Lucy Crown

Lucy Crown by Irwin Shaw

Book: Lucy Crown by Irwin Shaw Read Free Book Online
Authors: Irwin Shaw
attitude. “You’re not joking now? It’s not a trick?”
    “It’s not a trick,” Lucy said lightly. “I’ll come along, never fear.”
    Jeff tried to kiss her again, but she held him off, smiling, shaking her head. Then he wheeled and went quickly across the lawn, his shoes making no sound in the dewy grass. Lucy watched him disappear. Then she shook her head again and moved absently over to the glider. She was sitting there, her hands quiet in her lap, looking out at the misted lake, when Tony came out a few minutes later, in his pajamas and bathrobe, carrying a book.
    “I brought the book,” Tony said as he came through the door.
    “Good.” Lucy stood up. “Get into bed.”
    Tony looked around him as he took off his robe. “Where’s Jeff?”
    Lucy took the book and seated herself next to the glider, where the light of the lamp was strongest. “He had to go,” she said. “He remembered he had a date.”
    “Oh,” Tony said, disappointed. He got into bed after moving the telescope so that he could reach it easily. “That’s funny. He didn’t tell me.”
    “You mustn’t expect him to tell you everything,” Lucy said calmly. She opened the book. It was Huckleberry Finn. Oliver had made a list of books that were to be read to Tony during the summer and this was the third on the list. The next book to be read was a biography of Abraham Lincoln. “Is this the place?” Lucy asked.
    “Where the leaf is,” said Tony. He was using a maple leaf as a bookmark.
    “I see,” said Lucy.
    She read the first few lines silently to orient herself and there was silence except for the busy sounds of crickets in the woods around them.
    Tony took off his glasses and put them on the floor next to the telescope. He wriggled under the bedclothes and stretched luxuriously. “Isn’t this great?” he said. “Wouldn’t it be great if it was summertime all year long?”
    “Yes, Tony,” said Lucy, and began to read. “So we went over to where the canoe was,” she read, “and while he built a fire in a grassy open place amongst the trees, I fetched meal and bacon and coffee, and a coffee-pot and frying pan, and the nigger was set back considerable, because he reckoned it was all done with witchcraft. …”

    S HE LAY ON THE NARROW bed with his head on her breast, holding him lightly, watching him sleep. He had said, when she saw his eyelids drooping, “No, how could I sleep on a night like this?” Then he had sighed and moved his head gently against her breast, and had drifted off. He had a triumphant expression on his face, like a small boy who has accomplished something difficult and praiseworthy in the presence of his elders, and she smiled, seeing it, and touched his forehead with her fingertips.
    He had also murmured, “Forever,” once, his lips against her throat, and she remembered it now and thought, How young you have to be to say forever.
    He had been hesitant and uncertain in the very beginning, but after the first violent awkwardness, he had found, almost as if it had been locked always in him, needing only her touch to free it, a delicacy and gentleness that had moved Lucy profoundly and in a manner in which she had never been moved before.
    Now, lying with the sleeping boy pressed against her, her limbs feeling light and powerful, Lucy thought calmly of the moment of passion as though it were already far in the past, something that had happened once, long ago, and would never happen again. They would make love from time to time, perhaps, but it would never again be like this.
    The sign of Virgo, she remembered. In the region of the Euphrates, she remembered, almost hearing again Jeff’s youthful, playful voice, it was identified with Venus … Virgoans are shy and fear to be brilliant. Virgoans fear impurity and disorder and are liable to peptic ulcers.
    She chuckled softly and the boy moved in her arms. A frown came over his face and he threw his head back on the pillow fearfully, as though he

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