'm adding the two stories (Gilman & Fitzgerald), writing styles should be compared. I
'm also sending (copy/paste) instructions from professor. She asked that with the third writer James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues we compare to our own life. The previous paper that grrl101 wrote for me
, the professor said the thesis statement should be stronger and the theme should flow throughout the entire paper and not summarize in the first two paragraphs. For what it's worth, I
was very pleased. I
have to write papers for 2 other professor's and they both like my work, but this particular one never does:-( Good Luck. Thx
For Essay 3, you will reflect on the distinquishing characteristics of realism, modernism, and postmodernism. To do this, use your Essay 1 and your Essay 2 as launching pads.
First, discuss the notible differences in the themes and writing styles of your first two authors and works, those from your Essays 1 and 2.
Next, choose one author and work from Module 3 that contains a character with whom you identify, a struggle that many people today face, or a life-changing experience that has made them who they are. Then show how this author and work is characteristically "postmodern" in theme and style, as opposed to the authors and works in your first two essays.
Finally, end your reflection with a discussion of how tracing the development of American literature has helped you better understand this country, its issues, and its people**********
#1 "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Webtext prepared by Marty Brooks and Ann Woodlief, Virginia Commonwealth University
click on the marked phrases for notes
It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer.
A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate I
would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity--but that would be asking too much of fate!
will proudly declare that there is something queer about it.
Else, why should it be let so cheaply? And why have stood so long untenanted?
John laughs at me
, of course, but one expects that in marriage.
John is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures.
John is a physician, and perhaps--(I
would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)--perhaps that is one reason I
do not get well faster.
You see he does not believe I
am sick! And what can one do?
If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression--a slight hysterical tendency-- what is one to do?
My brother is also a physician, and also of high standing, and he says the same thing.
take phosphates or phosphites--whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to "work" until I
am well again.
disagree with their ideas.
believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me
But what is one to do?
did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me
a good deal--having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition.
sometimes fancy that in my condition if I
had less opposition and more society and stimulus--but John says the very worst thing I
can do is to think about my condition, and I
confess it always makes me
will let it alone and talk about the house.
The most beautiful place! It is quite alone standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village. It makes me
think of English places that you read about, for there are hedges and walls and gates that lock, and lots of separate little houses for the gardeners and people.
There is a delicious garden! I
never saw such a garden--large and shady, full of box-bordered paths, and lined with long grape-covered arbors with seats under them.
There were greenhouses, too, but they are all broken now.
There was some legal trouble, I
believe, something about the heirs and coheirs; anyhow, the place has been empty for years.
That spoils my ghostliness, I
am afraid, but don't care--there is something strange about the house--I
can feel it.
even said so to John one moonlight evening but he said what I
felt was a draught, and shut the window.
get unreasonably angry with John sometimes. I
'm sure I
never used to be so sensitive. I
think it is due to this nervous condition.
But John says if I
feel so, I
shall neglect proper self-control; so I
take pains to control myself-- before him, at least, and that makes me
don't like our room a bit. I
wanted one downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings! But John would not hear of it.
He said there was only one window and not room for two beds, and no near room for him if he took another.
He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me
stir without special direction.
have a schedule prescription for each hour in the day; he takes all care from me
, and so I
feel basely ungrateful not to value it more.
He said we came here solely on my account, that I
was to have perfect rest and all the air I
could get. "Your exercise depends on your strength, my dear," said he, "and your food somewhat on your appetite; but air you can absorb all the time.' So we took the nursery at the top of the house.
It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with windows that look all ways, and air and sunshine galore. It was nursery first, and then playroom and gymnasium, I
should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls.
The paint and paper look as if a boys' school had used it. It is stripped off--the paper in great patches all around the head of my bed, about as far as I
can reach, and in a great place on the other side of the room low down. I
never saw a worse paper in my life. One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin.
It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide--plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.
The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight. It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others.
No wonder the children hated it! I
should hate it myself if I
had to live in this room long.
There comes John, and I
must put this away,--he hates to have me
write a word.
* * *
We have been here two weeks, and I
haven't felt like writing before, since that first day.
am sitting by the window now, up in this atrocious nursery, and there is nothing to hinder my writing as much as I
please, save lack of strength.
John is away all day, and even some nights when his cases are serious.
am glad my case is not serious!
But these nervous troubles are dreadfully depressing.
John does not know how much I
really suffer. He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him.
Of course it is only nervousness. It does weigh on me
so not to do my duty in any way!
meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and here I
am a comparative burden already!
Nobody would believe what an effort it is to do what little I
am able,--to dress and entertain, and order things.
It is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby. Such a dear baby!
And yet I
cannot be with him, it makes me
suppose John never was nervous in his life. He laughs at me
so about this wall-paper!
At first he meant to repaper the room, but afterwards he said that I
was letting it get the better of me
, and that nothing was worse for a nervous patient than to give way to such fancies.
He said that after the wall-paper was changed it would be the heavy bedstead, and then the barred windows, and then that gate at the head of the stairs, and so on.
"You know the place is doing you good," he said, "and really, dear, I
don't care to renovate the house just for a three months' rental."
"Then do let us go downstairs," I
said, "there are such pretty rooms there."
Then he took me
in his arms and called me
a blessed little goose, and said he would go down to the cellar, if I
wished, and have it whitewashed into the bargain.
But he is right enough about the beds and windows and things.
It is an airy and comfortable room as any one need wish, and, of course, I
would not be so silly as to make him uncomfortable just for a whim.
'm really getting quite fond of the big room, all but that horrid paper.
Out of one window I
can see the garden, those mysterious deepshaded arbors, the riotous old-fashioned flowers, and bushes and gnarly trees.
Out of another I
get a lovely view of the bay and a little private wharf belonging to the estate. There is a beautiful shaded lane that runs down there from the house. I
always fancy I
see people walking in these numerous paths and arbors, but John has cautioned me
not to give way to fancy in the least. He says that with my imaginative power and habit of story-making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies, and that I
ought to use my will and good sense to check the tendency. So I
think sometimes that if I
were only well enough to write a little it would relieve the press of ideas and rest me
get pretty tired when I
It is so discouraging not to have any advice and companionship about my work. When I
get really well, John says we will ask Cousin Henry and Julia down for a long visit; but he says he would as soon put fireworks in my pillow-case as to let me
have those stimulating people about now.
could get well faster.
must not think about that. This paper looks to me
as if it knew what a vicious influence it had!
There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.
get positively angry with the impertinence of it and the everlastingness. Up and down and sideways they crawl, and those absurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere. There is one place where two breadths didn't match, and the eyes go all up and down the line, one a little higher than the other.
never saw so much expression in an inanimate thing before, and we all know how much expression they have! I
used to lie awake as a child and get more entertainment and terror out of blank walls and plain furniture than most children could find in a toy-store.
remember what a kindly wink the knobs of our big, old bureau used to have, and there was one chair that always seemed like a strong friend.
used to feel that if any of the other things looked too fierce I
could always hop into that chair and be safe.
The furniture in this room is no worse than inharmonious, however, for we had to bring it all from downstairs. I
suppose when this was used as a playroom they had to take the nursery things out, and no wonder! I
never saw such ravages as the children have made here.
The wall-paper, as I
said before, is torn off in spots, and it sticketh closer than a brother--they must have had perseverance as well as hatred.
Then the floor is scratched and gouged and splintered, the plaster itself is dug out here and there, and this great heavy bed which is all we found in the room, looks as if it had been through the wars.
don't mind it a bit--only the paper.
There comes John's sister. Such a dear girl as she is, and so careful of me
must not let her find me
She is a perfect and enthusiastic housekeeper, and hopes for no better profession. I
verily believe she thinks it is the writing which made me
can write when she is out, and see her a long way off from these windows.
There is one that commands the road, a lovely shaded winding road, and one that just looks off over the country. A lovely country, too, full of great elms and velvet meadows.
This wall-paper has a kind of sub-pattern in a different shade, a particularly irritating one, for you can only see it in certain lights, and not clearly then.
But in the places where it isn't faded and where the sun is just so--I
can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design.
There's sister on the stairs!
* * *
Well, the Fourth of July is over! The people are all gone and I
am tired out. John thought it might do me
good to see a little company, so we just had mother and Nellie and the children down for a week.
Of course I
didn't do a thing. Jennie sees to everything now.
But it tired me
all the same.
John says if I
don't pick up faster he shall send me
to Weir Mitchell in the fall.
don't want to go there at all. I
had a friend who was in his hands once, and she says he is just like John and my brother, only more so!
Besides, it is such an undertaking to go so far.
don't feel as if it was worth while to turn my hand over for anything, and I
'm getting dreadfully fretful and querulous.
at nothing, and cry
most of the time.
Of course I
don't when John is here, or anybody else, but when I
am alone a good deal just now. John is kept in town very often by serious cases, and Jennie is good and lets me
alone when I
want her to.
walk a little in the garden or down that lovely lane, sit on the porch under the roses, and lie down up here a good deal.
'm getting really fond of the room in spite of the wall-paper. Perhaps because of the wall-paper.
It dwells in my mind so!
lie here on this great immovable bed--it is nailed down, I
believe--and follow that pattern about by the hour. It is as good as gymnastics, I
assure you. I
start, we'll say, at the bottom, down in the corner over there where it has not been touched, and I
determine for the thousandth time that I
will follow that pointless pattern to some sort of a conclusion.
know a little of the principle of design, and I
know this thing was not arranged on any laws of radiation, or alternation, or repetition, or symmetry, or anything else that I
ever heard of.
It is repeated, of course, by the breadths, but not otherwise.
Looked at in one way each breadth stands alone, the bloated curves and flourishes--a kind of "debased Romanesque" with delirium tremens--go waddling up and down in isolated columns of fatuity.
But, on the other hand, they connect diagonally, and the sprawling outlines run off in great slanting waves of optic horror, like a lot of wallowing seaweeds in full chase.
The whole thing goes horizontally, too, at least it seems so, and I
exhaust myself in trying to distinguish the order of its going in that direction.
They have used a horizontal breadth for a frieze, and that adds wonderfully to the confusion.
There is one end of the room where it is almost intact, and there, when the crosslights fade and the low sun shines directly upon it, I
can almost fancy radiation after all,--the interminable grotesques seem to form around a common centre and rush off in headlong plunges of equal distraction.
It makes me
tired to follow it. I
will take a nap I
* * *
don't know why I
should write this.
don't want to.
don't feel able.
know John would think it absurd. But I
must say what I
feel and think in some way--it is such a relief!
But the effort is getting to be greater than the relief.
Half the time now I
am awfully lazy, and lie down ever so much.
John says I
mustn't lose my strength, and has me
take cod liver oil and lots of tonics and things, to say nothing of ale and wine and rare meat.
Dear John! He loves me
very dearly, and hates to have me
tried to have a real earnest reasonable talk with him the other day, and tell him how I
wish he would let me
go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia.
But he said I
wasn't able to go, nor able to stand it after I
got there; and I
did not make out a very good case for myself, for I
had finished .
It is getting to be a great effort for me
to think straight. Just this nervous weakness I
And dear John gathered me
up in his arms, and just carried me
upstairs and laid me
on the bed, and sat by me
and read to me
till it tired my head.
He said I
was his darling and his comfort and all he had, and that I
must take care of myself for his sake, and keep well.
He says no one but myself can help me
out of it, that I
must use my will and self-control and not let any silly fancies run away with me
There's one comfort, the baby is well and happy, and does not have to occupy this nursery with the horrid wall-paper.
If we had not used it, that blessed child would have! What a fortunate escape! Why, I
wouldn't have a child of mine, an impressionable little thing, live in such a room for worlds.
never thought of it before, but it is lucky that John kept me
here after all, I
can stand it so much easier than a baby, you see.
Of course I
never mention it to them any more--I
am too wise,--but I
keep watch of it all the same.
There are things in that paper that nobody knows but me
, or ever will.
Behind that outside pattern the dim shapes get clearer every day.
It is always the same shape, only very numerous.
And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I
don't like it a bit. I
begin to think--I
wish John would take me
away from here!
* * *
It is so hard to talk with John about my case, because he is so wise, and because he loves me
tried it last night.
It was moonlight. The moon shines in all around just as the sun does.
hate to see it sometimes, it creeps so slowly, and always comes in by one window or another.
John was asleep and I
hated to waken him, so I
kept still and watched the moonlight on that undulating wall-paper till I
The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out.
got up softly and went to feel and see if the paper did move, and when I
came back John was awake.
"What is it, little girl?" he said. "Don't go walking about like that--you'll get cold."
thought it was a good time to talk, so I
told him that I
really was not gaining here, and that I
wished he would take me
"Why darling!" said he, "our lease will be up in three weeks, and I
can't see how to leave before.
"The repairs are not done at home, and I
cannot possibly leave town just now. Of course if you were in any danger, I
could and would, but you really are better, dear, whether you can see it or not. I
am a doctor, dear, and I
know. You are gaining flesh and color, your appetite is better, I
feel really much easier about you."
don't weigh a bit more," said 1, "nor as much; and my appetite may be better in the evening when you are here, but it is worse in the morning when you are away!"
"Bless her little heart!" said he with a big hug, "she shall be as sick as she pleases! But now let's improve the shining hours by going to sleep, and talk about it in the morning!"
"And you won't go away?" I
"Why, how can I
, dear? It is only three weeks more and then we will take a nice little trip of a few days while Jennie is getting the house ready. Really dear you are better!"
"Better in body perhaps--" I
began, and stopped short, for he sat up straight and looked at me
with such a stern, reproachful look that I
could not say another word.
"My darling," said he, "I
beg of you, for my sake and for our child's sake, as well as for your own, that you will never for one instant let that idea enter your mind! There is nothing so dangerous, so fascinating, to a temperament like yours. It is a false and foolish fancy. Can you not trust me
as a physician when I
tell you so?"
So of course I
said no more on that score, and we went to sleep before long. He thought I
was asleep first, but I
wasn't, and lay there for hours trying to decide whether that front pattern and the back pattern really did move together or separately.
* * *
On a pattern like this, by daylight, there is a lack of sequence, a defiance of law, that is a constant irritant to a normal mind.
The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing.
You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in following, it turns a back somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you. It is like a bad dream.
The outside pattern is a florid arabesque, reminding one of a fungus. If you can imagine a toadstool in joints, an interminable string of toadstools, budding and sprouting in endless convolutions--why, that is something like it.
That is, sometimes!
There is one marked peculiarity about this paper, a thing nobody seems to notice but myself, and that is that it changes as the light changes.
When the sun shoots in through the east window--I
always watch for that first long, straight ray--it changes so quickly that I
never can quite believe it.
That is why I
watch it always.
By moonlight--the moon shines in all night when there is a moon--I
wouldn't know it was the same paper.
At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candle light, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern I
mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be.
didn't realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I
am quite sure it is a woman.
By daylight she is subdued, quiet. I
fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still. It is so puzzling. It keeps me
quiet by the hour.
lie down ever so much now. John says it is good for me
, and to sleep all I
Indeed he started the habit by making me
lie down for an hour after each meal.
It is a very bad habit I
am convinced, for you see I
And that cultivates deceit, for I
don't tell them I
'm awake--O no!
The fact is I
am getting a little afraid of John.
He seems very queer sometimes, and even Jennie has an inexplicable look.
It strikes me
occasionally, just as a scientific hypothesis,--that perhaps it is the paper!
have watched John when he did not know I
was looking, and come into the room suddenly on the most innocent excuses, and I
've caught him several times looking at the paper! And Jennie too. I
caught Jennie with her hand on it once.
She didn't know I
was in the room, and when I
asked her in a quiet, a very quiet voice, with the most restrained manner possible, what she was doing with the paper--she turned around as if she had been caught stealing, and looked quite angry-- asked me
should frighten her so!
Then she said that the paper stained everything it touched, that she had found yellow smooches on all my clothes and John's, and she wished we would be more careful!
Did not that sound innocent? But I
know she was studying that pattern, and I
am determined that nobody shall find it out but myself!
* * *
Life is very much more exciting now than it used to be. You see I
have something more to expect, to look forward to, to watch. I
really do eat better, and am more quiet than I
John is so pleased to see me
improve ! He laughed a little the other day, and said I
seemed to be flourishing in spite of my wall-paper.
turned it off with a laugh. I
had no intention of telling him it was because of the wall-paper--he would make fun of me
. He might even want to take me
don't want to leave now until I
have found it out. There is a week more, and I
think that will be enough.
* * *
'm feeling ever so much better! I
don't sleep much at night, for it is so interesting to watch developments; but I
sleep a good deal in the daytime.
In the daytime it is tiresome and perplexing.
There are always new shoots on the fungus, and new shades of yellow all over it. I
cannot keep count of them, though I
have tried conscientiously.
It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me
think of all the yellow things I
ever saw--not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things.
But there is something else about that paper-- the smell! I
noticed it the moment we came into the room, but with so much air and sun it was not bad. Now we have had a week of fog and rain, and whether the windows are open or not, the smell is here.
It creeps all over the house.
find it hovering in the dining-room, skulking in the parlor, hiding in the hall, lying in wait for me
on the stairs.
It gets into my hair.
Even when I
go to ride, if I
turn my head suddenly and surprise it--there is that smell!
Such a peculiar odor, too! I
have spent hours in trying to analyze it, to find what it smelled like.
It is not bad--at first, and very gentle, but quite the subtlest, most enduring odor I
In this damp weather it is awful, I
wake up in the night and find it hanging over me
It used to disturb me
at first. I
thought seriously of burning the house--to reach the smell.
But now I
am used to it. The only thing I
can think of that it is like is the color of the paper! A yellow smell.
There is a very funny mark on this wall, low down, near the mopboard. A streak that runs round the room. It goes behind every piece of furniture, except the bed, a long, straight, even smooch, as if it had been rubbed over and over.
wonder how it was done and who did it, and what they did it for. Round and round and round--round and round and round--it makes me
* * *
really have discovered something at last.
Through watching so much at night, when it changes so, I
have finally found out.
The front pattern does move--and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it!
think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over.
Then in the very bright spots she keeps still, and in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard.
And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern--it strangles so; I
think that is why it has so many heads.
They get through, and then the pattern strangles them off and turns them upside down, and makes their eyes white!
If those heads were covered or taken off it would not be half so bad.
* * *
think that woman gets out in the daytime!
'll tell you why--privately--I
've seen her!
can see her out of every one of my windows!
It is the same woman, I
know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight.
see her on that long road under the trees, creeping along, and when a carriage comes she hides under the blackberry vines.
don't blame her a bit. It must be very humiliating to be caught creeping by daylight!
always lock the door when I
creep by daylight. I
can't do it at night, for I
know John would suspect something at once.
And John is so queer now, that I
don't want to irritate him. I
wish he would take another room! Besides, I
don't want anybody to get that woman out at night but myself.
often wonder if I
could see her out of all the windows at once.
But, turn as fast as I
can only see out of one at one time.
And though I
always see her, she may be able to creep faster than I
have watched her sometimes away off in the open country, creeping as fast as a cloud shadow in a high wind.
* * *
If only that top pattern could be gotten off from the under one! I
mean to try it, little by little.
have found out another funny thing, but I
shan't tell it this time! It does not do to trust people too much.
There are only two more days to get this paper off, and I
believe John is beginning to notice. I
don't like the look in his eyes.
heard him ask Jennie a lot of professional questions about me
. She had a very good report to give.
She said I
slept a good deal in the daytime.
John knows I
don't sleep very well at night, for all I
'm so quiet!
He asked me
all sorts of questions, too, and pretended to be very loving and kind.
As if I
couldn't see through him!
don't wonder he acts so, sleeping under this paper for three months.
It only interests me
, but I
feel sure John and Jennie are secretly affected by it.
* * *
Hurrah! This is the last day, but it is enough. John to stay in town over night, and won't be out until this evening.
Jennie wanted to sleep with me
--the sly thing! but I
told her I
should undoubtedly rest better for a night all alone.
That was clever, for really I
wasn't alone a bit! As soon as it was moonlight and that poor thing began to crawl and shake the pattern, I
got up and ran to help her.
pulled and she shook, I
shook and she pulled, and before morning we had peeled off yards of that paper.
A strip about as high as my head and half around the room.
And then when the sun came and that awful pattern began to laugh at me
would finish it to-day!
We go away to-morrow, and they are moving all my furniture down again to leave things as they were before.
Jennie looked at the wall in amazement, but I
told her merrily that I
did it out of pure spite at the vicious thing.
She laughed and said she wouldn't mind doing it herself, but I
must not get tired.
How she betrayed herself that time!
am here, and no person touches this paper but me
She tried to get me
out of the room--it was too patent! But I
said it was so quiet and empty and clean now that I
would lie down again and sleep all I
could; and not to wake me
even for dinner--I
would call when I
So now she is gone, and the servants are gone, and the things are gone, and there is nothing left but that great bedstead nailed down, with the canvas mattress we found on it.
We shall sleep downstairs to-night, and take the boat home to-morrow.
quite enjoy the room, now it is bare again.
How those children did tear about here!
This bedstead is fairly gnawed!
must get to work.
have locked the door and thrown the key down into the front path.
don't want to go out, and I
don't want to have anybody come in, till John comes.
want to astonish him.
've got a rope up here that even Jennie did not find. If that woman does get out, and tries to get away, I
can tie her!
could not reach far without anything to stand on!
This bed will not move!
tried to lift and push it until I
was lame, and then I
got so angry I
bit off a little piece at one corner--but it hurt my teeth.
peeled off all the paper I
could reach standing on the floor. It sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it! All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths just shriek with derision!
am getting angry enough to do something desperate. To jump out of the window would be admirable exercise, but the bars are too strong even to try.
wouldn't do it. Of course not. I
know well enough that a step like that is improper and might be misconstrued.
don't like to look out of the windows even-- there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast.
wonder if they all come out of that wall-paper as I
am securely fastened now by my well-hidden rope--you don't get me
out in the road there !
shall have to get back behind the pattern when it comes night, and that is hard!
It is so pleasant to be out in this great room and creep around as I
don't want to go outside. I
won't, even if Jennie asks me
For outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything is green instead of yellow.
But here I
can creep smoothly on the floor, and my shoulder just fits in that long smooch around the wall, so I
cannot lose my way.
Why there's John at the door!
It is no use, young man, you can't open it!
How he does call and pound!
Now he's crying
for an axe.
It would be a shame to break down that beautiful door!
"John dear!" said I
in the gentlest voice, "the key is down by the front steps, under a plantain leaf!"
That silenced him for a few moments.
Then he said--very quietly indeed, "Open the door, my darling!"
can't," said I
. "The key is down by the front door under a plantain leaf!"
And then I
said it again, several times, very gently and slowly, and said it so often that he had to go and see, and he got it of course, and came in. He stopped short by the door.
"What is the matter?" he cried
. "For God's sake, what are you doing!"
kept on creeping just the same, but I
looked at him over my shoulder.
've got out at last," said I
, "in spite of you and Jane. And I
've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me
Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I
had to creep over him every time! http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/webtexts/wallpaper/
F. Scott Fitzgerald
SOME OF THE CADDIES were poor as sin and lived in one-room houses with a neurasthenic cow in the front yard, but Dexter Green's father owned the second best grocery-store in Black Bear--the best one was "The Hub," patronized by the wealthy people from Sherry Island--and Dexter caddied only for pocket-money.
In the fall when the days became crisp and gray, and the long Minnesota winter shut down like the white lid of a box, Dexter's skis moved over the snow that hid the fairways of the golf course. At these times the country gave him a feeling of profound melancholy--it offended him that the links should lie in enforced fallowness, haunted by ragged sparrows for the long season. It was dreary, too, that on the tees where the gay colors fluttered in summer there were now only the desolate sand-boxes knee-deep in crusted ice. When he crossed the hills the wind blew cold as misery, and if the sun was out he tramped with his eyes squinted up against the hard dimensionless glare.
In April the winter ceased abruptly. The snow ran down into Black Bear Lake scarcely tarrying for the early golfers to brave the season with red and black balls. Without elation, without an interval of moist glory, the cold was gone.
Dexter knew that there was something dismal about this Northern spring, just as he knew there was something gorgeous about the fall. Fall made him clinch his hands and tremble and repeat idiotic sentences to himself, and make brisk abrupt gestures of command to imaginary audiences and armies. October filled him with hope which November raised to a sort of ecstatic triumph, and in this mood the fleeting brilliant impressions of the summer at Sherry Island were ready grist to his mill. He became a golf champion and defeated Mr. T. A. Hedrick in a marvellous match played a hundred times over the fairways of his imagination, a match each detail of which he changed about untiringly--sometimes he won with almost laughable ease, sometimes he came up magnificently from behind. Again, stepping from a Pierce-Arrow automobile, like Mr. Mortimer Jones, he strolled frigidly into the lounge of the Sherry Island Golf Club-- or perhaps, surrounded by an admiring crowd, he gave an exhibition of fancy diving from the spring-board of the club raft. . . . Among those who watched him in open-mouthed wonder was Mr. Mortimer Jones.
And one day it came to pass that Mr. Jones--himself and not his ghost-- came up to Dexter with tears in his eyes and said that Dexter was the----best caddy in the club, and wouldn't he decide not to quit if Mr. Jones made it worth his while, because every other caddy in the club lost one ball a hole for him-- regularly----
"No, sir," said Dexter decisively, "I
don't want to caddy any more." Then, after a pause: "I
'm too old."
"You're not more than fourteen. Why the devil did you decide just this morning that you wanted to quit? You promised that next week you'd go over to the State tournament with me
was too old."
Dexter handed in his "A Class" badge, collected what money was due him from the caddy master, and walked home to Black Bear Village.
"The best----caddy I
ever saw," shouted Mr. Mortimer Jones over a drink that afternoon. "Never lost a ball! Willing! Intelligent! Quiet! Honest! Grateful!"
The little girl who had done this was eleven--beautifully ugly as little girls are apt to be who are destined after a few years to be inexpressibly lovely and bring no end of misery to a great number of men. The spark, however, was perceptible. There was a general ungodliness in the way her lips twisted ,down at the corners when she smiled, and in the--Heaven help us!--in the almost passionate quality of her eyes. Vitality is born early in such women. It was utterly in evidence now, shining through her thin frame in a sort of glow.
She had come eagerly out on to the course at nine o'clock with a white linen nurse and five small new golf-clubs in a white canvas bag which the nurse was carrying. When Dexter first saw her she was standing by the caddy house, rather ill at ease and trying to conceal the fact by engaging her nurse in an obviously unnatural conversation graced by startling and irrelevant grimaces from herself.
"Well, it's certainly a nice day, Hilda," Dexter heard her say. She drew down the corners of her mouth, smiled, and glanced furtively around, her eyes in transit falling for an instant on Dexter.
Then to the nurse:
guess there aren't very many people out here this morning, are there?"
The smile again--radiant, blatantly artificial--convincing.
don't know what we're supposed to do now," said the nurse, looking nowhere in particular.
"Oh, that's all right. I
'll fix it up.
Dexter stood perfectly still, his mouth slightly ajar. He knew that if he moved forward a step his stare would be in her line of vision--if he moved backward he would lose his full view of her face. For a moment he had not realized how young she was. Now he remembered having seen her several times the year before in bloomers.
Suddenly, involuntarily, he laughed, a short abrupt laugh-- then, startled by himself, he turned and began to walk quickly away.
Beyond question he was addressed. Not only that, but he was treated to that absurd smile, that preposterous smile--the memory of which at least a dozen men were to carry into middle age.
"Boy, do you know where the golf teacher is?"
"He's giving a lesson."
"Well, do you know where the caddy-master is?"
"He isn't here yet this morning."
"Oh." For a moment this baffled her. She stood alternately on her right and left foot.
"We'd like to get a caddy," said the nurse. "Mrs. Mortimer Jones sent us out to play golf, and we don't know how without we get a caddy."
Here she was stopped by an ominous glance from Miss Jones, followed immediately by the smile.
"There aren't any caddies here except me
," said Dexter to the nurse, "and I
got to stay here in charge until the caddy-master gets here."
Miss Jones and her retinue now withdrew, and at a proper distance from Dexter became involved in a heated conversation, which was concluded by Miss Jones taking one of the clubs and hitting it on the ground with violence. For further emphasis she raised it again and was about to bring it down smartly upon the nurse's bosom, when the nurse seized the club and twisted it from her hands.
"You damn little mean old thing!" cried
Miss Jones wildly.
Another argument ensued. Realizing that the elements of the comedy were implied in the scene, Dexter several times began to laugh, but each time restrained the laugh before it reached audibility. He could not resist the monstrous conviction that the little girl was justified in beating the nurse.
The situation was resolved by the fortuitous appearance of the caddymaster, who was appealed to immediately by the nurse.
"Miss Jones is to have a little caddy, and this one says he can't go."
"Mr. McKenna said I
was to wait here till you came," said Dexter quickly.
"Well, he's here now." Miss Jones smiled cheerfully at the caddy-master. Then she dropped her bag and set off at a haughty mince toward the first tee.
"Well?" The caddy-master turned to Dexter. "What you standing there like a dummy for? Go pick up the young lady's clubs."
don't think I
'll go out to-day," said Dexter.
The enormity of his decision frightened him. He was a favorite caddy, and the thirty dollars a month he earned through the summer were not to be made elsewhere around the lake. But he had received a strong emotional shock, and his perturbation required a violent and immediate outlet.
It is not so simple as that, either. As so frequently would be the case in the future, Dexter was unconsciously dictated to by his winter dreams.
NOW, OF COURSE, the quality and the seasonability of these winter dreams varied, but the stuff of them remained. They persuaded Dexter several years later to pass up a business course at the State university--his father, prospering now, would have paid his way--for the precarious advantage of attending an older and more famous university in the East, where he was bothered by his scanty funds. But do not get the impression, because his winter dreams happened to be concerned at first with musings on the rich, that there was anything merely snobbish in the boy. He wanted not association with glittering things and glittering people--he wanted the glittering things themselves. Often he reached out for the best without knowing why he wanted it--and sometimes he ran up against the mysterious denials and prohibitions in which life indulges. It is with one of those denials and not with his career as a whole that this story deals.
He made money. It was rather amazing. After college he went to the city from which Black Bear Lake draws its wealthy patrons. When he was only twenty-three and had been there not quite two years, there were already people who liked to say: "Now there's a boy--" All about him rich men's sons were peddling bonds precariously, or investing patrimonies precariously, or plodding through the two dozen volumes of the "George Washington Commercial Course," but Dexter borrowed a thousand dollars on his college degree and his confident mouth, and bought a partnership in a laundry.
It was a small laundry when he went into it but Dexter made a specialty of learning how the English washed fine woollen golf-stockings without shrinking them, and within a year he was catering to the trade that wore knickerbockers. Men were insisting that their Shetland hose and sweaters go to his laundry just as they had insisted on a caddy who could find golfballs. A little later he was doing their wives' lingerie as well--and running five branches in different parts of the city. Before he was twenty-seven he owned the largest string of laundries in his section of the country. It was then that he sold out and went to New York. But the part of his story that concerns us goes back to the days when he was making his first big success.
When he was twenty-three Mr. Hart--one of the gray-haired men who like to say "Now there's a boy"--gave him a guest card to the Sherry Island Golf Club for a week-end. So he signed his name one day on the register, and that afternoon played golf in a foursome with Mr. Hart and Mr. Sandwood and Mr. T. A. Hedrick. He did not consider it necessary to remark that he had once carried Mr. Hart's bag over this same links, and that he knew every trap and gully with his eyes shut--but he found himself glancing at the four caddies who trailed them, trying to catch a gleam or gesture that would remind him of himself, that would lessen the gap which lay between his present and his past.
It was a curious day, slashed abruptly with fleeting, familiar impressions. One minute he had the sense of being a trespasser--in the next he was impressed by the tremendous superiority he felt toward Mr. T. A. Hedrick, who was a bore and not even a good golfer any more.
Then, because of a ball Mr. Hart lost near the fifteenth green, an enormous thing happened. While they were searching the stiff grasses of the rough there was a clear call of "Fore!" from behind a hill in their rear. And as they all turned abruptly from their search a bright new ball sliced abruptly over the hill and caught Mr. T. A. Hedrick in the abdomen.
"By Gad!" cried
Mr. T. A. Hedrick, "they ought to put some of these crazy women off the course. It's getting to be outrageous."
A head and a voice came up together over the hill:
"Do you mind if we go through?"
"You hit me
in the stomach!" declared Mr. Hedrick wildly.
?" The girl approached the group of men. "I
'm sorry. I
yelled 'Fore !'"
Her glance fell casually on each of the men--then scanned the fairway for her ball.
bounce into the rough?"
It was impossible to determine whether this question was ingenuous or malicious. In a moment, however, she left no doubt, for as her partner came up over the hill she called cheerfully:
'd have gone on the green except that I
As she took her stance for a short mashie shot, Dexter looked at her closely. She wore a blue gingham dress, rimmed at throat and shoulders with a white edging that accentuated her tan. The quality of exaggeration, of thinness, which had made her passionate eyes and down-turning mouth absurd at eleven, was gone now. She was arrestingly beautiful. The color in her cheeks was centered like the color in a picture--it was not a "high" color, but a sort of fluctuating and feverish warmth, so shaded that it seemed at any moment it would recede and disappear. This color and the mobility of her mouth gave a continual impression of flux, of intense life, of passionate vitality--balanced only partially by the sad luxury of her eyes.
She swung her mashie impatiently and without interest, pitching the ball into a sand-pit on the other side of the green. With a quick, insincere smile and a careless "Thank you!" she went on after it.
"That Judy Jones!" remarked Mr. Hedrick on the next tee, as they waited--some moments--for her to play on ahead. "All she needs is to be turned up and spanked for six months and then to be married off to an oldfashioned cavalry captain."
"My God, she's good-looking!" said Mr. Sandwood, who was just over thirty.
Mr. Hedrick contemptuously, "she always looks as if she wanted to be kissed! Turning those big cow-eyes on every calf in town!"
It was doubtful if Mr. Hedrick intended a reference to the maternal instinct.
"She'd play pretty good golf if she'd try," said Mr. Sandwood.
"She has no form," said Mr. Hedrick solemnly.
"She has a nice figure," said Mr. Sandwood.
"Better thank the Lord she doesn't drive a swifter ball," said Mr. Hart, winking at Dexter.
Later in the afternoon the sun went down with a riotous swirl of gold and varying blues and scarlets, and left the dry, rustling night of Western summer. Dexter watched from the veranda of the Golf Club, watched the even overlap of the waters in the little wind, silver molasses under the harvest-moon. Then the moon held a finger to her lips and the lake became a clear pool, pale and quiet. Dexter put on his bathing-suit and swam out to the farthest raft, where he stretched dripping on the wet canvas of the springboard.
There was a fish jumping and a star shining and the lights around the lake were gleaming. Over on a dark peninsula a piano was playing the songs of last summer and of summers before that-- songs from "Chin-Chin" and "The Count of Luxemburg" and "The Chocolate Soldier"--and because the sound of a piano over a stretch of water had always seemed beautiful to Dexter he lay perfectly quiet and listened.
The tune the piano was playing at that moment had been gay and new five years before when Dexter was a sophomore at college. They had played it at a prom once when he could not afford the luxury of proms, and he had stood outside the gymnasium and listened. The sound of the tune precipitated in him a sort of ecstasy and it was with that ecstasy he viewed what happened to him now. It was a mood of intense appreciation, a sense that, for once, he was magnificently attune to life and that everything about him was radiating a brightness and a glamour he might never know again.
A low, pale oblong detached itself suddenly from the darkness of the Island, spitting forth the reverberate sound of a racing motor-boat. Two white streamers of cleft water rolled themselves out behind it and almost immediately the boat was beside him, drowning out the hot tinkle of the piano in the drone of its spray. Dexter raising himself on his arms was aware of a figure standing at the wheel, of two dark eyes regarding him over the lengthening space of water--then the boat had gone by and was sweeping in an immense and purposeless circle of spray round and round in the middle of the lake. With equal eccentricity one of the circles flattened out and headed back toward the raft.
"Who's that?" she called, shutting off her motor. She was so near now that Dexter could see her bathing-suit, which consisted apparently of pink rompers.
The nose of the boat bumped the raft, and as the latter tilted rakishly he was precipitated toward her. With different degrees of interest they recognized each other.
"Aren't you one of those men we played through this afternoon?" she demanded.
"Well, do you know how to drive a motor-boat? Because if you do I
wish you'd drive this one so I
can ride on the surf-board behind. My name is Judy Jones"--she favored him with an absurd smirk--rather, what tried to be a smirk, for, twist her mouth as she might, it was not grotesque, it was merely beautiful--"and I
live in a house over there on the Island, and in that house there is a man waiting for me
. When he drove up at the door I
drove out of the dock because he says I
'm his ideal."
There was a fish jumping and a star shining and the lights around the lake were gleaming. Dexter sat beside Judy Jones and she explained how her boat was driven. Then she was in the water, swimming to the floating surfboard with a sinuous crawl. Watching her was without effort to the eye, watching a branch waving or a sea-gull flying. Her arms, burned to butternut, moved sinuously among the dull platinum ripples, elbow appearing first, casting the forearm back with a cadence of falling water, then reaching out and down, stabbing a path ahead.
They moved out into the lake; turning, Dexter saw that she was kneeling on the low rear of the now uptilted surf-board.
"Go faster," she called, "fast as it'll go."
Obediently he jammed the lever forward and the white spray mounted at the bow. When he looked around again the girl was standing up on the rushing board, her arms spread wide, her eyes lifted toward the moon.
"It's awful cold," she shouted. "What's your name?"
He told her.
"Well, why don't you come to dinner to-morrow night?"
His heart turned over like the fly-wheel of the boat, and, for the second time, her casual whim gave a new direction to his life.
NEXT EVENING while he waited for her to come down-stairs, Dexter peopled the soft deep summer room and the sun-porch that opened from it with the men who had already loved Judy Jones. He knew the sort of men they were--the men who when he first went to college had entered from the great prep schools with graceful clothes and the deep tan of healthy summers. He had seen that, in one sense, he was better than these men. He was newer and stronger. Yet in acknowledging to himself that he wished his children to be like them he was admitting that he was but the rough, strong stuff from which they eternally sprang.
When the time had come for him to wear good clothes, he had known who were the best tailors in America, and the best tailors in America had made him the suit he wore this evening. He had acquired that particular reserve peculiar to his university, that set it off from other universities. He recognized the value to him of such a mannerism and he had adopted it; he knew that to be careless in dress and manner required more confidence than to be careful. But carelessness was for his children. His mother's name had been Krimslich. She was a Bohemian of the peasant class and she had talked broken English to the end of her days. Her son must keep to the set patterns.
At a little after seven Judy Jones came down-stairs. She wore a blue silk afternoon dress, and he was disappointed at first that she had not put on something more elaborate. This feeling was accentuated when, after a brief greeting, she went to the door of a butler's pantry and pushing it open called: "You can serve dinner, Martha." He had rather expected that a butler would announce dinner, that there would be a cocktail. Then he put these thoughts behind him as they sat down side by side on a lounge and looked at each other.
"Father and mother won't be here," she said thoughtfully.
He remembered the last time he had seen her father, and he was glad the parents were not to be here to-night--they might wonder who he was. He had been born in Keeble, a Minnesota village fifty miles farther north, and he always gave Keeble as his home instead of Black Bear Village. Country towns were well enough to come from if they weren't inconveniently in sight and used as footstools by fashionable lakes.
They talked of his university, which she had visited frequently during the past two years, and of the near-by city which supplied Sherry Island with its patrons, and whither Dexter would return next day to his prospering laundries.
During dinner she slipped into a moody depression which gave Dexter a feeling of uneasiness. Whatever petulance she uttered in her throaty voice worried him. Whatever she smiled at--at him, at a chicken liver, at nothing--it disturbed him that her smile could have no root in mirth, or even in amusement. When the scarlet corners of her lips curved down, it was less a smile than an invitation to a kiss.
Then, after dinner, she led him out on the dark sun-porch and deliberately changed the atmosphere.
"Do you mind if I
weep a little?" she said.
'm afraid I
'm boring you," he responded quickly.
"You're not. I
like you. But I
've just had a terrible afternoon. There was a man I
cared about, and this afternoon he told me
out of a clear sky that he was poor as a church-mouse. He'd never even hinted it before. Does this sound horribly mundane?"
"Perhaps he was afraid to tell you."
"Suppose he was," she answered. "He didn't start right. You see, if I
'd thought of him as poor--well, I
've been mad about loads of poor men, and fully intended to marry them all. But in this case, I
hadn't thought of him that way, and my interest in him wasn't strong enough to survive the shock. As if a girl calmly informed her fianc_ that she was a widow. He might not object to widows, but----
"Let's start right," she interrupted herself suddenly. "Who are you, anyhow?"
For a moment Dexter hesitated. Then:
'm nobody," he announced. "My career is largely a matter of futures."
"Are you poor?"
"No," he said frankly, "I
'm probably making more money than any man my age in the Northwest. I
know that's an obnoxious remark, but you advised me
to start right."
There was a pause. Then she smiled and the corners of her mouth drooped and an almost imperceptible sway brought her closer to him, looking up into his eyes. A lump rose in Dexter's throat, and he waited breathless for the experiment, facing the unpredictable compound that would form mysteriously from the elements of their lips. Then he saw--she communicated her excitement to him, lavishly, deeply, with kisses that were not a promise but a fulfillment. They aroused in him not hunger demanding renewal but surfeit that would demand more surfeit . . . kisses that were like charity, creating want by holding back nothing at all.
It did not take him many hours to decide that he had wanted Judy Jones ever since he was a proud, desirous little boy.
IT BEGAN like that--and continued, with varying shades of intensity, on such a note right up to the d_nouement. Dexter surrendered a part of himself to the most direct and unprincipled personality with which he had ever come in contact. Whatever Judy wanted, she went after with the full pressure of her charm. There was no divergence of method, no jockeying for position or premeditation of effects--there was a very little mental side to any of her affairs. She simply made men conscious to the highest degree of her physical loveliness. Dexter had no desire to change her. Her deficiencies were knit up with a passionate energy that transcended and justified them.
When, as Judy's head lay against his shoulder that first night, she whispered, "I
don't know what's the matter with me
. Last night I
was in love with a man and to-night I
'm in love with you----"--it seemed to him a beautiful and romantic thing to say. It was the exquisite excitability that for the moment he controlled and owned. But a week later he was compelled to view this same quality in a different light. She took him in her roadster to a picnic supper, and after supper she disappeared, likewise in her roadster, with another man. Dexter became enormously upset and was scarcely able to be decently civil to the other people present. When she assured him that she had not kissed the other man, he knew she was lying--yet he was glad that she had taken the trouble to lie to him.
He was, as he found before the summer ended, one of a varying dozen who circulated about her. Each of them had at one time been favored above all others--about half of them still basked in the solace of occasional sentimental revivals. Whenever one showed signs of dropping out through long neglect, she granted him a brief honeyed hour, which encouraged him to tag along for a year or so longer. Judy made these forays upon the helpless and defeated without malice, indeed half unconscious that there was anything mischievous in what she did.
When a new man came to town every one dropped out--dates were automatically cancelled.
The helpless part of trying to do anything about it was that she did it all herself. She was not a girl who could be "won" in the kinetic sense--she was proof against cleverness, she was proof against charm; if any of these assailed her too strongly she would immediately resolve the affair to a physical basis, and under the magic of her physical splendor the strong as well as the brilliant played her game and not their own. She was entertained only by the gratification of her desires and by the direct exercise of her own charm. Perhaps from so much youthful love, so many youthful lovers, she had come, in self-defense, to nourish herself wholly from within.
Succeeding Dexter's first exhilaration came restlessness and dissatisfaction. The helpless ecstasy of losing himself in her was opiate rather than tonic. It was fortunate for his work during the winter that those moments of ecstasy came infrequently. Early in their acquaintance it had seemed for a while that there was a deep and spontaneous mutual attraction that first August, for example--three days of long evenings on her dusky veranda, of strange wan kisses through the late afternoon, in shadowy alcoves or behind the protecting trellises of the garden arbors, of mornings when she was fresh as a dream and almost shy at meeting him in the clarity of the rising day. There was all the ecstasy of an engagement about it, sharpened by his realization that there was no engagement. It was during those three days that, for the first time, he had asked her to marry him. She said "maybe some day," she said "kiss me
," she said "I
'd like to marry you," she said "I
love you"--she said-- nothing.
The three days were interrupted by the arrival of a New York man who visited at her house for half September. To Dexter's agony, rumor engaged them. The man was the son of the president of a great trust company. But at the end of a month it was reported that Judy was yawning. At a dance one night she sat all evening in a motor-boat with a local beau, while the New Yorker searched the club for her frantically. She told the local beau that she was bored with her visitor, and two days later he left. She was seen with him at the station, and it was reported that he looked very mournful indeed.
On this note the summer ended. Dexter was twenty-four, and he found himself increasingly in a position to do as he wished. He joined two clubs in the city and lived at one of them. Though he was by no means an integral part of the stag-lines at these clubs, he managed to be on hand at dances where Judy Jones was likely to appear. He could have gone out socially as much as he liked--he was an eligible young man, now, and popular with down-town fathers. His confessed devotion to Judy Jones had rather solidified his position. But he had no social aspirations and rather despised the dancing men who were always on tap for the Thursday or Saturday parties and who filled in at dinners with the younger married set. Already he was playing with the idea of going East to New York. He wanted to take Judy Jones with him. No disillusion as to the world in which she had grown up could cure his illusion as to her desirability.
Remember that--for only in the light of it can what he did for her be understood.
Eighteen months after he first met Judy Jones he became engaged to another girl. Her name was Irene Scheerer, and her father was one of the men who had always believed in Dexter. Irene was light-haired and sweet and honorable, and a little stout, and she had two suitors whom she pleasantly relinquished when Dexter formally asked her to marry him.
Summer, fall, winter, spring, another summer, another fall-- so much he had given of his active life to the incorrigible lips of Judy Jones. She had treated him with interest, with encouragement, with malice, with indifference, with contempt. She had inflicted on him the innumerable little slights and indignities possible in such a case--as if in revenge for having ever cared for him at all. She had beckoned him and yawned at him and beckoned him again and he had responded often with bitterness and narrowed eyes. She had brought him ecstatic happiness and intolerable agony of spirit. She had caused him untold inconvenience and not a little trouble. She had insulted him, and she had ridden over him, and she had played his interest in her against his interest in his work--for fun. She had done everything to him except to criticise him--this she had not done-- it seemed to him only because it might have sullied the utter indifference she manifested and sincerely felt toward him.
When autumn had come and gone again it occurred to him that he could not have Judy Jones. He had to beat this into his mind but he convinced himself at last. He lay awake at night for a while and argued it over. He told himself the trouble and the pain she had caused him, he enumerated her glaring deficiencies as a wife. Then he said to himself that he loved her, and after a while he fell asleep. For a week, lest he imagined her husky voice over the telephone or her eyes opposite him at lunch, he worked hard and late, and at night he went to his office and plotted out his years.
At the end of a week he went to a dance and cut in on her once. For almost the first time since they had met he did not ask her to sit out with him or tell her that she was lovely. It hurt him that she did not miss these things--that was all. He was not jealous when he saw that there was a new man to-night. He had been hardened against jealousy long before.
He stayed late at the dance. He sat for an hour with Irene Scheerer and talked about books and about music. He knew very little about either. But he was beginning to be master of his own time now, and he had a rather priggish notion that he--the young and already fabulously successful Dexter Green--should know more about such things.
That was in October, when he was twenty-five. In January, Dexter and Irene became engaged. It was to be announced in June, and they were to be married three months later.
The Minnesota winter prolonged itself interminably, and it was almost May when the winds came soft and the snow ran down into Black Bear Lake at last. For the first time in over a year Dexter was enjoying a certain tranquility of spirit. Judy Jones had been in Florida, and afterward in Hot Springs, and s
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