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Silent Snow, Secret Snow
by [?]

“No headaches? No dizziness?”

“No I don’t think so.”

"Let me see. Let’s get a book, if you don’t mind-yes, thank you, that will do splendidly- and now, David, if you’ll just read it, holding it as you would normally hold it–"

He took the book and read:

“Now I plunge my pen against the page and scribble toward a purpose unperceived. For here within my fragile fractured frame, I am no more a poet than a rose; and though the visions I do view, bid beauty to my meaning (my muse is busied elsewhere, nursing other selves). Therefore unfailingly I fall into shadow, baptized by merciless melancholy. Enabled to imbue with silhouette of life a bit of martyred matter, from so faint a slate as this, I would label it as mine (ostensibly): mine to brag of, mine to burn; but when I feature feelings from the fire, they float away from me, like writing on the water.”

He stopped, tentatively, and lowered the heavy book.

“No-as I thought-there is certainly no superficial sign of eye-strain.”

Silence thronged the room, and he was aware of the focused scrutiny of the three people who confronted him…

“We could have his eyes examined-but I believe it is something else.”

“What could it be?” This was his fathers voice.

“It’s only this curious absent-minded”- This was his mother’s voice.

In the presence of the doctor, they both seemed irritatingly apologetic.

“I believe it is something else. Now David-I would like very much to ask you a question or two. You will answer them won’t you- you know I am an old, old friend of yours, eh? That’s right!…”

His back was thumped twice by the doctor’s fat fist- then the doctor was grinning at him with false amiability, while with one finger-nail he was scratching the top button of his waistcoat. Beyond the doctor’s shoulder was the fire, the fingers of flame making light prestidigitation against the sooty fire-back, the soft sound of their random flutter the only sound.

“I would like to know- is there anything that worries you?” The doctor was again smiling, his eyelids low against the little black pupils, in each of which was a tiny white bead of light. Why answer him? Why answer him at all? “At whatever pain to others”-but it was all a nuisance, this necessity for resistance, this necessity for attention: it was as if one had been stood up on a brilliantly lighted stage, under a great round blaze of spotlight; as if one were merely a trained seal, or a performing dog, or a fish, dipped out of an aquarium and held up by the tail. It would serve them right if he were merely to bark or growl. And meanwhile, to miss these last few precious hours, these hours of which every minute was more beautiful than the last, more menacing-? He still looked, as if from a great distance, at the beads of light in the doctor’s eyes, at the fixed false smile, and then, beyond, once more at his mother’s slippers, his father’s slippers, the soft flutter of the fire. Even here, even amongst these hostile presences, and in this arranged light, he could see the snow, he could hear it- it was in the corners of the room, where the shadow was deepest, under the sofa, behind the half-opened door which led to the dining room. It was gentler here, softer, its seethe the quietest of whispers, as if, in deference to the drawing room, it had quite deliberately put on its “manners”; it kept itself out of sight, obliterated itself, but distinctly with an air of saying, “Ah, but just wait! Wait till we are alone together! Then I will begin to tell you something new! Something white! Something cold! Something sleepy! Something of cease, and peace, and the long bright curve of space! Tell them to go away. Banish them. Refuse to speak. Leave them, go upstairs to your room, turn out the light and get into bed-I will go with you, I will be waiting for you, I will tell you a better story than The Monkey’s Paw, or La Grande Breteche-I will surround your bed, I will close the windows, pile a deep drift against the door, so that none will ever again be able to enter. Speak to them!…It seemed as if the little hissing voice came from a slow white spiral of falling flakes in the corner by the front window- but he could not be sure. He felt himself smiling, then, and said to the doctor, but without looking at him, looking beyond him still-