began to hum in him, his mind felt like ghd straighteners that bit of rustling woodland above the cottage, so circumscribed yet so packed with the frail and complicated life of birds, insects, ferns, grasses, bursting buds, falling seeds, all the incessantly unfolding procession of the year. He had only to watch himself, to listen to himself, to try and set down the million glimmers and murmurs of the inner scene. “See here, Laura Lou,” he cried out, pushing back his cha ghd outlet ir to go and tell her — and then remembered that nothing he could tell would be intelligible to her. He stood still, picturing the instant shock of thought if it had been Halo he had called, Halo who had hurried in from the kitchen. . . . He sat down at the desk and hid his face in his hands. “God,” he thought. “When I was beginning to forget . . . .” He pulled his pen out, and wrote a few lines; then he was struck by Laura Lou’s not having responded to his shout — she who always flew to him at the least pretext. A minute or two ago he had heard her busying herself with the preliminary assembling of food fragments which she called getting dinner. It was funny she hadn’t answered; he thought he would go and see . . . .
She was in the kitchen, over the range. He thought he saw her push something into it — a white rag or paper cheap ghd straighteners next day delivery , it seemed — and a moment later he caught the smoky acrid smell of burning linen. She turned with a face as white as the rag, and a smile which showed her teeth too much, as if her lips had shrunk away. “Yes . . . yes . . . coming . . .” she said nervously.
“Why, what’s that queer smell? What are you burning?”
She gave the same death’s-head smile. “I can’t get the fire to draw — I just stuffed in anything . . . .”
“I should say you did. What a stench! I guess you’ve put it out now — ”
She went and sat down on the chair by the kitchen table without making any answer.
“I don’t see the joke,” he grumbled, exasperated at being shaken out of his dream.
“I guess there’s something wrong with the range — you’ll have to get somebody to mend it,” she brought out in a queer thin voice, as if she had been running. On the table was her Cheap ghds untidy work basket, and near it were more white rags, or handkerchiefs or something, in a dirty heap. She crammed them into the basket, looking at him sideways. “Baby clothes? — ” he thought, half dismayed, half exultant. He stood a moment irresolute, finding no words; but suddenly she spoke again, in the same breathless reedy voice. “You better go and find somebody to repair it . . . .”
“Oh, Lord. I’ll see first if I can’t do it myself,” he grumbled, remembering the cost of the last repairs to the range.
“No, no, you can’t. You better go out somewhere and get your dinner today,” she added.
“What’ll you eat then?”
She gave the same grin, which so unnaturally bared the edges of her pale pink gums. “Oh, I’ll take some milk. You better go out for your dinner. Then I’ll lie down,” she insisted breathlessly.
He stood doubtful, cheap ghd air his book palpitating in him. The glorious blue air invited him — very likely she’d be glad to have a rest. He noticed the purplish rings about her eyes, and thought again: “It might be that,” recalling the scenes in fiction in which blushing wives announce their coming motherhood. But Laura Lou did not seem to want to announce anything, and he was too shy to force her silence. “Want to get rid of me today, do you?” he joked; and she nodded, without other acquiescence than that of her queer fixed smile.
He rummaged in the cupboard for bread, and a piece of the cheese they had had for supper; with an apple from the magic tree it would be all he wanted. He would go on a long tramp, to a wonderful swampy wood he knew of, the first to catch fire from the autumn frosts. A sense of holiday freedom flamed through him. “Well, so lon Cheap GHD Straighteners – Cheap ghds UK Sale g,” he called out, nodding back from the door. Her fixed smile answered. “She looks sick,” he thought — and then forgot her.
Magic — why not call the book that? The air was full of it today. All the poetry which the American imagination rejects seemed to have taken refuge in the American landscape, like a Daphne not fleeing from Apollo but awaiting his call to resume her human loveliness. Vance felt the dumb entreaty of that trembling beauty with arms outstretched to warmth and light from the slope of the descending year. As the mood grew on him the blood of the earth seemed to flow in his veins, his own to burn in red maple branch and golden shreds of traveller’s joy. It was all part of that mysteriously interwoven texture of the universe, in the thought of which a man could lie down as in his bed . . . .
He tramped on and cheap ghd straighteners £50 on, humming snatches of poetry, or meaningless singsongs of his own invention, feeling as happy as if he had been taken into the divine conspiracy and knew the solution of all the dissonances. It was as wonderful and secret as birth. . . . The word turned his mind to Laura Lou. How queer if she were going to have a child! He tried to imagine how life would arrange itself, with two people to feed, nurse, clothe, provide for — oh, curse that everlasting obstacle! He didn’t even know how Laura Lou and he were going to face the winter alone. If she were to have a child he supposed they must humble their pride and accept his father’s hospitality. But he did not want to dwell on that. Things were so right as they were. The bungalow in the apple orchard was just the place for him to dream and work in, and as for Laura Lou, she was happy, she was herself, for the first time since their marriage. Her domestic training had been rudimentary, and she was heedless and improvident, and sometimes — often — too tired to finish what she had begun. But now that she had her husband and her house to herself she atoned for every deficiency by a zeal that outran her strength and a good-humour that never flagged. In New York she used to sit for hours by the chilly radiator without speaking or moving, to listless to tidy up, leaving her clothes unmended, shelves and drawers in a litter; now she was always stirring about, sweeping, mending, washing. She even began to concern herself with the adornment of the rooms, wheedled out of Vance embroidered covers for their pillows and surprised him one evening by a bunch of wild flowers on the supper table. “I guess that was the way the table was fixed the day we lunched with the Tarrants,” she said, with a reminiscent smile; and Vance laughed and declared: “Their flowers weren’t anything like as pretty.” Often now he heard her singing at her work, till her silence told him she had interrupted it to drop down in the kitchen rocker while the wave of weariness swept over her. . . . Poor Laura Lou! These months in the bungalow had made her intelligible to him, and turned his pity back to tenderness. After all, perhaps she was the kind of wife an artist ought to have . . . .
He reached the wood, c

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