Overdue still continued to lie forgotten on the table. Every manuscript that he had had out now lay under the table. Only one manuscript he kept going, and that was Brissendens Ephemera. His bicycle and black suit were again in pawn, and the type-writer people were once more worrying about the rent. But such things no longer bothered him. He was seeking a new orientation, and until that was found his life must stand still.
After several weeks, what he had been waiting for happened. He met Ruth on the street. It was true, she was accompanied by her brother, Norman, and it was true that they tried to ignore him and that Norman attempted to wave him aside.
If you interfere with my sister, Ill call an officer, Norman threatened. She does not wish to speak with you, and your insistence is insult.
If you persist, youll have to call that officer, and then youll get your name in the papers, Martin answered grimly. And now, get out of my way and get the officer if you want to. Im going to talk with Ruth.
I want to have it from your own lips, he said to her.
She was pale and trembling, but she held up and looked inquiringly.
The question I asked in my letter, he prompted.
Norman made an impatient movement, but Martin checked him with a swift look.
She shook her head.
Is all this of your own free will? he demanded.
It is. She spoke in a low, firm voice and with deliberation. It is of my own free will. You have disgraced me so that I am ashamed to meet my friends. They are all talking about me, I know. That is all I can tell you. You have made me very unhappy, and I never wish to see you again.
Friends! Gossip! Newspaper misreports! Surely such things are not stronger than love! I can only believe that you never loved me.
A blush drove the pallor from her face.
After what has passed? she said faintly. Martin, you do not know what you are saying. I am not common.
You see, she doesnt want to have anything to do with you, Norman blurted out, starting on with her.
Martin stood aside and let them pass, fumbling unconsciously in his coat pocket for the tobacco and brown papers that were not there.
It was a long walk to North Oakland, but it was not until he went up the steps and entered his room that he knew he had walked it. He found himself sitting on the edge of the bed and staring about him like an awakened somnambulist. He noticed Overdue lying on the table and drew up his chair and reached for his pen. There was in his nature a logical compulsion toward completeness. Here was something undone. It had been deferred against the completion of something else. Now that something else
had been finished, and he would apply himself to this task until it was finished. What he would do next he did not know. All that he did know was that a climacteric in his life had been attained. A period had been reached, and he was rounding it off in workman-like fashion. He was not curious about the future. He would soon enough find out what it held in store for him. Whatever it was, it did not matter. Nothing seemed to matter.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|