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Chapter XI
As the clock in the library of the club struck midnight, Condy laid down his pen, shoved
the closely written sheets of paper from him, and leaned back in his chair, his fingers to
his tired eyes. He was sitting at a desk in one of the further corners of the room and
shut off by a great Japanese screen. He was in his shirt- sleeves, his hair was tumbled,
his fingers ink-stained, and his face a little pale.
Since late in the evening he had been steadily writing. Three chapters of "In Defiance of
Authority" were done, and he was now at work on the fourth. The day after the
excursion to the Presidio--that wonderful event which seemed to Condy to mark the
birthday of some new man within him--the idea had suddenly occurred to him that
Captain Jack's story of the club of the exiles, the boom restaurant, and the filibustering
expedition was precisely the novel of adventure of which the Centennial Company had
spoken. At once he had set to work upon it, with an enthusiasm that, with shut teeth, he
declared would not be lacking in energy. The story would have to be written out of his
business hours. That meant he would have to give up his evenings to it. But he had
done this, and for nearly a week had settled himself to his task in the quiet corner of the
club at eight o'clock, and held to it resolutely until twelve.
The first two chapters had run off his pen with delightful ease. The third came harder;
the events and incidents of the story became confused and contradictory; the character
of Billy Isham obstinately refused to take the prominent place which Condy had
designed for him; and with the beginning of the fourth chapter, Condy had finally come
to know the enormous difficulties, the exasperating complications, the discouragements
that begin anew with every paragraph, the obstacles that refuse to be surmounted, and
all the pain, the labor, the downright mental travail and anguish that fall to the lot of the
writer of novels.
To write a short story with the end in plain sight from the beginning was an easy matter
compared to the upbuilding, grain by grain, atom by atom, of the fabric of "In Defiance of
Authority." Condy soon found that there was but one way to go about the business. He
must shut his eyes to the end of his novel--that far-off, divine event--and take his task
chapter by chapter, even paragraph by paragraph; grinding out the tale, as it were, by
main strength, driving his pen from line to line, hating the effort, happy only with the
termination of each chapter, and working away, hour by hour, minute by minute, with
the dogged, sullen, hammer- and-tongs obstinacy of the galley-slave, scourged to his
daily toil.
At times the tale, apparently out of sheer perversity, would come to a full stop. To write
another word seemed beyond the power of human ingenuity, and for an hour or more
Condy would sit scowling at the half-written page, gnawing his nails, scouring his hair,
dipping his pen into the ink-well, and squaring himself to the sheet of paper, all to no