Chapter 15

           "Thefirstbattle,foughtandfinished,"Martinsaidtothelooking-glasstendayslater. "Buttherewillbeasecondbattle,andathirdbattle,andbattlestotheendoftime,unless" 

           Hehadnotfinishedthesentence,butlookedaboutthemeanlittleroomandlethiseyesdwellsadlyuponaheapofreturnedmanuscripts,stillintheirlongenvelopes,whichlayinacorneronthefloor. Hehadnostampswithwhichtocontinuethemontheirtravels,andforaweektheyhadbeenpilingup. Moreofthemwouldcomeinonthemorrow,andonthenextday,andthenext,tilltheywereallin. Andhewouldbeunabletostartthemoutagain. Hewasamonth’srentbehindonthetypewriter,whichhecouldnotpay,havingbarelyenoughfortheweek’sboardwhichwasdueandfortheemploymentofficefees. 

           Hesatdownandregardedthetablethoughtfully. Therewereinkstainsuponit,andhesuddenlydiscoveredthathewasfondofit. 

           "Dearoldtable,"hesaid,"I’vespentsomehappyhourswithyou,andyou’vebeenaprettygoodfriendwhenallissaidanddone. Youneverturnedmedown,neverpassedmeoutareward-of-unmeritrejectionslip,nevercomplainedaboutworkingovertime." 

           Hedroppedhisarmsuponthetableandburiedhisfaceinthem. Histhroatwasaching,andhewantedtocry. Itremindedhimofhisfirstfight,whenhewassixyearsold,whenhepunchedawaywiththetearsrunningdownhischeekswhiletheotherboy,twoyearshiselder,hadbeatenandpoundedhimintoexhaustion. 

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