The rich are graceful even in their vices. It was almost covered with a muddle of papers, perhaps two hundred sheets of sermon paper, grimy and dog-eared, and all written on and crossed out and written on again — a sort of sordid labyrinth of papers to which only Gordon possessed the key. In the middle of supper his mother was seized by a violent fit of coughing, put her hand to her breast, fell forward, and began bleeding at the mouth. ‘'ere y'are, then,’ she wheezed kindly as she came in with her arms full. Collected Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson! She was not going to bully him or cajole him. ‘There are my poems,’ said Gordon, smiling at his private joke. Gordon and Rosemary had halted in the doorway. He lay with his hands beneath his head, in a mixture of apathy and self-hatred. Five quid he had set aside for her, and then spent it on a tart! Oh, Gordon, I do think you're silly!’. The poor goose-like girl, with streaks of grey in her hair, weeping without grace or dignity in her little Drage-furnished bed-sitting room! Whatever happened afterwards, the memory of this evil time would be between them. They had visions of a cosy bar-parlour, with an oak settle and perhaps a stuffed pike in a glass case on the wall. The scene continued, but not for very much longer. The oil in the lamp was giving out and it was getting beastly cold. I've got to keep my end up.’, ‘But what do you mean, keep your end up?’, ‘I've made a war on money, and I've got to keep the rules. From now on he would breathe free air, free of the money-stink. Pubs are genuinely proletarian. I'd just hate you to do it if you didn't really want to. If that's the alternative I'll marry you. ‘You know, Gordon, it's really time you started reading Marx,’ said Ravelston, less apologetically than usual, because the vile taste of the beer had annoyed him. He knew without even needing to look that he had no money left. You are awful, Gordon!’, ‘I tell you I can't be bothered with things like that. He slipped behind Rosemary as they walked, so that she should not see his lined, colourless face. Sharply the menacing wind sweeps over. The humming of the aeroplanes and the crash of the bombs. ‘She's gone,’ said Gordon, with a wave of his hand which was meant to explain everything. — Rosemary; doesn't she care for you at all, really?’. It's idiotic of me.’, ‘Then come somewhere where it's dark. The devil of it is that the glow of renunciation never lasts. Rosemary was going to be his mistress. I can't live on you like this.’, ‘Rot, my dear chap! I dessay they'd give you something; that is, they would if they was open.’. It was a place where you could be happy, in a sluttish way. He began to shepherd Gordon towards the door, one arm round his shoulder, the other holding the Chianti bottle, which he had taken from him earlier. What people call a ‘good’ forehead — high, that is — but a small pointed chin, so that the face as a whole was pear-shaped rather than oval. He looked tired and depressed. ‘Things went wrong somehow. Eliot, Pound, Auden, Campbell, Day Lewis, Spender. Do!’, ‘No. Drunk and disorderly. ‘But you will not have anysing else, sare?’, ‘Oh, well. Horrible to think of all that soggy, half-baked trash massed together in one place. The tune reminded Gordon. Mother Meakin was not the type to interfere. Understandingly, he smiled back. As Gordon threw away the match his eye fell upon the aspidistra in its grass-green pot. The room, though stuffy, was dreadfully cold. Gordon inspected the house-front narrowly. ‘Let me go, now! They sat close together with the Sunday Times open across their knees; they did not read it, however, but watched the fields and cows and houses and the empty goods trucks and great sleeping factories rolling past. Also she had absorbed into her very bones the code of fair play and live-and-let-live. ‘Don't mind a threepenny-bit, do you, sir?’ the little bitch of a shop-girl had chirped. Gordon's last hope vanished. But her nature was simple and affectionate. Here's the taxi. Her arm round his waist, supporting him, Dora drew him aside. Shall we ever again get a writer worth reading? I'll let you know later in the week, anyway.’. He had visions of a pub taproom with great oozy barrels and quart pots topped with foam. And the time when the others found out that Gordon was wearing a ready-made suit which had cost thirty-five shillings! It's all my fault. There was a shuffling below. There ought to be some cars. He had been arrested for ‘loitering with intent to enter’ — a vague offence for which you generally get convicted if there are previous convictions against you. You can be a Socialist AND have a good time, that's what I say.’, ‘Hermione, dear, please don't call them the lower classes!’, ‘Why not? She had had to plead very hard before she had managed to extort that promise from Mr Erskine. ‘You oughtn't to say that kind of thing,’ he protested weakly. The truth was that in every moment of his life he was apologizing, tacitly, for the largeness of his income. Why should anyone want to snub you?’. The old Christian ideal — marriage tempered by adultery. For a moment he felt quite deathly. ... FULL TEXT download. That was the obvious cause, the precipitating cause, but even without it the end would have been the same; if there had been no baby to think about, something else would have forced his hand. Of course your landlady knows. After all, one is never quite alone; there are always friends, lovers, relatives. Rosemary was never allowed indoors, not even into the hall. You're supposed to be my guest. Money and culture! Flaxman would lend it to you all right. He would have a job, but not a ‘good’ job. ‘English is good enough for me,’ said the taximan. After all, he hadn't applied for the job and there was no knowing whether he could get it; he preferred to keep it uncertain. ‘Oh, Gordon, these leaves! Now leave him to himself. His gullet had shut up of its own accord, or the beer had missed his mouth. ‘Let's get out of this,’ he said abruptly, and at once stood up. His heart pounding, his entrails constricted, he had to pull out book after book and assure the fat woman that this was the very book she was looking for. ‘I'll beat you yet, you b — ,’ he whispered to the dusty leaves. Gordon was footsore, having walked a dozen or fifteen miles, and also hungry. He would get married, settle down, prosper moderately, push a pram, have a villa and a radio and an aspidistra. Pram-pushing and sneaky adulteries. Ding Dong Dell! Ravelston understood perfectly. They'd have to trail dismally up and down the streets, as usual, or at best go to a Lyons for a coffee. DEPARTED THIS LIFE 5 SEPTEMBER 1901, He had heard about Gordon from Mr McKechnie, whom he had met at an auction a few days earlier. Sharply the menacing wind sweeps over. ‘I must remember to take if off before I go to the studio tomorrow,’ said Rosemary reflectively. With a seeming-careless gesture he thrust his hand into his pocket. All the morning he had felt it there, whether he touched it or whether he did not; he seemed to have developed a special patch of sensitiveness in the skin below his right breast. To sit on the padded seat in the warm smoke-scented darkness, letting the flickering drivel on the screen gradually overwhelm you — feeling the waves of its silliness lap you round till you seem to drown, intoxicated, in a viscous sea — after all, it's the kind of drug we need. But she did not in the least understand why he was doing it. She was the same as all the others. The stupid slovenly routine did not irk him. Another clatter of crockery. He thought of the kind of life she would live at home, in her parents’ house, with a baby and no money; and of the news running through that monstrous family that Rosemary had married some awful rotter who couldn't even keep her. Flaxman — rang McKechnie up and told him you were down with flu. He pined for a bit of amusement — something cheap and easy. It had dragged him downward with strange suddenness. Gordon was very hungry. He had a fleeting but terribly vivid vision of Julia, with her thin face and her greying hair, in the cold of her dismal bed-sitting room. He thought of Sunday. She was his now when he chose to take her, and yet perhaps she did not fully understand what it was that she was offering; it was simply an instinctive movement of generosity, a desire to reassure him — to smooth away that hateful feeling of being unloveable and unloved. They could not help it. But perhaps it had not been going on quite so long as that. There is something horrible about London at night; the coldness, the anonymity, the aloofness. He greeted them with the homey, family-doctor geniality reserved for library-subscribers. Veer downward; flicked by whips of air, Pretending you're poor when you're not, and living in that poky flat with no servants, and going about with all these beastly people.’, ‘Oh, people like this poet friend of yours. To be mixed up in that! It was in the paper after all. Not necessarily ugly or vulgar; but dead — just dead.’ The word ‘dead’ re-echoed in his mind, setting up its own train of thought. But the thing had an unexpected sequel. He made it pretty convincing. This was after she had heard, from Rosemary, of Mr Erksine's offer of a job. Impatiently, she wrung the tears out of her eyes with her knuckles. All down the pavement they were strewn, crinkly and golden, like the rustling flakes of some American breakfast cereal; as though the queen of Brobdingnag had upset her packet of Truweet Breakfast Crisps down the hillside. ‘'ere!’ she said, and thrust an armful of filthy-looking books almost into Gordon's face. They fell into absurd raptures over each separate stick of furniture. Our thoughts, our dreams, our secret ways, Just to celebrate his stroke of luck; after all, it isn't every day that ten pounds — five pounds — drops out of the sky into your lap. As likely as not it would rain. By 1934 only three of that generation survived; Aunt Charlotte already mentioned, and Aunt Angela, who by some happy chance had been induced to buy a house and a tiny annuity in 1912, and Uncle Walter, who dingily existed on the few hundred pounds that were left out of his five thousand and by running short-ived ‘agencies’ for this and that. They saw everything in terms of ‘good’ jobs. Rosemary stifled a yawn. Finish it presently. And goes and tells his mother, It's bloody, that kind of thing.’. Suddenly a double knock deep below made the whole house rattle. A friend of a friend of Julia's employer's brother managed to get Gordon a job in the accounts department of the New Albion Publicity Company. URL: Who picks our words and cuts our clothes, Money, money, all is money! That was Gran'pa Comstock's doing, of course. Sitting in a corner torturing a nerve which won't even respond any longer. He paused, took out the miserable little threepenny-bit, and looked at it. She felt more tenderly towards him than she would have done if everything had gone well, because in her feminine way she grasped that he was unhappy and that life was difficult for him. No, better, menacing wind. He could guess what this meant to her. It was months since Rosemary and a year since Gordon had set foot in ‘the country’. She had kept late into life the high-spirited sexless atmosphere of a big family. ‘How silly we always are! Yes, sir. Gordon left with a hateful feeling of having behaved perversely and ungratefully. It was that Gordon showed, almost from the start, a remarkable talent for copywriting. It was so rarely that he could attain the peace of mind in which poetry, or prose for that matter, has got to be written. In a pub you can meet the working class on equal terms — or that's the theory, anyway. Ravelston shepherded him across the circus, Gordon clinging to his arm, but not for support, for his legs were still quite steady. He was beaten. But Ravelston was glad to see her. She shook off his hand and stepped back out of his reach. They got into the taxi and were driven away, Gordon sitting next to Rosemary. Gordon put his arm round Rosemary and pulled her hard against him. It was terrible to feel her push him away at such a moment. But the girl's body was heavy against him, and Middlesbrough was very far away. He woke in the wide caressing bed, softer and warmer than any bed he had ever slept in, and began to grope about for his matches. He's not that kind of person. The waiter was almost openly contemptuous. Gordon and Rosemary never grew tired of this kind of thing. I'm very angry with you. ‘You'll find it in Lemprière,’ he said obscurely. Why had he come back? Nothing has ever been devised that puts less strain on the intelligence; even a film, by comparison, demands a certain effort. He could not stop now to ask himself whether he loved her. He moved closer to her. She turned her face readily up to his and clung to him with a sort of eager violent affection, like a child. Their servile, dirty little faces, wild with hope, made him feel sick. You've had quite enough already.’. ‘No whisky ‘ere. But it must be very tiny, of course. They were in feminine league against him. It was an effort — a thing he had got to screw himself up to. But they depressed him all the same. In this way the fiction was kept up that there was no serious difference in their incomes. So there was another friend gone west. It dismayed him to find how little, at this moment, he really wanted her. You had people of this type coming into the shop all day long. Down in the bottom shelves the ‘classics’, the extinct monsters of the Victorian age, were quietly rotting. He was slipping, sliding, falling off the bed. The police, it was said, often put a ‘split’ into the cells, disguised as a prisoner, to pick up information. Once he noticed them the game was up. This is only something that's got to happen before the proletariat take over.’, ‘Oh, Socialism! Fancy sending a poem to a paper like the Primrose! I've been waiting ages.’, ‘Oh, I've been out with a fellow. Gordon came back balancing two pint glasses of the dark common ale. She looked agreeable, and, what tarts so seldom are, merry. It was there that you had to ask for works of reference. Gordon glanced at the japanned tray on the hall-stand. That field had never been exploited and had immense possibilities. As soon as they got there Gordon had a hot bath; he needed one, after the beastly contaminating grime of the last twelve hours. He would have to borrow from Rosemary after all. Gordon said that the little knobs on the bark were like the nipples of breasts and that the sinuous upper boughs, with their smooth sooty skin, were like the writhing trunks of elephants. ‘Must we go into it again?’ he said wearily. Dark gate-leg tables, pewter candlesticks, pictures by modern French painters on the walls. It was not a bar, however, but a large, smart, chilly room with corduroy-upholstered chairs and settees. Gordon was aware of what was going on inside Ravelston's head. It was very simple. Writing lies to tickle the money out of fools’ pockets! He thought of the Tube stations at early morning. The Buffaloes had tuned up again: Gordon moved back to the saloon bar. The door was of steel, painted green. It was hot enough to boil a kettle by, he thought. He looked the potential customer over. Could he be too early? March to your doom! Year in, year out, nothing ever happened in the Comstock family. Gordon's brain was marvellously clear. ‘No, dash it! He made off, down the dark pavement. I suppose that cow of a Wisbeach woman went and sneaked to him?’, ‘No. A woman despises a man who's dependent on her and sponges on her. In any case he did not care. His heart leapt again. Its general effect was that Ravelston saw Gordon's point entirely, that there was a lot of truth in what Gordon said, that Gordon was absolutely right in principle, but — ! He wanted to tell Gordon to get out of it, pull himself together, earn a decent income, and live like a gentleman. Ahead of him were dirt, cold, hunger, the streets, the workhouse, and the jail. Gordon pretended not to notice. It was the very reverse of a ‘good’ job. He had not consciously waited for his mother to die before doing this; still, it was his mother's death that had nerved him to it. Ravelston produced from his coat pocket a folded copy of a bi-weekly paper. Oh, boy!’. He knew that he ought to refuse, he wanted to refuse, and yet he had not quite the courage. Better to sink than rise. It was with difficulty that he could command his voice even for the most banal remark. Otherwise we're sunk.’. On the wooden seat upstairs he was wedged against a small dirty Scotchman who read the football finals and oozed beer. It was a stupid thing that he had done. A tram boomed across the square, and the clock over the Prince of Wales struck three. His personality is his income. Once a month, in Antichrist, he repudiated this version of Socialism. But in practice Ravelston never went into a pub unless he was with somebody like Gordon, and he always felt like a fish out of water when he got there. But there you are, you see, that's what money can do. His blunt words had upset her. Better that, perhaps, than horrible freedom? But not enough, don't you see. The money clinked in his trouser pocket as he got up. Down below the youthful voices were still mournfully singing: ‘For tonight we'll merry be, But still, it was not the desire to ‘write’ that was his real motive. He thought of the people who wrote for the Primrose; a coterie of moneyed highbrows — those sleek, refined young animals who suck in money and culture with their mother's milk. They had spent their evenings for weeks past getting the stuff in. They plunged into the woods and started westward, with not much idea of where they were making for — anywhere, so long as it was away from London. ‘I don't see much sense in writing if you can't make money out of it,’ was what she had always said. He gazed out at the graceless street. She felt dismayed, disappointed, and very cold. The window was frosted, and also steamy from the heat inside. I can't have a baby, can I?’. ‘We'll tell you afterwards if we want anything else,’ he said. On every hoarding in the British Isles huge accusing posters were hammering ‘P.P.’ into the public mind. Why don't you keep some proper servants, Philip? The few lamps, mist-ringed, hung like isolated stars, illumining nothing save themselves. This cell was an exact replica of the cell at the police station, even to having precisely the same number of porcelain bricks. Getting the lines the same length, and all that. 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