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Vandover and the Brute

Chapter Eleven
The following days as they began to pass were miserable. Vandover had never known
until now how much he loved his father, how large a place he had filled in his life. He felt
horribly alone now, and a veritable feminine weakness overcame him, a crying need to be
loved as his father had loved him, and also to love some one as he himself had loved his
father. Worst of all, however, was his loneliness. He could think of no one who cared in
the least for him; the very thought of Turner Ravis or young Haight wrought in him an
expression of scorn. He was sure that he was nothing to them, though they were the ones
whom he considered his best friends.
Another cause of misery was the fact that his father's death in leaving him alone had also
thrown him upon his own resources. Now he would have to shoulder responsibilities
which hitherto his father had assumed, and decide questions which until now his father
had answered.
However, he felt that his father's death had sobered him as nothing else, not even Ida's
suicide, had done. The time was come at length for him to take life seriously. He would
settle down now to work at his art. He would go to Paris as his father had wished, and
devote himself earnestly to painting. Yes, the time was come for him to steady himself,
and give over the vicious life into which he had been drifting.
But it was not long before Vandover had become accustomed to his father's death, and
had again rearranged himself to suit the new environment which it had occasioned. He
wondered at himself because of the quickness with which he had recovered from this
grief, just as before he had marvelled at the ease with which he had forgotten Ida's death.
Could it be true, then, that nothing affected him very deeply? Was his nature shallow?
However, he was wrong in this respect; his nature was not shallow. It had merely become
deteriorated.
Two days after his father's death Vandover went into the Old Gentleman's room to get a
certain high-backed chair which had been moved there from his own room during the
confusion of the funeral, and which, pending the arrival of the trestles, had been used to
support the coffin.
As he was carrying it back his eye fell upon a little heap of objects carefully set down
upon the bureau. They were the contents of the Old Gentleman's pockets that the
undertaker had removed when the body was dressed for burial.
Vandover turned them over, sadly interested in them. There was the watch, some old
business letters and envelopes covered with memoranda, his fountain-pen, a couple of
cigars, a bank-book, a small amount of change, his pen-knife, and one or two tablets of
chewing-gum.
 
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