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Martin Eden 125

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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

oil. But you know my opinion on the reviewers and the alleged critics. There are great critics, but they are as rare as comets. If I fail as a writer, I shall have proved for the career of editorship. Theres bread and butter and jam, at any rate." Ruths mind was quick, and her disapproval of her lovers views was buttressed by the contradiction she found in his contention. "But, Martin, if that be so, if all the doors are closed as you have shown so conclusively, how is it possible that any of the great writers ever arrived?" "They arrived by achieving the impossible," he answered. "They did such blazing, glorious work as to burn to ashes those that opposed them. They arrived by course of miracle, by winning a thousand-to-one wager against them. They arrived because they were Carlyles battle-scarred giants who will not be kept down. And that is what I must do; I must achieve the impossible." "But if you fail? You must consider me as well, Martin." "If I fail?" He regarded her for a moment as though the thought she had uttered was unthinkable. Then intelligence illumined his eyes. "If I fail, I shall become an editor, and you will be an editors wife." She frowned at his facetiousness--a pretty, adorable frown that made him put his arm around her and kiss it away. "There, thats enough," she urged, by an effort of will withdrawing herself from the fascination of his strength. "I have talked with father and mother. I never before asserted myself so against them. I demanded to be heard. I was very undutiful. They are against you, you know; but I assured them over and over of my abiding love for you, and at last father agreed that if you wanted to, you could begin right away in his office. And then, of his own accord, he said he would pay you enough at the start so that we could get married and have a little cottage somewhere. Which I think was very fine of him--dont you?" Martin, with the dull pain of despair at his heart, mechanically reaching for the tobacco and paper (which he no longer carried) to roll a cigarette, muttered something inarticulate, and Ruth went on. "Frankly, though, and dont let it hurt you--I tell you, to show you precisely how you stand with him--he doesnt like your radical views, and he thinks you are lazy. Of course I know you are not. I know you work hard." How hard, even she did not know, was the thought in Martins mind. "Well, then," he said, "how about my views? Do you think they are so radical?" He held her eyes and waited the answer. "I think them, well, very disconcerting," she replied. The question was answered for him, and so oppressed was he by the grayness of life that he forgot the tentative proposition she had made for him to go to work. And she, having gone as far as she dared, was willing to wait the answer till she should bring the question up again. She had not long to wait. Martin had a question of his own to propound to her. He wanted to ascertain the measure of her faith in him, and within the week each was answered. Martin precipitated it by reading to her his "The Shame of the Sun." "Why dont you become a reporter?" she asked when he had finished. "You love writing so, and I am sure you would succeed. You could rise in journalism and make a name for yourself. There are a number of great special correspondents. Their salaries are large, and their field is the world. They are sent everywhere, to the heart of Africa, like Stanley, or to interview the Pope, or to explore unknown Thibet." "Then you dont like my essay?" he rejoined. "You believe that I have some show in journalism but none in literature?" "No, no; I do like it. It reads well. But I am afraid its over the heads of your readers. At least it is over mine. It sounds beautiful, but I dont understand it. Your scientific slang is beyond me. You are an extremist, you know, dear, and what may be intelligible to you may not be intelligible to the rest of us." "I

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