Chapter 40

           "Overdue"stillcontinuedtolieforgottenonthetable. Everymanuscriptthathehadhadoutnowlayunderthetable. Onlyonemanuscripthekeptgoing,andthatwasBrissenden’s"Ephemera." Hisbicycleandblacksuitwereagaininpawn,andthetype-writerpeoplewereoncemoreworryingabouttherent. Butsuchthingsnolongerbotheredhim. Hewasseekinganeworientation,anduntilthatwasfoundhislifemuststandstill. 

           Afterseveralweeks,whathehadbeenwaitingforhappened. HemetRuthonthestreet. Itwastrue,shewasaccompaniedbyherbrother,Norman,anditwastruethattheytriedtoignorehimandthatNormanattemptedtowavehimaside. 

           "Ifyouinterferewithmysister,I’llcallanofficer,"Normanthreatened. "Shedoesnotwishtospeakwithyou,andyourinsistenceisinsult." 

           "Ifyoupersist,you’llhavetocallthatofficer,andthenyou’llgetyournameinthepapers,"Martinansweredgrimly. "Andnow,getoutofmywayandgettheofficerifyouwantto. I’mgoingtotalkwithRuth." 

           "Iwanttohaveitfromyourownlips,"hesaidtoher. 

           Shewaspaleandtrembling,butsheheldupandlookedinquiringly. 

           "ThequestionIaskedinmyletter,"heprompted. 

           Normanmadeanimpatientmovement,butMartincheckedhimwithaswiftlook. 

           Sheshookherhead. 

           "Isallthisofyourownfreewill?"hedemanded. 

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