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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesO Pioneers! - PART II - Neighboring Fields - Chapter 12
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O Pioneers! - PART II - Neighboring Fields - Chapter 12 Post by :cajunwillie Category :Long Stories Author :Willa Cather Date :March 2011 Read :3215

Click below to download : O Pioneers! - PART II - Neighboring Fields - Chapter 12 (Format : PDF)

O Pioneers! - PART II - Neighboring Fields - Chapter 12

Carl came into the sitting-room while Alexandra was lighting the
lamp. She looked up at him as she adjusted the shade. His sharp
shoulders stooped as if he were very tired, his face was pale,
and there were bluish shadows under his dark eyes. His anger had
burned itself out and left him sick and disgusted.

"You have seen Lou and Oscar?" Alexandra asked.

"Yes." His eyes avoided hers.

Alexandra took a deep breath. "And now you are going away. I
thought so."

Carl threw himself into a chair and pushed the dark lock back
from his forehead with his white, nervous hand. "What a hopeless
position you are in, Alexandra!" he exclaimed feverishly. "It is
your fate to be always surrounded by little men. And I am no better
than the rest. I am too little to face the criticism of even such
men as Lou and Oscar. Yes, I am going away; to-morrow. I cannot
even ask you to give me a promise until I have something to offer
you. I thought, perhaps, I could do that; but I find I can't."

"What good comes of offering people things they don't need?"
Alexandra asked sadly. "I don't need money. But I have needed
you for a great many years. I wonder why I have been permitted to
prosper, if it is only to take my friends away from me."

"I don't deceive myself," Carl said frankly. "I know that I am
going away on my own account. I must make the usual effort. I
must have something to show for myself. To take what you would
give me, I should have to be either a very large man or a very
small one, and I am only in the middle class."

Alexandra sighed. "I have a feeling that if you go away, you will
not come back. Something will happen to one of us, or to both.
People have to snatch at happiness when they can, in this world.
It is always easier to lose than to find. What I have is yours,
if you care enough about me to take it."

Carl rose and looked up at the picture of John Bergson. "But I
can't, my dear, I can't! I will go North at once. Instead of idling
about in California all winter, I shall be getting my bearings up
there. I won't waste another week. Be patient with me, Alexandra.
Give me a year!"

"As you will," said Alexandra wearily. "All at once, in a single
day, I lose everything; and I do not know why. Emil, too, is going
away." Carl was still studying John Bergson's face and Alexandra's
eyes followed his. "Yes," she said, "if he could have seen all
that would come of the task he gave me, he would have been sorry.
I hope he does not see me now. I hope that he is among the old
people of his blood and country, and that tidings do not reach him
from the New World."

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Winter has settled down over the Divide again; the season inwhich Nature recuperates, in which she sinks to sleep between thefruitfulness of autumn and the passion of spring. The birds havegone. The teeming life that goes on down in the long grass isexterminated. The prairie-dog keeps his hole. The rabbits runshivering from one frozen garden patch to another and are hard putto it to find frost-bitten cabbage-stalks. At night the coyotesroam the wintry waste, howling for food. The variegated fieldsare all one color now; the pastures, the stubble, the roads, thesky are the same leaden
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Emil came home at about half-past seven o'clock that evening. OldIvar met him at the windmill and took his horse, and the youngman went directly into the house. He called to his sister and sheanswered from her bedroom, behind the sitting-room, saying thatshe was lying down.Emil went to her door."Can I see you for a minute?" he asked. "I want to talk to youabout something before Carl comes."Alexandra rose quickly and came to the door. "Where is Carl?""Lou and Oscar met us and said they wanted to talk to him, so herode over to Oscar's with them.
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