Chapter 41

           Hesleptheavilyallnight,anddidnotstiruntilarousedbythepostmanonhismorninground. Martinfelttiredandpassive,andwentthroughhislettersaimlessly. Onethinenvelope,fromarobbermagazine,containedfortwenty-twodollars. Hehadbeendunningforitforayearandahalf. Henoteditsamountapathetically. Theold-timethrillatreceivingapublisher’scheckwasgone. Unlikehisearlierchecks,thisonewasnotpregnantwithpromiseofgreatthingstocome. Tohimitwasacheckfortwenty-twodollars,thatwasall,anditwouldbuyhimsomethingtoeat. 

           Anothercheckwasinthesamemail,sentfromaNewYorkweeklyinpaymentforsomehumorousversewhichhadbeenacceptedmonthsbefore. Itwasfortendollars. Anideacametohim,whichhecalmlyconsidered. Hedidnotknowwhathewasgoingtodo,andhefeltinnohurrytodoanything. Inthemeantimehemustlive. Alsoheowednumerousdebts. Woulditnotbeapayinginvestmenttoputstampsonthehugepileofmanuscriptsunderthetableandstartthemontheirtravelsagain? Oneortwoofthemmightbeaccepted. Thatwouldhelphimtolive. Hedecidedontheinvestment,and,afterhehadcashedthechecksatthebankdowninOakland,heboughttendollars’worthofpostagestamps. Thethoughtofgoinghometocookbreakfastinhisstuffylittleroomwasrepulsivetohim. Forthefirsttimeherefusedtoconsiderhisdebts. Heknewthatinhisroomhecouldmanufactureasubstantialbreakfastatacostoffromfifteentotwentycents. 

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