So now it was all over, he thought. So now he would never have a chance to finish it. So this was the way it ended, in a bickering over a drink.
Now he would never write the things that he had saved to write until he knew enough to write them well. Well, he would not have to fail at trying to write them either. Maybe you could never write them, and that was why you put them off and delayed the starting. Well he would never know, now.
“I love you, really. You know I love you. I’ve never loved any one else the way I love you.” He slipped into the familiar lie he made his bread and butter by.
… you said that you would write about these people; about the very rich; that you were really not of them but a spy in their country; that you would leave it and write it and for once it would be written by someone who knew what he was writing of. But he would never do it, because each day of not writing, of comfort, of being that which he despised dulled his ability and softened his will to work so that, finally, he did no work at all.
And he had chosen to make his living with something else instead of a pen or a pencil. It was strange, too, wasn’t it, that when he fell in love with another woman, that woman should always have more money than the last one?
The steps by which she had acquired him and the way in which she had finally fallen in love with him were all part of a regular progression in which she had built herself a new life and he had traded away what remained of his old life. He had traded it for security, for comfort too, there was no denying that, and for what else?
And just then it occurred to him that he was going to die. It came with a rush; not as a rush of water nor of wind; but of a sudden evil-smelling emptiness and the odd thing was that the hyena slipped lightly along the edge of it.
There was so much to write. He had seen the world change … He had been in it and he had watched it and it was his duty to write of it; but now he never would.
“You can’t take dictation, can you?”
“I never learned,” she told him.
“That’s all right.”
There wasn’t time, of course, although it seemed as though it telescoped so that you might put it all into one paragraph if you could get it right.
But if he lived he would never write about her, he knew that now. Nor about any of them. The rich were dull and … they were repetitious.
No, he thought, when everything you do, you do too long, and do too late, you can’t expect to find the people still there. The people all are gone. The party’s over and you are with your hostess now.
Compie turned his head and grinned and pointed and there, ahead, all he could see, as wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun, was the square top of Kilimanjaro. And then he knew that there was where he was going.