The one opened the door with a latch-key and went in, followed by a young fellow who awkwardly removed his cap. He wore rough clothes that smacked of the sea, and he was manifestly out of place in the spacious hall in which he found himself. He did not know what to do with his cap, and was stuffing it into his coat pocket when the other took it from him. The act was done quietly and naturally, and the awkward young fellow appreciated it. “He understands,” was his thought. “He’ll see me through all right.”
He walked at the other’s heels with a swing to his shoulders, and his legs spread unwittingly, as if the level floors were tilting up and sinking down to the heave and lunge of the sea. The wide rooms seemed too narrow for his rolling gait, and to himself he was in terror lest his broad shoulders should collide with the doorways or sweep the bric-a-brac from the low mantel. He recoiled from side to side between the various objects and multiplied the hazards that in reality lodged only in his mind.
As I’ve mentioned before, I love Jack London. He was flawed—as a writer and man. (All the great heroes are.) But I love the raw passion in his muscular prose. I’d read Call of the Wild in high school. It did nothing for me. It wasn’t until law school when I was taking a seminar on Prisoners’ Rights that I rediscovered him. A guest speaker said, “If you want to know what prison’s really like, read Jack London.” No reference. But I love to research, and before long, I’d found it. Once begun, I was curled up in a corner of the main library reading and skipped my next class. I’d been drowning in case law, and now I was buoyed by Jack’s visceral phrases. I should have known then that I would never enjoy law in the same way. But, compuslive finisher that I am, I slogged on and finished law school. Passed the bar. Spent a year practicing family law, thoroughly disgusted with my clients and myself most of all.
I missed Jack.
I will tell you a little known fact (and by fact, I mean my opinion); Martin Eden is a romance novel. Seriously. One of the most romantic novels I’ve ever read.
I’ve been pondering this (for a month, apparently). It troubles me. I’m a trained musician. I suppose I ought to like this. And yet I don’t. Wouldn’t it be a bit distracting? To be fair, I don’t want anyone reading Moby Dick to me while I’m at the opera, either.