putterings       202   <   203   >   204       index

She had kept it alive by soothing it to silence

And when she woke — if she woke — what would she waken to? Merely more years of self-torment, of puttering at useless tasks to while the long days away; of traveling nowhere forever all the eternal evenings in that old squealing rocker whose office he perceived now for the first time.
      His mother had made a cradle of that chair, and her grief was the beloved child of her heart that she rocked and rocked to keep it from crying aloud lest it break the sleep of the other children. She had kept it alive by soothing it to silence; it had never died, but only lived the better in the secrecy of (314) sleep.

ex The Old Home Town, A novel by Rupert Hughes (1926) : 313 : link (UC copy)
same, via hathitrust : link

Hughes’s longest story about the mythical Midwestern town of Carthage (he himself grew up in, and left, Keokuk, Missouri). See James O. Kemm, “The Literary Legacy of Rupert Hughes,” Books at Iowa 42:1 (1985) : 10-25
doi: https://doi.org/10.17077/0006-7474.1106

a hardware aside —

      Mr. Budlong’s sister had married a man named Lail, who had begun as a hardware man and had done well, for a hardware man. But he longed to do better, and he invested all he had saved and all he could borrow in buying at the top of the market all the land he could secure along the bluffs and bottoms...
pp 23-34 : link

25 October 2022