2021-04-18 10:46:02

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ENGLISH

It is not too much to say that the room was of the nature of a temple, for here a very essential and withdrawn part of himself passed hours of praise and worship. Born in the humblest circumstances, he had, from the days when he slept on a piece of sacking below the counter in his fathers most unprofitable shop, devoted all the push, all the activity of his energies to the grappling of business problems and the pursuit of money-making. To many this becomes by the period of{33} middle age a passion not less incurable than drug drinking, and not less ruinous than that to the nobler appetites of life. But Keeling had never allowed it thus to usurp and swamp him; he always had guarded his secret garden, fencing it impenetrably off from the clatter of the till. Here, though undeveloped and sundered from the rest of his life, grew the rose of romance, namely the sense of beauty in books; here shone for him the light which never was on sea or land, which inspires every artists dream. He was not in any degree creative, he had not the desire any more than the skill to write or to draw when he lost himself in reverie over the printed page or the illustrations in his sumptuous editions. But the sense of wonder and admiration which is the oil in the artists lamp burned steadily for him, and lit with a never-flickering flame the hours he passed among his books. Above all, when he was here he lost completely a certain sense of loneliness which was his constant companion.Will you see to that for me? he asked.

She pointed, and then bending down found in{236} the centre of one the bud from which the blossom would expand.And considering that last year there was a{74} deficit, he said, where would you get your money to pay the interest?

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Do you mean me? she said.

Another week passed, and still he waited for some word from his secretary about the book-plate. He was not going to be eager about it, for he would not confess to himself the anxiety with which he awaited an opportunity that his twenty-five shillings a week secretary had denied him. But day by day he scrutinized her face, and wondered if she was going to say that the book-plate was finished.He came back in a very short space of time.

It had begun to snow thickly outside, and she stood for a minute or two before the fire, shaking from her cloak the frozen petals, which fizzed on the coals. Certainly she had felt a disconcertment at the moment of her entry and passage through the hall, had found fault with the ill luck that had caused her to meet the gorged galaxy from the dining-room on the one and only night when her brother had not been with her. But the encounter did not long trouble her, and like warmth coming over frozen limbs, the fact of being here alone gave her a thrill of pleasure that surprised her. She was in his secret garden all by herself, without Charles to intrude his presence, without even Keeling himself. She did not want him here now; she was surrounded with him, and presently she plunged like some ecstatic diver into the work she had come to do for him. Soon the buzz of mens conversation drifted past the door, prominent among which was Silverdales expressive and high-pitched voice, and without intention she found herself listening for Keelings. Then the murmur was cut off by the sound of a shutting door, and she went on with her work on the catalogue cards. Faint tinkles of a piano were heard as Alice performed several little pieces, faint{136} screams as Julia Fyson sang. Keeling was there, no doubt, and still she did not want him in his bodily presence. He was more completely with her in this room empty but for herself.

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I cant say whether I should have been pleased or not, she said. It didnt happen. But Im sure I dont know why you sent your typewriter in here to talk to me. I dont know what you think I should find to say to her. With Alice here too.Hell, Granny, said John cheerfully.

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Apr-18 10:46:02