But you’ll come back

day?” Wrath descended on him like a thunderclap. “How dare you, after this afternoon — how dare you speak to me as if you belonged to that fellow and not to me? Don’t you know we’re each other’s forever, Laura Lou? Say you do — say you’ve always known it!” he commanded her.
“Well, I WAS engaged to him,” she murmured, with her gentle obstinacy.
“If you were, you’re not now. How could your mother ever have let you go with a fellow like that anyhow? She thought poorly enough of him when I was with you.”
“Well, she didn’t fancy him at first; she thought he was a bad companion for Upton. But you don’t know how changed he is, Vance. He helped Mother when she lost her job here; and it’s him who’s paying for my year at Sai cheap ghd air nt Elfrida’s. You see, he’s real cultured himself, and he wants I should be cultured too, so that by and by we can take those personally conducted parties to Europe for one of discount ghd straighteners the big travel bureaus, and earn a lot of money. That’s what first reconciled Mother to him, I guess, his being so cultured. She’s always wanted I should marry somebody in the same class as Father’s.”
Vance stood listening in a tumult of anger and amazement. He had never heard her say as much at one time, and every word she spoke was pure anguish to him. He had the same sense of the world’s essential vileness as had swept over him that day by the Crampton riverside. Life tasted like cinders on his lips. At length his indignation broke out in a burst of scattered ejaculations. “He’s been paying for you at school — that lowdown waster? Laura Lou, you d cheap ghd straighteners next day delivery on’t know what you’re saying! Culture — him? In your father’s class? Oh, God! You’d make me laugh if it wasn’t so sickening. . . . I’m coming back to see your mother tomorrow whether you want me or not — understand? Buy discount ghd straighteners cheap sale uk And if that Hayes fellow wants to come too, let him. I’ll be there to talk to him. And I’ll work day and night till I pay him back what he’s paid your mother for you. And you’ve got to leave that school tomorrow, Laura Lou . . . do you hear me?”
“No, no, Vance.” Her little pale face had grown curiously resolute, and her voice too. “You mustn’t come tomorrow — it would kill me if you did. You must give me time . . . you must do as I tell you . . . .”
“What ARE you telling me? That I’m not to see you till it suits this gentleman’s convenience? Is that it?”
Her head drooped, and there was a glitter of tears on her cheap ghd flat iron lashes; but in a moment she looked up, and her gaze rested full on his. “Vance, if you’ll give me your promise not to come tomorrow I’ll promise to go and see you next week in New York. I’ll slip off somehow. . . . Because now, Vance,” she cried, “whatever happens, I’ll never marry anybody bu cheap ghd wide plate straighteners t you — never, never, not even if we have to wait for each other years and years.”
Dizzy with joy, he stood looking at her as if he were looking into the sun; then he caught her to him, and their youth and passion flowed together like spring streams. “Laura Lou . . . Laura Lou . . . Only we won’t wait any years and years,” he cried; for at that moment it really seemed to him that achievement lay in his hand.
Chapter 19
Three years of marriage had not been needed to teach Halo Tarrant that when her husband came home to lunch it was generally because something had gone wrong. She had long known that if he sought her out at that hour it was not to be charmed but to be tranquillized, as a man with a raging headache seeks a pillow and a darkened room. This need had been less frequent with him since he had bought The Hour and started in on the exciting task of reorganizing it. Usually he preferred to lunch near the office, at one of the Bohemian places affected by Frenside and his g ghd straighteners roup; probably it was not indifferent to him, as he made his way among the tables, to hear: “That’s the fellow who’s bought The Hour. Lewis Tarrant; tall fair chap; yes — writes himself . . . .” Every form of external recognition, even the most casual and unimportant, was needed to fortify his self-confidence. Halo remembered how she had laughed when Frenside, long before her marr cheap ghd straighteners iage, had once said: “Young Tarrant? Clever boy — but can’t rest unless the milkman knows it.” Nowadays she would not have tolerated such a comment, even from Frenside; and if she made it inwardly she tempered it by reminding herself that an exaggerated craving for recognition often proceeds from a morbid modesty. Morbid — that was what poor Lewis was at bottom. She must never forget, when she was inclined to criticize him, that her faculty of rebounding, of drawing fresh energy from discouragement, had been left out of his finer organization — for her own support she had to call it finer.
And now, on the very Friday when he was expecting his new discovery — the Tracys’ young cousin from the West — Tarrant had suddenly turned up for lunch. When his wife ghd straighteners cheap heard his latchkey she supposed he had brought young Weston back with cheap ghds him, and she had been pleased, and rather surprised, since it would have been more like him to want to parade his new friend among his colleagues. Possibly Weston had not turned out to be the kind to parade — though his young poet’s face and profound eyes had lingered rather picturesquely in her memory. Still, it was three years since they’d met, three years during which he’d been reporter on a smalltown newspaper. Perhaps the poetry had not survived . . . .
Her husband came in alone, late, and what she called “rumpled~looking,” though no outward di ghd outlet sorder was ever visible in his carefully brushed person, and the signs she referred to lurked only about his mouth and eyes.
“Any lunch left? I hope there’s something hot — never mind what.” And, as he dropped into his seat, and the parlourmaid disappeared with hurried orders, he added, unfolding his napkin with a sardonic del heap ghd hair straighteners uk iberation: “Well, your infant prodigy never turned up.”
Ah, how well she knew that law o cheap ghd straighteners £50 f his nature! Plans that didn’t come off were almost always ascribed (in all good faith) to others; and the prodigy who had failed him became hers. She smiled a little to see him so ridiculously ruffled by so small a contretemps. “Genius is proverbially unpunctual,” she suggested.
“Oh, GENIUS— ” He shrugged the epithet away. She might have that too, while she was about it. “After all, he may never do anything again. One good story doesn’t make a summer.”
“No, and mediocrity is apt to be unpunctual as genius.”
“UNPUNCTUAL? The fellow never came at all. Fixed his own hour — eleven. I put off two other important appointments and hung about the office waiting till after half-past one. I’d rather planned to take him round to the Café Jacques for lunch. A young fellow like that, from nowhere, often thaws out more easily if you feed him first, and encourage him to talk about himself. Vanity,” said Tarrant, as the maid approached with a smoking dish, “vanity’s always the first button to press. . . . EGGS? Good Lord, Halo, hasn’t that cook learnt yet that eggs are slow death to me? Oh, well, I’ll eat the bacon — What else? A chop she can grill? The inevitable chop! Oh, of course it’ll DO.” He turned to his wife with the faint smile which etched little dry lines at the corners of his mouth. “I can’t say you’ve your mother’s culinary imagination, Halo.”
“No, I haven’t,” she answered good-humouredly; but a touch of acerbity made her add: “It would be rather wasted on a digestion like yours.”
Her husband paled a little. She so seldom said anything disagreeable that he was doubly offended when she did. “I might answer that if I had better food I should digest better,” he said.
“Yes, and I might answer that if your programme weren’t so limited I could provide more amusing food for you. But I’d sooner admit at once that I never did have Mother’s knack about things to eat, and I don’t wonder my menus bore you.” It was the way their small domestic squabbles usually ended — by her half contemptuously throwing him the sop he wanted.
He said, with the note of sulkiness that often marred his expiations: “No doubt I’m less easy to provide for than a glutton like Frenside — ” then, furtively abstracting an egg from the dish before him: “It’s a damned nuisance, having all my plans upset this way. . . . And a fellow I was hoping I might fit into the office permanently . . . .”
Halo suggested that perhaps the young man’s train had been delayed or run into — that perhaps at that very moment he was lying dead under a heap of wreckage; but Tarrant grumbled: “When people break appointments it’s never because they’re dead” — a statement her own experience bore out.
“He’s sure to turn up this afternoon,” she said, as one comforts a child for a deferred treat; but the suggestion brought no solace to Tarrant. He reminded her with a certain tartness (for he liked her to remember his engagements, if he happened to have mentioned them to her) that he was taking the three o’clock train for Philadelphia, where he had an important appointment with a firm of printers who were preparing estimates for him. There was no possibility of his returning to the office that day; he might even decide to take a night train from Philadelphia to Boston, where he would probably have to spend Saturday morning, also on business connected with the review. He didn’t know when he was going to be able to see Weston — and it was all a damned nuisance, especially as the young fool had given no New York address, and they had hoped to rush a Weston story into their coming number.
Time was when Halo, as a matter of course, would have offered to interview the delinquent. Now she knew better. She had learned that in such matters she could be of use to her husband only indirectly. The very tie she had most counted on in the early days of their marriage — a community of ideas and interests — had been the first to fail her. She knew now that the myth of his intellectual isolation was necessary to Tarrant’s pride. Nothing would have annoyed him more than to have her suggest that she might take a look at young Weston’s manuscripts. “Of course you could, my dear; it would be the greatest luck for the boy if you would — only, you know, I must reserve my independence of judgment. And if you were to raise false hopes in the poor devil — let yourself be carried away, as I remember you were once by his poetry — it would be a beastly job for me to have to turn him down afterward.” She could hear him saying that, and she knew that the satisfaction of asserting his superiority by depreciating what she had praised would outweigh any advantage he might miss by doing so. “Oh, young Weston will keep,” she acquiesced indifferently, as Tarrant got up to go.
The door closed on him, and she sat there with the golden afternoon on her hands. She said to herself: “There has never been such a beautiful November — ” and her imagination danced with visions of happy people, young, vigorous, self-confident, draining with eager lips the last drops of autumn sunshine. Always in twos they were, the people she pictured. It used not to be so; she had often had her solitary dreams. But now that she was hardly ever alone she was so often lonely. Lonely! It was a word she did not admit in her vocabulary — but the sensation was there, cold and a little sickening, gnawing at the roots of her life. . . . What nonsense! Why, she was actually robbing poor Lewis of the proud prerogative of isolation! As if a girl with her resources and her spirits hadn’t always more than enough to pack the hours with! She leaned in the wide window of the library and looked over the outspread city, and thought how when she had first stood there all its myriad pulses seemed to be beating in her blood. . . . “Am I tired? What’s wrong lately?” she wondered. . . . Should she call up the garage where her Chrysler was kept and dash out for the night to Paul’s Landing, where her family had lingered on over Thanksgiving? It would be rather jolly, arriving at Eaglewood long after dark, in the sharp November air, seeing the glitter of lights come out far ahead along the Hudson, and entering, muffled in furs, the shabby drawing room where Mr. and Mrs. Spear would be sitting over the fire, placidly denouncing outrages in distant lands. . . . No, not that . . . It was sweet to sit in New York dreaming of Eaglewood; but to return there now was always a pang . . . .
She began to muse on the woods in late summer, HER woods, when their foliage was heaviest, already yellowing a little here and there, with premature splashes of scarlet and wine colour on a still-green maple, like the first white lock in a young woman’s hair . . . Of days on Thundertop, sunrise dips in the forest pool, long hours of dreaming on the rocky summit above the Hudson — how beautiful it had been that morning when she had stood there with young Weston, and they had watched light return to the world with a rending of vapours, a streaming of radiances, like the first breaking of life out of chaos! “He felt it too — I could see it happening all over again in his eyes,” she thought; those eyes had seen it with hers. Perhaps that was why, when he recited his poetry to her, in spite of his shyness and his dreadful drawl, she had fancied she heard the authentic note. . . . Had she been mistaken? She didn’t know. But surely not about the story Lewis had brought home the other day. She was sure that was the real thing; and she was glad Lewis had felt it too, felt it at once — she was always glad when they saw things together. Perhaps the boy WAS going to be a great discovery; a triumph for Lewis, a triumph for The Hour! She remembered that as she leaned back against the mossy edge of the pool the pointed leaf shadows flickered across his forehead and seemed to crown it like a poet’s. . . . Poor little raw product of a standardized world, perhaps never to be thus laurelled again! . . .
She turned and wandered back to the fire, gazing, as she went, at the books her own hands had arranged and catalogued with such eager care. “What I want today is the book that’s never been written,” she thought; and then: “No, my child, what you really want is an object in life . . . .” She was grimly amused to find that she was talking to herself as so often, mentally, she talked to her husband . . . .
Oh, well — it was nearly dusk already; one more day to tick off the calendar; and at five there was a concert at the Vanguard Club — something new and exotic, of course; she’d mislaid the programme. . . . She went to her room and pulled out her smart black coat with the gray fur, and the close black turban that made her face look long and narrow and interesting. There were sure to be amusing people at the concert . . . .
The concert was dull; the amusing people were as boring as only the amusing can be; Halo came home late and out of sorts to find a long~distance from her husband saying he was going to Boston that night, and she was to notify the office that he would not reappear till Monday . . . .
Next morning she rang up the office and gave her message; then, after a pause, she added: “By the way, did Mr. Weston turn up yesterday — Vance Weston, the storywriter, you know?” Yes; they knew; they were expecting him. But he had not appeared, and there had been no message from him. No; they hadn’t his address. . . . She thought: “After all I was a fool not to go out to Eaglewood last night.” Another radiant day — the last before winter, perhaps! Why shouldn’t she dash out now, just for a few hours? A tramp in the woods would do her more good than anything. . . . But she lacked the energy to get into country clothes and call for the Chrysler. . . . “Besides, very likely that boy will turn up . . . .” Not that she meant to see him; but she could at least report to Lewis if he called at the office, and give whatever message he left. . . . It was rather petty of Lewis, she thought, not to have told her to see young Weston . . . .
Before twelve she rang up the office again. No; no sign of Weston; no message. How very queer. . . . Yes, it WAS queer. . . . Well, look here — that’s you, Mr. Rauch? Yes. Well, if he should turn up today after the office was closed — supposing he’d forgotten it was a Saturday — would Mr. Rauch leave word with the janitor to tell him to come to see her? Yes, at the flat; she’d be in all the afternoon. He was just to be told to ask for Mrs. Tarrant. (In the end, Lewis would probably be grateful — though he’d never go as far as acknowledging it.)
“I think I’ll try and do some painting,” she said to herself as she hung up. Lewis had fitted up a rather jolly room on the roof — a sort of workshop-study, in which he had reserved a corner for her modelling and painting. He always encouraged her in the practice of the arts he had himself abandoned, and while gently disparaging her writing was increasingly disposed to think there was “something in” her experiments with paint and clay. But it was months now since she had attempted either. . . . She mounted to the roof studio, pulled a painting apron over her shoulders, rummaged among canvases, fussed with her easel, and got out a bunch of paper flowers which she had manufactured after reading somewhere that Cézanne’s flowers were always done from paper models. “Now for a Cézanne!” she mocked.
Whenever she could persuade herself to work she still had the faculty of becoming engrossed in what she was doing, and the hours hurried by as she struggled with the mystery of mass and values. At that moment, really, she believed she was on the eve of learning how to paint. “Perhaps Lewis is right,” she thought.
Just as the light was failing the maid appeared. There was a gentleman downstairs — young gentleman, yes; his name was Weston. Halo dropped her brushes and wiped her hands hurriedly. She had forgotten all about young Weston! But she was glad that, now it was too dark to paint, he was there to fill in the end of the day.
Would she find him the same? Or had he changed? Would she still catch the shadow of the laurel on his forehead? As she entered the library her first impression was that he was shorter — smaller, altogether — than she had remembered; but then she had lived in the interval with a man of dominating height. This youth — how young he still looked! — met her eyes on a level. He had broadened a little; his brown hair with the slight wave in it had grown darker, she thought. This was all she had time to note, for before she could even greet him he had exclaimed: “There must be more books here than at the Willows!” Ah, how that brought him back — that way of going straight to his object, dashing through all the customary preliminaries, yet so quietly, so simply, that it seemed the natural thing to do.
She looked at him with a faint smile. “You care for books as much as ever?”
Instead of answering he said: “Can I borrow some of these, do you think? I’ve got to buckle down to work at once. I see they’re classed by subjects; ah, here’s philosophy . . . .” Half annoyed, half amused at being treated like a librarian (an assistant librarian, she ironically corrected herself) she asked him if philosophy were what he was studying, and he said, yes, chiefly; that and Italian — so as to be able to read Dante.
“Dante?” she exclaimed. “We lived in Italy a good deal when I was a child. Perhaps I could help you with Dante.”
His face lit up. “Oh, could you? Say, could I come round evenings, three or four times a week, and read him with you after supper?”
A little taken aback she said she was not sure she could be free as often as that in the evening. They went out a good deal, she and her husband, she explained — to the theatre, to concerts . . . in a big place like New York there were always so many things to do in the evening. She forbore to mention that frequent dining-out was among them. Couldn’t he, she suggested, come in the early afternoon instead — she was often free till four. But he shook his head, obviously disappointed. “No, I couldn’t do that. I’ve got to stick to my own writing in the daytime.”
Ah, to be sure — his own writing! That was what he’d come about, she supposed, to see her husband? Her husband unluckily was away on business. He had expected Mr. Weston at the office the morning of the day before; she believed Mr. Weston had fixed his own hour for coming. And her husband had waited all the morning, and he hadn’t turned up. Her tongue stumbled over the “Mr. Weston”; it sounded stiff and affected; she remembered having called him “Vance” as a matter of course the first time she had seen him, at the Willows. But something made her feel that she was no longer in his confidence, or perhaps it was that he had simply forgotten what friends they had been. . . . The idea disconcerted her, and made her a little shy. It was as if their parts in the conversation had been reversed. “My husband expected you, but you never came,” she repeated, gently reproachful.
No, he said, he hadn’t come. He’d meant to, the day before, as soon as his train got to New York; but he hadn’t been able to. He stated the fact simply, without embarrassment or regret, and left it at that. Halo felt a slight flatness, an uncertainty as to how to proceed.
“And this morning —?”
“This morning I couldn’t either. I called round at the office half an hour ago, but it was closed, and the janitor told me to come here instead.”
“Yes, I left word — as my husband’s away.”
She suddenly perceived that they were still in the middle of the room, exchanging their explanations on the particular figure of the rug where he had been standing when she entered. She signed to him to take one of the armchairs by the fireplace, and herself sank into the other. Twilight had gathered in the corners of the bookwalled room, and the fire flowed more deeply for the shadows. Her visitor leaned to it. “I never saw such a beautiful fire — why, that’s real wood!” he exclaimed, and fell on his knees on the hearth, as if to verify the strange discovery.
“Of course. We never burn anything else.”
This seemed to surprise him, and he lifted his firelit face to hers. “Because it’s so much more beautiful?”
“Because it’s alive.”
His gaze returned to the hearth. “That’s so; it’s alive . . . .” He stretched his hands to the flame, and as she watched him she remembered, a few days before, looking at Lewis’s hands as he held them out in the same way, and thinking: “Why isn’t he a poet?”
This boy’s hands were different: sturdier, less diaphanous, with blunter fingertips, though the fingers were long and flexible. A worker’s hand, she thought; a maker’s hand. She wondered what he would make.
The thought reminded her once more of the object of his visit — or at least of hers in sending for him, and she said: “But you’ve brought a lot of things with you, haven’t you? I hope so. I want so much to see them.”
“Manuscripts?” He shook his head. “No, not much. But I’m going to write a lot of new stuff here.” He got to his feet and stood leaning against the mantelshelf, looking down at her with eyes which, mortifyingly enough, seemed to include her as merely part of the furniture. “What is he REALLY seeing at this moment?” she wondered. Aloud she said: “But my husband wrote you were to be sure to bring everything you’d written. He’s so much interested . . . we both think ‘One Day’ so wonderful. I understood he’d asked you to bring all the stories and articles The Hour had rejected. You see it’s in new hands — my husband’s — and he means to pursue a much broader policy . . . .” (Why was she talking like a magazine prospectus? she asked herself.)
Vance Weston shook his head. “I didn’t bring any of those old things; they’re no good. The Hour was dead right to refuse them.”
“Oh — ” she exclaimed, surprised and interested. It was a new sound in that room — the voice of honest self-disparagement! She looked at him with a rising eagerness, noting again the breadth of his forehead, and the bold upward cut of the nostrils, and the strong planting of his thickish nose between the gray eyes, set so deeply and widely apart.
“Authors are not always the best judges. Perhaps what you think no good might be just what a critic would admire.”
“No, that man Frenside’s a critic, isn’t he? Anyhow, the objections he made were right every time; I know they were.” He spoke firmly, but without undue humility. “My head’s always full of subjects, of course. But he said I hadn’t accumulated enough life-stuff to build ’em with; and I know that’s right. And I know I can do a lot better now. That’s why I want to get to work at once.”
She felt disappointed, foreseeing her husband’s disappointment. It would have given him such acute satisfaction to reverse one of Frenside’s judgments! “You think by this time you’ve accumulated the life-stuff?” Her tone was faintly ironical.
“Well,” he said with simplicity, “I guess time keeps on doing that — the months and years. They ought to. I’m three years older, and things have happened to me. I can see further into my subjects now.”
She noticed the lighting up of his eyes when he began to speak of his writing, and felt herself more remote from him than ever. She longed to know if he remembered nothing of their talks and she rejoined more gently: “I suppose it seems a long time to you since you read your poems to me on Thundertop.”
“Yes, it does,” he said. “But you taught me a lot that day that I haven’t forgotten — and at the Willows too.” He paused, as if groping for the right phrase. “I guess you were the first to show me what there was in books.”
The joyous colour rushed to her face. At last he had recovered the voice of the other Vance! “Ah, I was young then too,” she said with a wistful laugh.
“Young? I guess you’re young still.” Relapsing into friendly bluntness, he added: “I’m only twenty-two.”
“And I’m old enough to be your mother!”
“Say — I guess you’re about twenty-five, aren’t you?”
She shook her head with a mournful grimace. “You must add one whole year to that. And such heaps and heaps of useless experience! I don’t even know how to turn it into stories. But tell me — haven’t you at least brought one with you today?”
“A story? No, I haven’t brought anything.”
She sat silent, inconceivably disappointed. “Shall I make a confession? I hoped you’d want me to see something of yours . . . after all our talks . . . .”
“Well, I do; but I want to be sure it’s good enough.” He moved away from the fire and held out his hand. “I want to go right home now and write something. This is generally my best hour.”
She put her hand reluctantly in his. “I suppose I mustn’t keep you then. But you’ll come back? Come whenever you feel that I might help.”
“Surely,” he said with his rare smile; she was not sure she had ever seen him smile before. It made him look more boyish than ever. “I suppose I can see your husband on Monday?” he added.

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