Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way

Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way

by A. J. CRONIN

(an extract)

At eight o'clock I set the vaccine extract to filter, and as this process would take about an hour, I rose, switched off the lights, and left the laboratory, bent upon a short respite in my room.

Outside, I could hear preliminary tunings Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way from the auditorium where, at the end of each month, an entertainment(1) was held(2), half-dance, half-concert, sponsored by Palfrey, ostensibly for the benefit of the patients, but mainly to permit the little maestro to sing, with his хэнд upon his heart, Gounod's* "Even bravest heart may swell..."

I Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way rarely went to these junketings and tonight I assuredly would not go.

Anxious to stretch out(3) on my sofa, I entered my room, but as I did so I found that I was not alone. Seated by the open window, with a droop to his shoulders, and Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way a peculiar fixity in his gaze,(4) was Neil Spence.

"Why, Spence!" I exclaimed. "It's good to see you again."

He acknowledged(5) my welcome with a faint smile in his wide, immobile eyes, and after we had shaken hands, sank back in his chair, his face shadowed by the curtain.

"I can Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way't stay long, Robert. But I took a notion to look you up. You don't mind?"

"Of course not." I had often pressed(6) him to visit me — yet, strangely, I wondered why he had come. "You'll have a drink?"

He looked at me broodingly, that shadowy smile Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way still flickering(7) in his dark pupils.

"Please."

I saw then that he had already had several, but that мейд no difference,(8) besides I wanted one myself. It was easy to come by good spirits from the stimulant cupboard and lately I had drawn pretty heavily upon Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way that store. I scarcely ate anything now, but kept myself going on(9) black coffee, whisky, and cigarettes. I poured out two stiff drinks.

"Here's luck then, Robert."

"Good health."

He nursed his tumbler between his hands, his eyes wandering about the room. There was in his calmness something which мейд me Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way uneasy.

"How is Muriel?" I asked.

"Quite well, I believe."

"You should have brought her along."

He sat stock-still; his immobility was strangely terrifying.

"Muriel left me last week. She's with Lomax — in London."

He мейд the statement in a tone so matter-of-fact(10) it took Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way my breath away.(11) There was a pause. I had not guessed it was as bad as this.

"What a rotten trick!" I muttered at last.

"Oh, I don't know." He answered logically, with Dial same inhuman self-control. "Lomax is a good-looking fellow and Muriel Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way is still a most attractive girl. And after all, I'm not much (12) fun to live with."

I looked at him quickly. He went on, musingly, in that same flat tone:

"I suppose she went on as long as she could, before she fell for (13) Lomax."

I had Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way to say something.

"What a swine he must be!"

Spence shook his head. In spite of the whisky he was completely sober.

"He's probably not any worse than the rest of us." A long, low breath escaped him. "I ought never to have married her in the first place Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way. But I was so damned fond of her. And God knows I did my best. Took her out(14) every Friday night." He repeated this, as though it comforted him. "Every Friday night in life."

"She'll come back to you," I said. "You can make a fresh start.(15)

He looked Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way full at me(16) and the smile in his dark eyes was tragic.

"Don't be a fool, Robert. It's all over." He paused, reflectively. "She has asked for a divorce. Wants to be free. Well, I'll attend to (17) that for her. Isn't it extraordinary ... I see Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way now that she is shallow and worthless ... but I can't hate her."

I poured him another drink, and one for myself. I scarcely knew what to say. In a vain effort to divert(18) his mind I asked:

"Have you been going to Hie Department?" *

"Yes. You Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way see, no one knows about this yet. Lomax is on vacation ... Muriel supposed to be visiting her sister. But what's the use, I've lost interest. I'm not like you, Robert. 1 never was cut out(19) for research." He added, in a flat(10) voice: "It wouldn't have been Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way so bad, except that when I saw how things were going and spoke to her she said, 'Leave me alone. I hate the sight(20) of you.'"

There was a prolonged silence. Then, softly, the sound of a two-step came through the open window, stealing across the night air Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way into the room. Spence looked at me, his impassive features showing a vague inquiry.

"It's a dance they have once a month," I told him. "The staff some of the patients."

He considered for a moment.

"Muriel would have enjoyed that ... we occasionally used to dance on Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way Friday nights. I daresay Lomax will take her out."

He listened till the two-step was over, then put down his empty glass.

"I have to go now, Robert."

"Oh, nonsense. It's quite early."

"I must. I have an appointment. There's a good train at nine.”

"Have another Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way spot then?"

"No, thanks. I want to be right for my appointment."

I guessed he had to see his lawyer about the divorce. I wasn’t happy about him, but there seemed nothing I could say. It was twenty minutes to nine.

I went down to the lodge with him Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way and opened the gates — Gunn had gone up to the dance.

"I'll walk to the station with you."

He shook his head.

"If I know anything you want to be back in that laboratory."

There was a slight flush on his thin cheeks and the expression in Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way his fine sombre eyes startled me.

"Are you all right, Spence?"

"Perfectly." His voice held a hint of ghostly laughter.

A pause.

We shook hands. As I gazed at him doubtfully, he did actually smile, his old distorted smile.

"Good luck, Robert ... Bless you."

I мейд my way back up Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way the drive slowly. What he said was quite true. I had to finish, absolutely, or it would finish me. In the darkness, as I went towards the laboratory, I could still hear the soft beat of the music. That night fog we so often got was coming down Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way.

As I entered, the white cool room was silent, save for the low and muffled(22) throbbing of the music. I freed my mind of everything except my work. Despite(23) the barred double windows of frosted glass, the stealthy fog had penetrated, and floated in a soft swathe, like a disembodied spirit Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way, under tlie domed roof. Beneath, in the centre of the tiled floor, upon my bench, stood the filtration apparatus. I saw that the flask was nearly filled by a clear, translucent fluid. It took me I a moment to remove my jacket, roll up my shirt Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way-sleeves, and pull on my soiled smock. Advancing to the bench, I took up the flask, gazed at it with a strange and thrilling emotion. Then, intently(25) I set to work.(26)

It was only a short process to standardize and encapsulate the final product. At quarter to ten I had Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way done it. At last, in spite of everything I had reached the summit of the endless hill and looked down upon the kingdoms spread before me.

I felt so dizzy I had to hang on to the edge of the bench. The buzzing elation in my ears transformed the distant Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way music. Faintly, then more clearly, I conceived the strains as a celestial symphony, with high angelic voices, clarion-sweet, mingling with(27) bells and a sonorous counterpoint of drums. As these ecstatic harmonies swelled I kept muttering(28) to myself tensely.

"I've done it ... oh, God Almighty ... I've Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way finished it at last."

With an effort I broke off, put away the ampules carefully in the ice box, locked up the laboratory, and went out.

I directed my exhausted footsteps towards my room. As I reached the vestibule I heard someone call my name, and turning, I saw Brogan Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way, the attendant, running after me.

I stopped and waited till he came up. He was white and breathing fast.

"Dr. Shannon, I've been looking for you all over." He caught his breath.(29) "There's been a little accident, sir."

I stood quite still, staring at him Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way.

"Look, sir." Despite his experience the man shuddered.(30) "It's your friend ... we just had word from the station."

Spence! I suddenly fell sick. A cold sweat broke on my brow. I swallowed with an effort.

"He slipped and fell, sir. Just as the nine o'clock train came Reproduction 1 Shannon's Way in. It was instantaneous."


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