Arms and the Woman (Chapter 2, page 1 of 14)


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Chapter 2

In my bedroom the next morning there was a sad and heavy heart. The
owner woke up, stared at the ceiling, then at the sun-baked bricks
beyond his window. He saw not the glory of the sun and the heavens.
To his eyes there was nothing poetic in the flash of the distant
church-spires against the billowy cloudbanks. The gray doves, circling
about the chimneys, did not inspire him, nor the twittering of the
sparrows on the window ledge. There was nothing at all in the world
but a long stretch of barren, lonely years. And he wondered how,
without her at his side, he ever could traverse them. He was driftwood
again. He had built upon sands as usual, and the tide had come in; his
castle was flotsam and jetsam. He was drifting, and he didn't care
where. He was very sorry for himself, and he had the blue devils the
worst kind of way. Finally he crawled out of bed and dressed because
it had to be done. He was not particularly painstaking with the
procedure. It mattered not what collar became him best, and he picked
up a tie at random. A man generally dresses for a certain woman's
approval, and when that is no longer to be gained he grows indifferent.
The other women do not count.

My breakfast consisted of a cup of coffee; and as the generous nectar
warmed my veins my thoughts took a philosophical turn. It is fate who
writes the was, the is, and the shall be. We have a proverb for every
joy and misfortune. It is the only consolation fate gives us. It is
like a conqueror asking the vanquished to witness the looting. All
roads lead to Rome, and all proverbs are merely sign posts by which we
pursue our destinies. And how was I to get to Rome? I knew not. Hope
is better than clairvoyance.

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