A Fling in the Woods


From The Lockwood Concern

July 1890. Abraham Lockwood (married), while on vacation at the popular resort The Run, spends some time with Martha Downes (widowed. More than once after reading these two passages, I have put the book down and asked myself how does he do this, it doesn't get any better than this:

She became his mistress during the first week of July. He took her for a spin in the naptha launch, tied up the launch on the south shore of the dam where there were no boathouses but in full view of the boathouses on the north shore. They went into the woods, and when they were in deep enough he took her in his arms. She had not spoken during the ride across the dam, and she went with him into the woods as if in obedience to a command . . .

Her dampened hair streaked down over her forehead and she kissed him many times while he was tired. Now they could hear voices, wafted from the opposite shore, some speeches quite distinctly. A rusty oar-lock in a passing rowboat very near the shore. The music puffing out of the carrousel in the casino at the eastern end of the dam. The bell on the large launch that was about to make its hourly tour of the dam. The air whistle on the electric railway car from Gibbsville echoing down the valley.
From a July 10, 1967 letter to his English agent Graham Watson:

My big news concerns THE INSTRUMENT . . . I won't be surprised if the book gets to be Number 1 and stays there for six months. Maybe my slightly fantastic notion of having a right-hand drive Rolls for use in the U.K. may come true. Why not? Why the hell not?

(Then maybe he can take Martha Downes for a spin)

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