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The Amazing Interlude

Chapter 18
As the spring advanced Harvey grew increasingly bitter; grew morbid and increasingly
self-conscious also. He began to think that people were smiling behind his back, and
when they asked about Sara Lee he met with almost insulting brevity what he felt was
half-contemptuous kindness. He went nowhere, and worked all day and until late in the
night. He did well in his business, however, and late in March he received a substantial
raise in salary.
He took it without enthusiasm, and told Belle that night at dinner with apathy.
After the evening meal it was now his custom to go to his room and there, shut in, to
read. He read no books on the war, and even the quarter column entitled Salient Points of
the Day's War News hardly received a glance from him now.
In the office when the talk turned to the war, as it did almost hourly, he would go out or
scowl over his letters.
"Harvey's hit hard," they said there.
"He's acting like a rotten cub," was likely to be the next sentence. But sometimes it was:
"Well, what'd you expect? Everything ready to get married, and the girl beating it for
France without notice! I'd be sore myself."
On the day of the raise in salary his sister got the children to bed and straightened up the
litter of small garments that seemed always to bestrew the house, even to the lower floor.
Then she went into Harvey's room.
Coat and collar off, he was lying on the bed, but not reading. His book lay beside him,
and with his arms under his head he was staring at the ceiling.
She did not sit down beside him on the bed. They were an undemonstrative family, and
such endearments as Belle used were lavished on her children. But her eyes were kind,
and a little nervous.
"Do you mind talking a little, Harvey?"
"I don't feel like talking much. I'm tired, I guess. But go on. What is it? Bills?"
She came to him in her constant financial anxieties, and always he was ready to help her
out. But his tone now was gruff. A slight flush of resentment colored her cheeks.
"Not this time, Harve. I was just thinking about things."
"Sit down."
 
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