Full Online Books
BOOK CATEGORIES
Authors Authors Short Stories Short Stories Long Stories Long Stories Funny Stories Funny Stories Love Stories Love Stories Stories For Kids Stories For Kids Poems Poems Essays Essays Nonfictions Nonfictions Plays Plays Folktales Folktales Fairy Tales Fairy Tales Fables Fables Learning Kitchen Learning Kitchen
LINKS
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Free Classified Website Without Registration Free Classified Website Daniel Company
Twitter Twitter Add book
donate
Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Call Of The Canyon - Chapter 8
Famous Authors (View All Authors)
The Call Of The Canyon - Chapter 8 Post by :Dusty13 Category :Long Stories Author :Zane Grey Date :May 2012 Read :2587

Click below to download : The Call Of The Canyon - Chapter 8 (Format : PDF)

The Call Of The Canyon - Chapter 8

CHAPTER VIII

At Flagstaff, where Carley arrived a few minutes before train time, she
was too busily engaged with tickets and baggage to think of herself
or of the significance of leaving Arizona. But as she walked into the
Pullman she overheard a passenger remark, "Regular old Arizona sunset,"
and that shook her heart. Suddenly she realized she had come to love the
colorful sunsets, to watch and wait for them. And bitterly she thought
how that was her way to learn the value of something when it was gone.

The jerk and start of the train affected her with singular depressing
shock. She had burned her last bridge behind her. Had she unconsciously
hoped for some incredible reversion of Glenn's mind or of her own? A
sense of irreparable loss flooded over her--the first check to shame and
humiliation.

From her window she looked out to the southwest. Somewhere across the
cedar and pine-greened uplands lay Oak Creek Canyon, going to sleep in
its purple and gold shadows of sunset. Banks of broken clouds hung to
the horizon, like continents and islands and reefs set in a turquoise
sea. Shafts of sunlight streaked down through creamy-edged and
purple-centered clouds. Vast flare of gold dominated the sunset
background.

When the train rounded a curve Carley's strained vision became filled
with the upheaved bulk of the San Francisco Mountains. Ragged gray
grass slopes and green forests on end, and black fringed sky lines, all
pointed to the sharp clear peaks spearing the sky. And as she watched,
the peaks slowly flushed with sunset hues, and the sky flared golden,
and the strength of the eternal mountains stood out in sculptured
sublimity. Every day for two months and more Carley had watched these
peaks, at all hours, in every mood; and they had unconsciously become a
part of her thought. The train was relentlessly whirling her eastward.
Soon they must become a memory. Tears blurred her sight. Poignant regret
seemed added to the anguish she was suffering. Why had she not learned
sooner to see the glory of the mountains, to appreciate the beauty and
solitude? Why had she not understood herself?

The next day through New Mexico she followed magnificent ranges and
valleys--so different from the country she had seen coming West--so
supremely beautiful that she wondered if she had only acquired the
harvest of a seeing eye.

But it was at sunset of the following clay, when the train was speeding
down the continental slope of prairie land beyond the Rockies, that the
West took its ruthless revenge.

Masses of strange cloud and singular light upon the green prairie, and a
luminosity in the sky, drew Carley to the platform of her car, which was
the last of the train. There she stood, gripping the iron gate, feeling
the wind whip her hair and the iron-tracked ground speed from under her,
spellbound and stricken at the sheer wonder and glory of the firmament,
and the mountain range that it canopied so exquisitely.

A rich and mellow light, singularly clear, seemed to flood out of some
unknown source. For the sun was hidden. The clouds just above
Carley hung low, and they were like thick, heavy smoke, mushrooming,
coalescing, forming and massing, of strange yellow cast of nature. It
shaded westward into heliotrope and this into a purple so royal, so
matchless and rare that Carley understood why the purple of the heavens
could never be reproduced in paint. Here the cloud mass thinned and
paled, and a tint of rose began to flush the billowy, flowery, creamy
white. Then came the surpassing splendor of this cloud pageant--a vast
canopy of shell pink, a sun-fired surface like an opal sea, rippled
and webbed, with the exquisite texture of an Oriental fabric, pure,
delicate, lovely--as no work of human hands could be. It mirrored all
the warm, pearly tints of the inside whorl of the tropic nautilus. And
it ended abruptly, a rounded depth of bank, on a broad stream of clear
sky, intensely blue, transparently blue, as if through the lambent
depths shone the infinite firmament. The lower edge of this stream
took the golden lightning of the sunset and was notched for all its
horizon-long length by the wondrous white glistening-peaked range of the
Rockies. Far to the north, standing aloof from the range, loomed up the
grand black bulk and noble white dome of Pikes Peak.

Carley watched the sunset transfiguration of cloud and sky and mountain
until all were cold and gray. And then she returned to her seat,
thoughtful and sad, feeling that the West had mockingly flung at her one
of its transient moments of loveliness.

Nor had the West wholly finished with her. Next day the mellow gold of
the Kansas wheat fields, endless and boundless as a sunny sea, rich,
waving in the wind, stretched away before her aching eyes for hours
and hours. Here was the promise fulfilled, the bountiful harvest of the
land, the strength of the West. The great middle state had a heart of
gold.

East of Chicago Carley began to feel that the long days and nights of
riding, the ceaseless turning of the wheels, the constant and wearing
stress of emotion, had removed her an immeasurable distance of miles and
time and feeling from the scene of her catastrophe. Many days seemed to
have passed. Many had been the hours of her bitter regret and anguish.

Indiana and Ohio, with their green pastoral farms, and numberless
villages, and thriving cities, denoted a country far removed and
different from the West, and an approach to the populous East. Carley
felt like a wanderer coming home. She was restlessly and impatiently
glad. But her weariness of body and mind, and the close atmosphere of
the car, rendered her extreme discomfort. Summer had laid its hot hand
on the low country east of the Mississippi.

Carley had wired her aunt and two of her intimate friends to meet her at
the Grand Central Station. This reunion soon to come affected Carley
in recurrent emotions of relief, gladness, and shame. She did not sleep
well, and arose early, and when the train reached Albany she felt that
she could hardly endure the tedious hours. The majestic Hudson and the
palatial mansions on the wooded bluffs proclaimed to Carley that she was
back in the East. How long a time seemed to have passed! Either she was
not the same or the aspect of everything had changed. But she believed
that as soon as she got over the ordeal of meeting her friends, and was
home again, she would soon see things rationally.

At last the train sheered away from the broad Hudson and entered
the environs of New York. Carley sat perfectly still, to all outward
appearances a calm, superbly-poised New York woman returning home,
but inwardly raging with contending tides. In her own sight she was a
disgraceful failure, a prodigal sneaking back to the ease and protection
of loyal friends who did not know her truly. Every familiar landmark
in the approach to the city gave her a thrill, yet a vague unsatisfied
something lingered after each sensation.

Then the train with rush and roar crossed the Harlem River to enter New
York City. As one waking from a dream Carley saw the blocks and squares
of gray apartment houses and red buildings, the miles of roofs and
chimneys, the long hot glaring streets full of playing children and
cars. Then above the roar of the train sounded the high notes of a
hurdy-gurdy. Indeed she was home. Next to startle her was the dark
tunnel, and then the slowing of the train to a stop. As she walked
behind a porter up the long incline toward the station gate her legs
seemed to be dead.

In the circle of expectant faces beyond the gate she saw her aunt's,
eager and agitated, then the handsome pale face of Eleanor Harmon, and
beside her the sweet thin one of Beatrice Lovell. As they saw her how
quick the change from expectancy to joy! It seemed they all rushed upon
her, and embraced her, and exclaimed over her together. Carley never
recalled what she said. But her heart was full.

"Oh, how perfectly stunning you look!" cried Eleanor, backing away from
Carley and gazing with glad, surprised eyes.

"Carley!" gasped Beatrice. "You wonderful golden-skinned goddess!...
You're young again, like you were in our school days."

It was before Aunt Mary's shrewd, penetrating, loving gaze that Carley
quailed.

"Yes, Carley, you look well--better than I ever saw you, but--but--"

"But I don't look happy," interrupted Carley. "I am happy to get
home--to see you all... But--my--my heart is broken!"

A little shocked silence ensued, then Carley found herself being led
across the lower level and up the wide stairway. As she mounted to the
vast-domed cathedral-like chamber of the station a strange sensation
pierced her with a pang. Not the old thrill of leaving New York or
returning! Nor was it the welcome sight of the hurrying, well-dressed
throng of travelers and commuters, nor the stately beauty of the
station. Carley shut her eyes, and then she knew. The dim light of vast
space above, the looming gray walls, shadowy with tracery of figures,
the lofty dome like the blue sky, brought back to her the walls of Oak
Creek Canyon and the great caverns under the ramparts. As suddenly as
she had shut her eyes Carley opened them to face her friends.

"Let me get it over--quickly," she burst out, with hot blood surging
to her face. "I--I hated the West. It was so raw--so violent--so big.
I think I hate it more--now.... But it changed me--made me over
physically--and did something to my soul--God knows what.... And it has
saved Glenn. Oh! he is wonderful! You would never know him.... For long
I had not the courage to tell him I came to bring him back East. I kept
putting it off. And I rode, I climbed, I camped, I lived outdoors. At
first it nearly killed me. Then it grew bearable, and easier, until I
forgot. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit now that somehow I had a
wonderful time, in spite of all.... Glenn's business is raising hogs. He
has a hog ranch. Doesn't it sound sordid? But things are not always
what they sound--or seem. Glenn is absorbed in his work. I hated it--I
expected to ridicule it. But I ended by infinitely respecting him. I
learned through his hog-raising the real nobility of work.... Well, at
last I found courage to ask him when he was coming back to New York. He
said 'never!'... I realized then my blindness, my selfishness. I could
not be his wife and live there. I could not. I was too small, too
miserable, too comfort-loving--too spoiled. And all the time he knew
this--knew I'd never be big enough to marry him.... That broke my heart.
I left him free--and here I am.... I beg you--don't ask me any more--and
never to mention it to me--so I can forget."

The tender unspoken sympathy of women who loved her proved comforting
in that trying hour. With the confession ruthlessly made the hard
compression in Carley's breast subsided, and her eyes cleared of a
hateful dimness. When they reached the taxi stand outside the station
Carley felt a rush of hot devitalized air from the street. She seemed
not to be able to get air into her lungs.

"Isn't it dreadfully hot?" she asked.

"This is a cool spell to what we had last week," replied Eleanor.

"Cool!" exclaimed Carley, as she wiped her moist face. "I wonder if you
Easterners know the real significance of words."

Then they entered a taxi, to be whisked away apparently through a
labyrinthine maze of cars and streets, where pedestrians had to run
and jump for their lives. A congestion of traffic at Fifth Avenue and
Forty-second Street halted their taxi for a few moments, and here in
the thick of it Carley had full assurance that she was back in the
metropolis. Her sore heart eased somewhat at sight of the streams of
people passing to and fro. How they rushed! Where were they going? What
was their story? And all the while her aunt held her hand, and Beatrice
and Eleanor talked as fast as their tongues could wag. Then the taxi
clattered on up the Avenue, to turn down a side street and presently
stop at Carley's home. It was a modest three-story brown-stone house.
Carley had been so benumbed by sensations that she did not imagine
she could experience a new one. But peering out of the taxi, she gazed
dubiously at the brownish-red stone steps and front of her home.

"I'm going to have it painted," she muttered, as if to herself.

Her aunt and her friends laughed, glad and relieved to hear such
a practical remark from Carley. How were they to divine that this
brownish-red stone was the color of desert rocks and canyon walls?

In a few more moments Carley was inside the house, feeling a sense of
protection in the familiar rooms that had been her home for seventeen
years. Once in the sanctity of her room, which was exactly as she had
left it, her first action was to look in the mirror at her weary, dusty,
heated face. Neither the brownness of it nor the shadow appeared to
harmonize with the image of her that haunted the mirror.

"Now!" she whispered low. "It's done. I'm home. The old life--or a new
life? How to meet either. Now!"

Thus she challenged her spirit. And her intelligence rang at her the
imperative necessity for action, for excitement, for effort that left no
time for rest or memory or wakefulness. She accepted the issue. She was
glad of the stern fight ahead of her. She set her will and steeled her
heart with all the pride and vanity and fury of a woman who had been
defeated but who scorned defeat. She was what birth and breeding and
circumstance had made her. She would seek what the old life held.

What with unpacking and chatting and telephoning and lunching, the day
soon passed. Carley went to dinner with friends and later to a
roof garden. The color and light, the gayety and music, the news
of acquaintances, the humor of the actors--all, in fact, except the
unaccustomed heat and noise, were most welcome and diverting. That night
she slept the sleep of weariness.

Awakening early, she inaugurated a habit of getting up at once, instead
of lolling in bed, and breakfasting there, and reading her mail, as had
been her wont before going West. Then she went over business matters
with her aunt, called on her lawyer and banker, took lunch with Rose
Maynard, and spent the afternoon shopping. Strong as she was, the
unaccustomed heat and the hard pavements and the jostle of shoppers and
the continual rush of sensations wore her out so completely that she did
not want any dinner. She talked to her aunt a while, then went to bed.

Next day Carley motored through Central Park, and out of town into
Westchester County, finding some relief from the seemed to look at
the dusty trees and the worn greens without really seeing them. In the
afternoon she called on friends, and had dinner at home with her aunt,
and then went to a theatre. The musical comedy was good, but the almost
unbearable heat and the vitiated air spoiled her enjoyment. That
night upon arriving home at midnight she stepped out of the taxi, and
involuntarily, without thought, looked up to see the stars. But there
were no stars. A murky yellow-tinged blackness hung low over the city.
Carley recollected that stars, and sunrises and sunsets, and
untainted air, and silence were not for city dwellers. She checked any
continuation of the thought.

A few days sufficed to swing her into the old life. Many of Carley's
friends had neither the leisure nor the means to go away from the city
during the summer. Some there were who might have afforded that if they
had seen fit to live in less showy apartments, or to dispense with
cars. Other of her best friends were on their summer outings in the
Adirondacks. Carley decided to go with her aunt to Lake Placid about the
first of August. Meanwhile she would keep going and doing.

She had been a week in town before Morrison telephoned her and added
his welcome. Despite the gay gladness of his voice, it irritated her.
Really, she scarcely wanted to see him. But a meeting was inevitable,
and besides, going out with him was in accordance with the plan she had
adopted. So she made an engagement to meet him at the Plaza for dinner.
When with slow and pondering action she hung up the receiver it occurred
to her that she resented the idea of going to the Plaza. She did not
dwell on the reason why.

When Carley went into the reception room of the Plaza that night
Morrison was waiting for her--the same slim, fastidious, elegant,
sallow-faced Morrison whose image she had in mind, yet somehow
different. He had what Carley called the New York masculine face, blase
and lined, with eyes that gleamed, yet had no fire. But at sight of her
his face lighted up.

"By Jove! but you've come back a peach!" he exclaimed, clasping her
extended hand. "Eleanor told me you looked great. It's worth missing you
to see you like this."

"Thanks, Larry," she replied. "I must look pretty well to win that
compliment from you. And how are you feeling? You don't seem robust for
a golfer and horseman. But then I'm used to husky Westerners."

"Oh, I'm fagged with the daily grind," he said. "I'll be glad to get up
in the mountains next month. Let's go down to dinner."

They descended the spiral stairway to the grillroom, where an orchestra
was playing jazz, and dancers gyrated on a polished floor, and diners in
evening dress looked on over their cigarettes.

"Well, Carley, are you still finicky about the eats?" he queried,
consulting the menu.

"No. But I prefer plain food," she replied.

"Have a cigarette," he said, holding out his silver monogrammed case.

"Thanks, Larry. I--I guess I'll not take up smoking again. You see,
while I was West I got out of the habit."

"Yes, they told me you had changed," he returned. "How about drinking?"

"Why, I thought New York had gone dry!" she said, forcing a laugh.

"Only on the surface. Underneath it's wetter than ever."

"Well, I'll obey the law."

He ordered a rather elaborate dinner, and then turning his attention to
Carley, gave her closer scrutiny. Carley knew then that he had become
acquainted with the fact of her broken engagement. It was a relief not
to need to tell him.

"How's that big stiff, Kilbourne?" asked Morrison, suddenly. "Is it true
he got well?"

"Oh--yes! He's fine," replied Carley with eyes cast down. A hot knot
seemed to form deep within her and threatened to break and steal along
her veins. "But if you please--I do not care to talk of him."

"Naturally. But I must tell you that one man's loss is another's gain."

Carley had rather expected renewed courtship from Morrison. She had
not, however, been prepared for the beat of her pulse, the quiver of her
nerves, the uprising of hot resentment at the mere mention of Kilbourne.
It was only natural that Glenn's former rivals should speak of him, and
perhaps disparagingly. But from this man Carley could not bear even a
casual reference. Morrison had escaped the army service. He had been
given a high-salaried post at the ship-yards--the duties of which, if
there had been any, he performed wherever he happened to be. Morrison's
father had made a fortune in leather during the war. And Carley
remembered Glenn telling her he had seen two whole blocks in Paris
piled twenty feet deep with leather army goods that were never used and
probably had never been intended to be used. Morrison represented the
not inconsiderable number of young men in New York who had gained at
the expense of the valiant legion who had lost. But what had Morrison
gained? Carley raised her eyes to gaze steadily at him. He looked
well-fed, indolent, rich, effete, and supremely self-satisfied. She
could not see that he had gained anything. She would rather have been a
crippled ruined soldier.

"Larry, I fear gain and loss are mere words," she said. "The thing that
counts with me is what you are."

He stared in well-bred surprise, and presently talked of a new dance
which had lately come into vogue. And from that he passed on to gossip
of the theatres. Once between courses of the dinner he asked Carley to
dance, and she complied. The music would have stimulated an Egyptian
mummy, Carley thought, and the subdued rose lights, the murmur of gay
voices, the glide and grace and distortion of the dancers, were
exciting and pleasurable. Morrison had the suppleness and skill of a
dancing-master. But he held Carley too tightly, and so she told him, and
added, "I imbibed some fresh pure air while I was out West--something
you haven't here--and I don't want it all squeezed out of me."


The latter days of July Carley made busy--so busy that she lost her tan
and appetite, and something of her splendid resistance to the dragging
heat and late hours. Seldom was she without some of her friends. She
accepted almost any kind of an invitation, and went even to Coney
Island, to baseball games, to the motion pictures, which were three
forms of amusement not customary with her. At Coney Island, which she
visited with two of her younger girl friends, she had the best time
since her arrival home. What had put her in accord with ordinary people?
The baseball games, likewise pleased her. The running of the players and
the screaming of the spectators amused and excited her. But she hated
the motion pictures with their salacious and absurd misrepresentations
of life, in some cases capably acted by skillful actors, and in others a
silly series of scenes featuring some doll-faced girl.

But she refused to go horseback riding in Central Park. She refused
to go to the Plaza. And these refusals she made deliberately, without
asking herself why.

On August 1st she accompanied her aunt and several friends to Lake
Placid, where they established themselves at a hotel. How welcome to
Carley's strained eyes were the green of mountains, the soft gleam of
amber water! How sweet and refreshing a breath of cool pure air! The
change from New York's glare and heat and dirt, and iron-red insulating
walls, and thronging millions of people, and ceaseless roar and rush,
was tremendously relieving to Carley. She had burned the candle at both
ends. But the beauty of the hills and vales, the quiet of the forest,
the sight of the stars, made it harder to forget. She had to rest. And
when she rested she could not always converse, or read, or write.

For the most part her days held variety and pleasure. The place was
beautiful, the weather pleasant, the people congenial. She motored over
the forest roads, she canoed along the margin of the lake, she played
golf and tennis. She wore exquisite gowns to dinner and danced during
the evenings. But she seldom walked anywhere on the trails and, never
alone, and she never climbed the mountains and never rode a horse.

Morrison arrived and added his attentions to those of other men. Carley
neither accepted nor repelled them. She favored the association with
married couples and older people, and rather shunned the pairing off
peculiar to vacationists at summer hotels. She had always loved to play
and romp with children, but here she found herself growing to avoid
them, somehow hurt by sound of pattering feet and joyous laughter. She
filled the days as best she could, and usually earned quick slumber
at night. She staked all on present occupation and the truth of flying
time.

If you like this book please share to your friends :
NEXT BOOKS

The Call Of The Canyon - Chapter 9 The Call Of The Canyon - Chapter 9

The Call Of The Canyon - Chapter 9
CHAPTER IXThe latter part of September Carley returned to New York.Soon after her arrival she received by letter a formal proposal ofmarriage from Elbert Harrington, who had been quietly attentive toher during her sojourn at Lake Placid. He was a lawyer of distinction,somewhat older than most of her friends, and a man of means and finefamily. Carley was quite surprised. Harrington was really one of the fewof her acquaintances whom she regarded as somewhat behind the times, andliked him the better for that. But she could not marry him, andreplied to his letter in as kindly a manner as possible. Then
PREVIOUS BOOKS

The Call Of The Canyon - Chapter 7 The Call Of The Canyon - Chapter 7

The Call Of The Canyon - Chapter 7
CHAPTER VIIThe day came when Carley asked Mrs. Hutter: "Will you please put up anice lunch for Glenn and me? I'm going to walk down to his farm wherehe's working, and surprise him.""That's a downright fine idea," declared Mrs. Hutter, and forthwithbustled away to comply with Carley's request.So presently Carley found herself carrying a bountiful basket on herarm, faring forth on an adventure that both thrilled and depressed her.Long before this hour something about Glenn's work had quickened herpulse and given rise to an inexplicable admiration. That he was big andstrong enough to do such labor made her proud; that he
NEXT 10 BOOKS | PREVIOUS 10 BOOKS | RANDOM 10 BOOKS
LEAVE A COMMENT