Martin Eden HTML version

Chapter 34
Arthur remained at the gate while Ruth climbed Maria's front steps. She heard
the rapid click of the type-writer, and when Martin let her in, found him on the last
page of a manuscript. She had come to make certain whether or not he would be
at their table for Thanksgiving dinner; but before she could broach the subject
Martin plunged into the one with which he was full.
"Here, let me read you this," he cried, separating the carbon copies and running
the pages of manuscript into shape. "It's my latest, and different from anything
I've done. It is so altogether different that I am almost afraid of it, and yet I've a
sneaking idea it is good. You be judge. It's an Hawaiian story. I've called it 'Wiki-
His face was bright with the creative glow, though she shivered in the cold room
and had been struck by the coldness of his hands at greeting. She listened
closely while he read, and though he from time to time had seen only
disapprobation in her face, at the close he asked:-
"Frankly, what do you think of it?"
"I - I don't know," she, answered. "Will it - do you think it will sell?"
"I'm afraid not," was the confession. "It's too strong for the magazines. But it's
true, on my word it's true."
"But why do you persist in writing such things when you know they won't sell?"
she went on inexorably. "The reason for your writing is to make a living, isn't it?"
"Yes, that's right; but the miserable story got away with me. I couldn't help writing
it. It demanded to be written."
"But that character, that Wiki-Wiki, why do you make him talk so roughly? Surely
it will offend your readers, and surely that is why the editors are justified in
refusing your work."
"Because the real Wiki-Wiki would have talked that way."
"But it is not good taste."
"It is life," he replied bluntly. "It is real. It is true. And I must write life as I see it."