'Do you really imagine that at the end of the summer I shall be a rich man? What do you mean by talking in this way? If the furniture is sold to supply me with a few pounds for the present, what prospect is there that I shall be able to buy new?'
'How can we look forward at all?' replied Amy. 'It has come to the question of how we are to subsist. I thought you would rather get money in this way than borrow of mother--when she has the expense of keeping me and Willie.'
'You are right,' muttered Reardon. 'Do as you think best.' Amy was in her most practical mood, and would not linger for purposeless talk. A few minutes, and Reardon was left alone.
He stood before his bookshelves and began to pick out the volumes which he would take away with him. Just a few, the indispensable companions of a bookish man who still clings to life--his Homer, his Shakespeare--
The rest must be sold. He would get rid of them to-morrow morning. All together they might bring him a couple of sovereigns.
Then his clothing. Amy had fulfilled all the domestic duties of a wife; his wardrobe was in as good a state as circumstances allowed. But there was no object in burdening himself with winter garments, for, if he lived through the summer at all, he would be able to repurchase such few poor things as were needful; at present he could only think of how to get together a few coins. So he made a heap of such things as might be sold.
The furniture? If it must go, the price could scarcely be more than ten or twelve pounds; well, perhaps fifteen. To be sure, in this way his summer's living would be abundantly provided for.
He thought of Biffen enviously. Biffen, if need be, could support life on three or four shillings a week, happy in the thought that no mortal had a claim upon him. If he starved to death--well, many another lonely man has come to that end. If he preferred to kill himself, who would be distressed? Spoilt child of fortune!
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