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What are you doing now dan same old thing muriel

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“What are you doing now, Dan?” “Same old thing, Muriel. Nothing, as the world would have it. Living, as I look at things. Living as much as I can without—” “But you cant live without money, Dan. Why dont you get a good job and settle down?” Dan: Same old line. Shoot it at me, sister. Hell of a note, this loving business. For ten minutes of it youve got to stand the torture of an intolerable heaviness and a hundred platitudes. Well, damit, shoot on. “To what? my dear. Rustling newspapers?” “You mustnt say that, Dan. It isnt right. Mrs. Pribby has been awfully good to me.” “Dare say she has. Whats that got to do with it?” “Oh, Dan, youre so unconsiderate and selfish. All you think of is yourself.” “I think of you.” “Too much—I mean, you ought to work more and think less. Thats the best way to get along.” “Mussel-heads get along, Muriel. There is more to you than that—” “Sometimes I think there is, Dan. But I dont know. I’ve tried. I’ve tried to do something with myself. Something real and beautiful, I mean. But whats the good of trying? I’ve tried to make people, every one I come in contact with, happy—” Dan looks at her, directly. Her animalism, still unconquered by zoo- restrictions and keeper-taboos, stirs him. Passion tilts upward, bringing with it
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the elements of an old desire. Muriel’s lips become the flesh-notes of a futile, plaintive longing. Dan’s impulse to direct her is its fresh life. “Happy, Muriel? No, not happy. Your aim is wrong. There is no such thing as happiness. Life bends joy and pain, beauty and ugliness, in such a way that no one may isolate them. No one should want to. Perfect joy, or perfect pain, with no contrasting element to define them, would mean a monotony of consciousness, would mean death. Not happy, Muriel. Say that you have tried to make them create. Say that you have used your own capacity for life to cradle them. To start them upward-flowing. Or if you cant say that you have, then say that you will. My talking to you will make you aware of your power to do so. Say that you will love, that you will give yourself in love—” “To you, Dan?” Dan’s consciousness crudely swerves into his passions. They flare up in his eyes. They set up quivers in his abdomen. He is suddenly over-tense and nervous. “Muriel—” The newspaper rustles in the rear room. “Muriel—” Dan rises. His arms stretch towards her. His fingers and his palms, pink in the lamp-light, are glowing irons. Muriel’s chair is close and stiff about her. The house, the rows of houses locked about her chair. Dan’s fingers and arms are fire to melt and bars to wrench and force and pry. Her arms hang loose. Her hands are hot and moist. Dan takes them. He slips to his knees before her.
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