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|The Lees Of Happiness||F. Scott Fitzgerald|
|Page 3 of 3||
He reached to the wall for another biscuit and with an effort pulled it out, nail and all. He carefully removed the nail from the centre, wondering idly if he had eaten the nail with the first biscuit. Preposterous! He would have remembered--it was a huge nail. He felt his stomach. He must be very hungry. He considered--remembered--yesterday he had had no dinner. It was the girl's day out and Kitty had lain in her room eating chocolate drops. She had said she felt "smothery" and couldn't bear having him near her. He had given George a bath and put him to bed, and then lain down on the couch intending to rest a minute before getting his own dinner. There he had fallen asleep and awakened about eleven, to find that there was nothing in the ice-box except a spoonful of potato salad. This he had eaten, together with some chocolate drops that he found on Kitty's bureau. This morning he had breakfasted hurriedly down town before going to the office. But at noon, beginning to worry about Kitty, he had decided to go home and take her out to lunch. After that there had been the note on his pillow. The pile of lingerie in the closet was gone--and she had left instructions for sending her trunk.
He had never been so hungry, he thought.
At five o'clock, when the visiting nurse tiptoed down-stairs, he was sitting on the sofa staring at the carpet.
"Oh, Mrs. Curtain won't be able to see you at dinner. She's not well She told me to tell you that the cook will fix you something and that there's a spare bedroom."
"She's sick, you say?"
"She's lying down in her room. The consultation is just over."
"Did they--did they decide anything?"
"Yes," said the nurse softly. "Doctor Jewett says there's no hope. Mr. Curtain may live indefinitely, but he'll never see again or move again or think. He'll just breathe."
For the first time the nurse noted that beside the writing-desk where she remembered that she had seen a line of a dozen curious round objects she had vaguely imagined to be some exotic form of decoration, there was now only one. Where the others had been, there was now a series of little nail-holes.
Harry followed her glance dazedly and then rose to his feet.
"I don't believe I'll stay. I believe there's a train."
She nodded. Harry picked up his hat.
"Good-by," she said pleasantly.
"Good-by," he answered, as though talking to himself and, evidently moved by some involuntary necessity, he paused on his way to the door and she saw him pluck the last object from the wall and drop it into his pocket.
Then he opened the screen door and, descending the porch steps, passed out of her sight.
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|The Lees Of Happiness
F. Scott Fitzgerald
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