Sample P18 from [Anonymous,] "No Room in My Heart to Forgive," Modern Romances, 56: 11 (November, 1961), 76-78. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,010 words 654 (32.5%) quotesP18

Used by permission of Modern Romances. 0010-1710

[Anonymous,] "No Room in My Heart to Forgive," Modern Romances, 56: 11 (November, 1961), 76-78.

Arbitrary No Hyphen: cheekbones [0620]Typographical Errors: televison [0820] come [for came] [1600]

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She called then to say she had a baby-sitter for that night . `` Shirley appreciated the chance to make some money . Such a nice little thing -- lives right in the building '' .

`` That's swell '' , I said sweetly . I could get along without that three dollars . In some ways it was worth being out the money -- just knowing I was no longer obligated to Nadine ! !

It was past midnight and we were in bed when the phone rang . I stumbled through the hall , wondering who would be calling at this hour . I answered to find Nadine at the other end . `` You scared me half to death '' , I said shakily . `` What's wrong '' ? ?

`` Janice , nobody answers at the apartment '' ! ! Her voice came shrill . `` I'm absolutely frantic ! ! That stupid girl might have gone off and left Francie '' ! !

`` Oh , she wouldn't do that '' , I said . `` She's probably fallen asleep and doesn't hear the phone . But if you're worried you can go home and check '' --

`` I can't leave the party ! ! We're at Ken Thom's apartment , and when one couple leaves early everything falls flat ! ! Old Mr. Thom is already down on Wally , and we simply can't afford to get Ken mad at us '' --

I was all set for what came next . `` Janice , could you possibly go over and make sure everything's all right ? ? I'll call you there in ten minutes '' --

`` I can't make it in ten minutes '' -- Wondering , as I said it , why I should make it at all . Why should I go over at midnight to check on Francie , when her parents didn't care enough to leave a party ? ?

`` Fifteen minutes , then ! ! Please , Janice . I'll be glad to pay you '' --

So sure that money could do anything ! ! `` All right '' , I said . I'd do it . Not for the dollar or so Nadine would give me . But because there was the chance that something had gone wrong at the apartment , and if I didn't go over , who would ? ?

Chris was sound asleep , and I didn't see any sense in waking him . I dressed in the kitchen , then left a note on the table telling him what had happened . I drove off through the cool darkness to Nadine's apartment and rang the bell , and in a few seconds a young girl opened the door . Her face was flushed from sleep . `` It's all right '' , I said , as she started to look scared . `` Mrs. Roberts had called , and couldn't wake you . I just came over to make sure everything was all right '' .

`` I'm -- hard to wake up '' , she faltered . She didn't look over thirteen . And Nadine insisted that her sitters be reliable ! ! `` I have to get up early for church tomorrow '' , she went on . `` I didn't know it was going to be this late '' ! !

The phone started ringing . `` That's Mrs. Roberts again '' , I said . `` I'll answer it '' . I crossed the beautifully furnished living room to the pale yellow phone . I told Nadine everything was fine , and that I'd be getting on home .

`` Janice , would you mind staying '' ? ? There was a ragged edge to her voice now , as if she'd been crying . `` Wally's drunk -- I'll get him out of here as soon as I possibly can , but I don't want Shirley to see him like this . You know how gossip of that sort spreads through an apartment building '' --

Not a word of thanks for what I'd already done . The receiver clicked in my ear . She didn't even give me a chance to refuse . Well , there wasn't any law that said I had to stay ! ! But then I looked at Shirley and thought that I might as well -- the child needed her sleep , and Heaven knew what kind of a mess it would be , with Wally coming home drunk . So I told her Mrs. Roberts would pay her in the morning , and she scooted off to her own apartment .

After I looked in at Francie , I went into the living room and waited . I must have dozed off , because I came to with a start at the sound of voices . Nadine's , shrill with anger -- Wally's loud and thick -- As I went to the door I heard the clock strike two . I opened the door , and Wally stumbled in -- fast -- as if Nadine had pushed him .

I had always thought she was so beautiful . But now she looked ugly . Her skin was stretched so tight that her cheekbones stuck out , and if looks could kill , Wally would have been dead . `` Pack your clothes '' , she hissed . `` Pack -- and get out '' ! !

`` You're crazy '' , Wally said thickly . He lurched and stumbled to the davenport and sank down on it , and was instantly asleep . Nadine strode over to him , and her pointed nails raked across his face . I grabbed her arm and she turned on me and for a scared second I thought that maybe Wally was right , and she was crazy .

`` You stay out of this '' , she spat at me . `` He's ruined us -- do you hear me -- he's ruined us ! ! He insulted Ken Thom '' ! ! Her eyes were wild . `` He told Ken to his face that he doesn't have what it takes to get a woman ! ! And the other people there were listening ! ! We're ruined and he's going to get out if I have to throw him down the stairs '' --

`` you'd better simmer down '' , I said nervously . I was plenty scared . In the state she was in , she could actually kill him ! ! `` Now you just take it easy , and I'll make you some tea '' --

`` Tea , '' Nadine screeched . `` How can you be so damn stupid ? ? Wally's lost his job ! ! Ken will never forgive him -- never ! ! And we don't have any money -- we don't have a dime ! ! All we own is Francie's bedroom set and the televison-record player and we even owe on them . And we'll be poor and have to live in a grubby little house like yours -- and all because of that '' --

I clamped my hand over her mouth to stop the stream of filth . `` Stop that ! ! You'll wake up the whole building . Wally can't go any place at this hour '' --

`` Well then , I'll get out '' -- But she looked uncertain . She was coming to her senses enough to realize that you don't go traipsing off anywhere at two in the morning .

`` You go to bed '' , I said curtly . `` In the morning you and Wally can talk things out '' --

She collapsed against me , as if everything inside her snapped . I got her into bed , and sat with her until she had sobbed herself out . It was three o'clock before I figured it was all right to go . I left her , a limp bundle of self-pity , shivering with terror because her bubble had burst around her . Wally was snoring on the davenport . I had done all I could . I had done all I was going to do . Whether or not Wally lost his job was no concern of mine . I drove home , found Chris still asleep . I snuggled up close to him -- loving him -- thankful for a man like him . Thankful I wasn't Nadine .

I kept on being thankful . In the afternoon Nadine and Wally came over with Francie . Wally sat in our big chair , his hands between his knees , looking ready to cry . `` I'd had all this trouble with the old man , that's why I drank so much . I -- got fired yesterday for not attending to business '' --

Old Mr. Thom himself had stopped at the service station for a grease job , Wally confessed , and couldn't get one because there were cars on the pits waiting to be repaired . Seems that the kid Wally had hired had a repair business of his own going on the side . Mr. Thom had gotten Wally on the phone , and fired him . `` I thought I'd smooth things over through Ken '' , Wally said miserably . `` But Ken got coy and wouldn't make any promises . And I was plastered and I blew my stack '' --

`` And told him right to his face he'd never slept with a woman '' ! ! I tried to quiet Nadine because the children were there . But she was beyond caring what she said .

`` Things may smooth over yet '' , Chris said , his nice lean face grave with honest concern . But I couldn't help thinking that Nadine and Wally were getting just what they deserved . Now maybe they'd realize that life can be tough .

When A bubble breaks , there's nothing . Little by little , during the week , Chris and I discovered the crazy unbelievable way Nadine and Wally had lived . They had not only spent every cent -- they were in debt up to their necks , owing on everything they owned .

On top of everything else they were two months behind on their apartment rent , and the day Wally received written notice that he was fired , they were evicted .

Worst of all , Wally had no training for any kind of work . He had fallen into a soft job , and now the job was gone and he was stranded .

Chris fretted . `` I wish we were in a position to offer a little money to tide them over '' .

I said I wished we were , too . It was easy enough to say it , because of course we couldn't spare a cent . But Chris brightened up like a candle . `` I'm glad you feel that way , honey . There is one big way we can help them . We can let them move in with us '' --

Something I had simply never thought of . Something so incredible --

I just stared at him . It was incredible -- He gave me an embarrassed , pleading look . `` I know we'd be pretty crowded . But it would only be for a couple of weeks -- until they get straightened out '' .

Straightened out -- They'd had years of making all that money ! ! `` I won't do it '' , I said flatly . `` Nadine was always too good to live in a little house like this ! ! Well , now she can sleep in the street for all I care '' ! !

`` That isn't like you , Janice '' , Chris said uncomfortably . Then I felt uncomfortable , too . I didn't want to be like that , mean and bitter . But , darn it all , why should we help a couple of spoiled snobs who had looked down their noses at us ? ?

But , in the end , we did . It just seemed as if there was nothing else to do . The finance company took all their furniture -- and they didn't have a cent to their name .

Then Wally got sick . To my way of thinking , he was scared sick . His luck had failed him , and it was easier to crawl off into bed than to get out and fight the world .

Chris made trip after trip in our old car , moving the clothes and dishes and the stock of groceries Nadine had bought on special . At least we'll eat , I thought grimly as I put all the food away .

While I worked , Nadine sat and cried . When she wasn't crying , she was in our bedroom fighting with Wally . `` Virus infection nothing '' , she'd scream at him . `` You're too lazy to go out and look for another job . You're just a no-good bum '' ! !

It was a mess , all right . But it couldn't go on forever -- A couple of weeks , Chris had said . I figured I could stand practically anything for a couple of weeks .

But the two weeks dragged into three , and they were still with us . Nadine's constant nagging had finally gotten Wally out of bed . He set out every morning looking for work , and come home around noon , full of alibis and excuses . Wendell Thom had black-balled him . Nobody would even take his application .

`` You can get something , '' Nadine would snap . `` You can get a job working in a grocery store , if nothing else '' .

`` The high school kids have got everything sewed up '' , he said , a whine in his voice . `` Those damn punks -- taking work away from men who need it '' .

`` By fall they'll be back in school '' , I'd say , trying to sound encouraging . But this was only the middle of July .

And I couldn't take six more weeks of this . I mentioned it to Chris one stifling hot night , when I had slipped outside for a breath of fresh air .