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The boy gasped. How could that man know him, know his name. What was he to do? He wished he had never known about this thing, had never followed this man and had never got into this situation. Controlling himself, he asked, “What is my family name?”
The Arabs told me I could reach the N’yanza in fifteen to seventeen marches, and I returned in sixteen, although I had to take a circuitous line instead of a direct one. The provisions, too, just held out. I took a supply for six weeks, and completed that time this day. The total road-distance there and back is 452 miles, which, admitting that the Arabs make sixteen marches of it, gives them a marching rate of more than fourteen miles a — day.
"Very well, then. What you must do is to look about you, and pick carefully three men on whom you can rely. Divide your signed stuff between these three men. They will receive your copy, sign it with their own names, and see that it gets to wherever you want to send it. As far as the editorial world is concerned, and as far as the public is concerned, they will become actually the authors of the manuscripts which you have prepared for them to sign. They will forward you the cheques when they arrive, and keep accounts to which you will have access. I suppose you will have to pay them a commission on a scale to be fixed by mutual arrangement. As regards your unsigned work, there is nothing to prevent your doing that yourself--'On Your Way,' I mean, whenever there's any holiday work going: general articles, and light verse. I say, though, half a moment."
The field was full of buttercups up to the very churchyard walls. "I must get away by myself for a bit," Lavendar thought. "That boy's chatter will drive me mad." At this point Carnaby's volatile attention was diverted by the sight of a gardener mounting a ladder to clear the sparrows' nests from the water chutes, and he jumped up in a twinkling to take his part in this new joy. Lavendar rose, and strolled off with his hands in his pockets and his bare head bent. The grass he walked in was a very Field of the Cloth of Gold. His shoes were gilded by the pollen from the buttercups, his eyes dazzled by their colour; it was a relief to pass through the stone archway that led into the little churchyard. To his spirit at that moment the chill was refreshing. He loitered about for a few minutes, and then seeing that the door was open, he entered the church, closing the door gently behind him.
Upper west siders look down their noses at the poorly versed ?Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats!? Rufus Humphrey bellowed as he delivered a platter of sizzling sausages with rum-roasted apples and bananas to the table. Jenny had made her dad feel so guilty for being out the day before when she'd brought Leo home that Rufus had insisted she invite Leo and Elise over for dinner the next night. Not that Rufus was out to impress his houseguests: As usual, he was wearing a food-stained white undershirt and his favorite pair of cigarette-burned, saggy-assed gray sweatpants. His curly gray hair and monstrous gray eyebrows stuck out at odd angles from his stubbly face, and his mouth and teeth were stained red from wine. ?We'd better sit down,? Jenny said, clicking off the TV in the library and grinning at Leo. ?Now you get to taste Dad's weird food. Be careful,? she warned. ?He puts alcohol in everything.? Leo looked at his watch. Then he stuck his hands in his jeans pockets and pulled them out again. He seemed nervous. ?Okay.? ?Her dad isn't as scary as he looks,? Elise said. She tucked her feet into her pink J. Crew clogs and clomped out into the dining room, as if she'd lived at Jenny's house all her life. Dan met them at the creaky dining room table. He was reading from a copy ofRed Letter and didn't even look up when his dad slapped a whole banana and a maimed-looking sausage on his plate. Once everyone was served, Rufus filled his wineglass to the rim and held it in the air. ?Now for a little poetry game!? Dan and Jenny rolled their eyes at each other across the table. Normally Jenny didn't mind her dad's little pop quizzes, games, and lectures, but with Leo there, it was just too embarrassing. ?Dad,? she whined. Why couldn't he be normal just this once? Rufus ignored her. ?Where are we going, Walt Whitman? / The doors close in an hour. / Which way does your beard point tonight?!? He directed a sausage-fat-greased finger at Leo. ?Name that poet!? ?Dad!? Jenny rattled the decaying wooden dining-room table in protest. Everything in the Humphreys' sprawling four-bedroom Ninety-ninth Street and West End Avenue apartment was decaying. But what could you expect when they had no mother and no maid to clean up after them? ?Oh, come on. That's an easy one!? Rufus roared at Leo. The vinyl record he'd put on before he brought out the food suddenly kicked in, and the strange, high-pitched Peruvian yodelings of Yma Sumac filled the room. Rufus poured himself another glass of wine, waiting expectantly for an answer. Leo smiled politely. ?Um ? I'm not sure if I know. ?? Dan leaned over and whispered loudly in Leo's ear, ?Allen Ginsberg. ?A Supermarket in California.? Easy.? Jenny kicked her brother's foot under the table. Did he have to be such a wiseass? Rufus gritted his teeth. ?But I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep,? he challenged, his muddy brown eyes bulging as they stared Leo down. Leo's blond hair looked almost translucent as he withered under Rufus's relentless gaze. ?Um ?? ?Dad!? Jenny cried for the third time. ?God.? She knew her father was only trying to do his wild-and-wonderful-dad bit, overcompensating for six other nights that week when she and Dan had eaten takeout in front of the TV, but didn't he get the hint that poetry was not Leo's thing? ?Well, even I know that one,? Elise piped up. ?Robert Frost. ?Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.? I had to memorize it in eighth grade.? She turned to Dan. ?See, I kind of do know something about poetry.? Rufus speared a bratwurst and slapped it onto Leo's cracked blue plate. ?Where do you go to school, anyway?? Leo wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. ?Smale. The Smale School, sir.? His eyes darted across the table to Jenny, who smiled encouragingly. ?Hmm,? Rufus responded, picking up a sausage in his fingers and biting it in half. He washed the bite down with a gulp of wine. ?Never heard of it.? ?It specializes in the arts,? Dan said. ?And poetry isn't an art?? Rufus demanded. Jenny couldn't eat. She was too mad at her dad. Normally, he was kind of nice in a gruff and grumpy kind of way. Why did he have to go and be so mean to Leo? ?So, a job atRed Letter ,? Rufus said, raising his glass to Dan. ?I still can't believe it.? Rufus had a trunk full of unread, unfinished poems in his home office, and although he was an editor himself, he had never been published. Now Dan was having the writing career he'd never had. ?'Atta boy!? he growled. ?Just don't start talking in phony accents like all those other bastards.? Dan frowned, remembering Siegfried Castle's difficult-to-understand German accent. It had sounded pretty authentic to him. ?What do you mean?? Rufus chuckled as he dug into a banana. ?You'll see. Anyhow, I'm proud of you, kid. You keep this up, you'll be poet laureate by the time you're twenty.? All of a sudden, Leo stood up abruptly. ?Excuse me. I have to go.? ?No!? Jenny jumped to her feet. She'd imagined they'd eat quickly and then Elise would leave and she and Leo would go into her room and kiss for a while and maybe do their homework together. She might even paint his portrait if he let her. ?Please stay.? ?Sorry, Jenny.? Leo turned to Rufus and held his hand out stiffly. ?It was nice to meet you, Mr. Humphrey. Thanks for the delicious dinner.? Rufus waved his fork in the air. ?Don't get too used to it, son. Most of the time we eat Chinese.? That was true. Rufus's idea of grocery shopping was to buy wine, cigarettes, and toilet paper. Jenny and Dan would have been malnourished if they hadn't been able to order in. Jenny escorted Leo to the door. ?Are you okay?? she asked worriedly. Leo grinned his shy, cracked-tooth grin and smiled down at her from his great height. ?Yeah, I just thought we'd eat a little earlier. I need to get home and?? He stopped, frowning as he wound a brand-new-looking red-and-black cashmere scarf around his neck.Burberry, the tag on the scarf read. Jenny had never seen him wear it before. ?I'll e-mail you later,? he added before disappearing down the hall to catch the elevator. Jenny went back to the table, and Rufus raised his bushy eyebrows at her bemusedly. ?Was it something I said?? Jenny glared back at him. She had no idea why Leo had left so suddenly, but blaming her dad was the easiest solution. ?Oh, come on, Jen,? her father continued heartlessly. ?So he's not the sharpest tool in the box. He'll probably make a good boyfriend, though.? She stood up. ?I'm going to my room.? ?Do you want me to come?? Elise offered. Jenny thought Elise looked pretty happy sitting next to Dan and talking about poetry. She'd even helped herself to a glass of wine. ?No, that's okay,? she mumbled. All she really wanted was to lie facedown on her bed and ruminate over Leo, alone. Elise took a sip of her wine. ?I should go in a minute, anyway.? She glanced sideways at Dan while still looking at Jenny, as if to say,So, guess what? I really like your brother. ?I'm thinking of writing a poem when I get home.?
He spoke, and his voice came clogged and painful as though it urged from the matted pores of the earth itself.
1.Willoughby. “My lord, I have been under the same circumstances myself, when I was a girl . . . I flew over them all . . . one held me by one arm, another by the other, and another behind, and I flew sheer over their heads.”
2.“Whatever will please you will please me, ma’am,” said her companion, and he went into the little house.>
For himself, he kept to his black, but his doublet was of velvet, as was the cloak which he now took down, to which he added a heavy gold chain, which so became his gentle face and venerable beard that in my eyes he looked as if he should be always dressed in this fashion. And in the midst of it all I remembered that this was the man to whom I had offered money for a meal, and I was overcome with shame. I suppose he perceived my thought, for he engaged us in talk at once about the festa until my confusion passed off. It seemed mighty strange to us, who had seen Jews so contemned in other places, and heard such stories of their wickedness and cruelty, to listen to one whom we had lately seen so despised and put upon talking as if a festa were his every-day affair, and our appearance the most particular concern he had on hand.