Thursday, July 8, 2010
Excerpt from "Oil!"
Excerpt from Upton Sinclair's "Oil!"
~ He had a sudden fit of desperation; and instead of the particular kind of embrace which has to do with dancing, he put his arms about her in a way that made it impossible for her to dance. This was a crude procedure, no credit to junior classman and leader of fashion in a high-toned universtiy. Bunny knew it, and was in a panic. She would not understand - she would be angry, and send him away! But no, she was not angry; and somehow, she was able to understand. There is an old saying, that fingers were made before forks, and in the same way it is true that embraces wre made a long time before words. Bunny became aware that his clasp was being returned - and by a pair of capable arms, that were able to hold a girl upside down in the air and carry her into the surf! It was all right!
"Oh, Vee!" he whispered. "Then you do care for me!" Her lips met his, and they stood there in the moonlight, locked together, while the organ music rose to a shout.
"Vee, I was so scared!" And she laughed. "You silly boy!" But suddenly she drew back her head. "Bunny, I want to talk to you. There's something I must say. Let me go, and sit down, please - no, in that chair over there! I want us to talk quietly."
There was fear in her voice, and he did what she asked. "What is it Vee?"
"I want us to be sensible, and know what we're doing. It seems to me hardly anybody I know can be happy in love, and I swore to God I never would get into it again."
"You'll have to get a new God!" Bunny had managed to recover the use of his tongue.
"I want us to promise to be happy! Any time we can't be happy, let's quit, and not have any fuss! Let's be sensible, and not go crazy with jealousy, and torment each other."
"You'll be a plenty for me," declared Bunny. "I surely won't make you jealous!"
"You don't know what you'll do! Nobody ever knows! It's the devil's own business - oh, you've no idea what I've seen, Bunny! You're nothing but a babe in arms."
"You'll be good to me, Vee, and raise me up!" "How do you know what I'll do? How do you know anything about me? You want me, without really knowing what I am or what I'll do! I could have told you a million lies, and how would you have known? The next woman that comes along will tell you a million and one, and how will you know about her?"
"That's too easy, Vee - you'll tell me!" He sank down on his knees before her, and took one of her hands, intending to comfort her; but she pushed away.
"No, I don't want you to do that. I want you to think about what I'm saying. I want us to decide in cold blood."
"You make my blood cold," he laughed, "telling about the vamps of Hollywood!"
"Bunny, a man and a woman ought to tell each other the truth - all the time. They ought to trust each other that much, no matter how much it hurts. Isn't that so?"
"You bet it's so."
"If that means they give each other up, all right - but they've no business holding each other by lies. Will you make that bargain, Bunny?"
"And I want you to know, I don't want any of your money."
"I haven't got any money, Vee - It's all Dad's. That is the first painful truth." "Well, I don't want it. I've got my own, and I'll take care of myself. I've got a job, and you'll have yours, and we'll let each other alone, and meet when it makes both of us happy."
"That's too easy for a man, Vee!" "It'll be a game, and those are the rules, and if we break the rules, it's cheating."
Bunny could assure her that he had never cheated in a game, and would not cheat in this one. So he overcame her fears, and she was in his arms again, and they were exchanging those ravishing kisses, of which for a time it seems impossible ever to have enough. Presently she whispered, "Some one will come out here, Bunny. Let me go in, and I'll dance a bit, and then make my excuses and get away, and you come up to my room."