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The Night Visitor

The Night Visitor

(1931)
And Other Stories
A collection of stories by

 
CONTENTS:

THE NIGHT VISITOR
THE CORNET-PLAYER
MURDER!
THE HAT
UNDER THE HAMMER
THE WIND
HONOUR
THE FIRST NIGHT
THE SEVEN POLICEMEN
MYRTLE AT SIX A.M.
STRANGE AFFAIR AT AN HOTEL
THE SECOND NIGHT
THE UNDERSTUDY
THE PEACOCK
DREAM
BACCARAT
THE MOUSE AND THE CAT

a selection from the first story:

THE NIGHT VISITOR

Marriage, said someone, is one long patience. It usually is not. But it ought to be. Although Anthony Reels was held to be a remarkable inventor, and by reason of his gifts held a fine and a rather free position in an immense new, efficient manufacturing Combine which was trying to destroy the British reputation for muddle, he was little if anything above the average, considered as a husband. And Luce Reels was little, if anything, above the average of wives. The twain had their difficulties from time to time. They had also a child, which was continuous. Rosie had reached the age of three. Some of the marital difficulties originated in Rosie. Luce contended that Rosie was no ordinary child. Anthony, partly in order to tease his wife, contended that Rosie was just an ordinary child. This divergence of view-whether genuine or assumed-about the most important subject on earth, was apt to produce a general domestic atmosphere not entirely favourable to peace and tranquillity, an atmosphere in which discord and conflict flourished.

The season was winter, the weather bleak. Influenza raged. Theatres were full of coughs. Sixty per cent of invitations were refused on account of illness. The Reelses had decided to go South. Anthony had done a great work, likely to lead to vast profits for his firm, (p. ) and he needed a change. Excellent! But Luce had said that the child, complete with nurse and all impedimenta, must accompany them. Anthony had protested with customary violence against the preposterous notion of taking an infant on a thirty-hour journey by sea and land into an alien clime. What Anthony wanted was a change. There could be no change for him if he was to be charged with the responsibilities of a family. A wife, yes! A family-No! Moreover, the infant would be better and safer at home, in its fixed daily routine, with a nurse faithful and competent. Change was bad for infants, who were all Tories and objected to any disturbance of routine.

Luce won. All arrangements were accomplished for shutting up the flat; tickets taken; rooms engaged. But Anthony, a wonderful comedian, carried his dark grievance beneath a lightsome exterior. Anthony was secretly resentful, not because he felt himself to be in the right, but because he felt himself to be in the wrong. (Luce had handsomely defeated him in argument.) We others, of course, are only rendered gloomy and resentful when, being beaten, we know ourselves to be in the right. Anthony was different. We are Anthony's moral superiors.

Anthony said to himself: "If she thinks I'm going for a very necessary holiday with this child, this nurse, this perambulator, this special bed, these special foods, these kettles and contraptions, she is mistaken. I will be ill. I will be too ill to travel." So on the morning before the planned departure he began to be ill. His acting was brilliant and diplomatically contrived. He stayed in bed, but he said: "It's nothing. I'm only tired. I'll get up for lunch." He managed to give to his optimistic assurance a tone of unreality, the tone of a brave man resisting adversity for the sake of beloved (p. ) creatures. He did not get up for lunch. He would get up for dinner. But he did not get up for dinner. He laughed nobly at the suggestion of a doctor.

It was an odious spectacle, this spectacle of a clever and successful man of thirty-six, a genius perhaps, fully grown, entirely adult, naughtily feigning to be ill when he was not ill.

 
Used availability for Arnold Bennett's The Night Visitor


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Hardback Editions

June 1976 : USA Hardback
Title: Night Visitor and Other Stories (Collected Works of Arnold Bennett)
Author(s): Arnold Bennett
ISBN: 0-518-19140-0 / 978-0-518-19140-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Ayer Co Pub
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

October 2009 : UK Paperback
Title: The Night Visitor and Other Stories (Dodo Press)
Author(s): Arnold Bennett
ISBN: 1-4099-7847-8 / 978-1-4099-7847-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Dodo Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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