The Vehement Flame eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 364 pages of information about The Vehement Flame.
of his mind, and touched that subsoil of conscious responsibility for creation, the realization that, whether through love or through selfishness, the man who brings a child into this terrible, squalid, glorious world, is a creator, even as God is the Creator.  So Maurice, sitting at his desk that next day, answering a client on the telephone, or making an appointment to go and “look at a house,” was really feeling in his heart—­not love, of course, but a consciousness of his own relation to that little flushed, suffering body out in the contagious ward of the hospital in Medfield.  “Will he pull through?” Maurice asked himself.  It was six years ago that, standing at the door of a yellow-brick apartment house, with two fingers looped through the strings of a box of roses, Jacky’s father had said, “Perhaps it will be born dead!” How dry his lips had been that day with the hope of death!  Now, suddenly, his lips were dry with fear that the kid wouldn’t pull through—­which would be “tough on Lily.”  His face was stern with this new emotion of anxiety which was gradually becoming pain; he even forgot how scared he had been at the thought that Eleanor might have opened that telegram.  “I swear, I wish I hadn’t hurt his feelings about that cigar stub!” he said.  Then he remembered Eleanor:  “I could wring Lily’s neck!” But Eleanor hadn’t opened the telegram; and Maurice hoped Jacky would get well—­because “it would be tough on Lily” if he didn’t.  Thus he dismissed his wife.  So long as Lily’s recklessness had not done any harm, it was easy to dismiss her—­so very far had she receded into the dull, patiently-to-be-endured, background of life!

The Eleanor of the next few weeks, who seemed just a little more melancholy and silent than usual, a little more devoted to old Bingo, did not attract his attention in any way.  But when Edith came in on the following Sunday, he had his wife sufficiently on his mind to say, in a quick aside: 

“Edith, don’t give me away on being sort of upset last Sunday night, will you?” (As he spoke, he remembered that swift kiss.  “Nice little Skeezics!” he thought.) But he finished his sentence with perfect matter-of-factness:  “it was just a—­a little personal worry.  I don’t want Eleanor bothered, you understand?”

“Of course,” said Edith, gravely

And so it was that in another month or two, with reliance upon Edith’s discretion, and satisfaction in a recovering Jacky, the track of the tornado in Maurice’s mind was quite covered up with the old, ugly, commonplace of furtive security.  In the security Maurice was conscious, in a kindly way, that poor old Eleanor looked pretty seedy; so he brought her some flowers once in a while; not as often as he would have liked to, for, though he had more money now, eight weeks of a private room in a hospital “kind o’ makes a dent in your income,” Maurice told himself; “but I don’t begrudge it,” he thought; “I’m glad the kid got well.”

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The Vehement Flame from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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