Books Should Be Free
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Literary Love-Letters and Other Stories   By: (1868-1938)

Book cover

First Page:






G. H. P.




( Eastlake has renewed an episode of his past life. The formalities have been satisfied at a chance meeting, and he continues .)

... So your carnations lie over there, a bit beyond this page, in a confusion of manuscripts. Sweet source of this idle letter and gentle memento of the house on Grant Street and of you! I fancy I catch their odor before it escapes generously into the vague darkness beyond my window. They whisper: "Be tender, be frank; recall to her mind what is precious in the past. For departed delights are rosy with deceitful hopes, and a woman's heart becomes heavy with living. We are the woman you once knew, but we are much more. We have learned new secrets, new emotions, new ambitions, in love we are fuller than before." So for to morrow they will be shrivelled and lifeless I take up their message to night.

I see you now as this afternoon at the Goodriches', when you came in triumphantly to essay that hot room of empty, passive folk. Someone was singing somewhere, and we were staring at one another. There you stood at the door, placing us; the roses, scattered in plutocratic profusion, had drooped their heads to our hot faces. We turned from the music to you . You knew it, and you were glad of it. You knew that they were busy about you, that you and your amiable hostess made an effective group at the head of the room. You scented their possible disapproval with zest, for you had so often mocked their good will with impunity that you were serenely confident of getting what you wanted. Did you want a lover? Not that I mean to offer myself in flesh and blood: God forbid that I should join the imploring procession, even at a respectful distance! My pen is at your service. I prefer to be your historian, your literary maid half slave, half confidant; for then you will always welcome me. If I were a lover, I might some day be inopportune. That would not be pleasant.

Yes, they were chattering about you, especially around the table where some solid ladies of Chicago served iced drinks. I was sipping it all in with the punch, and looking at the pinks above the dark hair, and wondering if you found having your own way as good fun as when you were eighteen. You have gained, my dear lady, while I have been knocking about the world. You are now more than "sweet": you are almost handsome. I suppose it is a question of lights and the time of day whether or not you are really brilliant. And you carry surety in your face. There is nothing in Chicago to startle you, perhaps not in the world.

She at the punch remarked, casually, to her of the sherbet: "I wonder when Miss Armstrong will settle matters with Lane? It is the best she can do now, though he isn't as well worth while as the men she threw over." And her neighbor replied: "She might do worse than Lane. She could get more from him than the showy ones." So Lane is the name of the day. They have gauged you and put you down at Lane. I took an ice and waited but you will have to supply the details.

Meantime, you sailed on, with that same everlasting enthusiasm upon your face that I knew six years ago, until you spied me. How extremely natural you made your greeting! I confess I believed that I had lived for that smile six years, and suffered a bad noise for the sound of your voice. It seemed but a minute until we found ourselves almost alone with the solid women at the ices. One swift phrase from you, and we had slipped back through the meaningless years till we stood there in the parlor at Grant Street, mere boy and girl. The babbling room vanished for a few golden moments. Then you rustled off, and I believe I told Mrs. Goodrich that musicales were very nice, for they gave you a chance to talk. And I went to the dressing room, wondering what rare chance had brought me again within the bondage of that voice... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books