This Proud Heart
Pearl S. Buck
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As her second marriage approaches, a brilliant and independent sculptor faces tensions between her art and everyday life
This Proud Heart narrates the experience of a gifted sculptor and her struggle to reconcile her absorbing career with society’s domestic expectations. Susan Gaylord is talented, loving, equipped with a strong moral sense, and adept at anything she puts her hand to, from housework to playing the piano to working with marble and clay. But the intensity of her artistic calling comes at a price, isolating her from other people—at times, even from her own family. When her husband dies and she remarries, she finds herself once again comparing the sacrifice of solitude to that of commitment. With a heroine who is naturalistic yet compellingly larger than life, This Proud Heart is incomparable in its sympathetic study of character.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Pearl S. Buck including rare images from the author’s estate.
said to the thick-bodied woman at the desk. “Jane Watson, come here,” the woman said, and Jane Watson came forward. She was dressed in a black cotton dress and on her hands were black cotton gloves and she carried an umbrella. “Lady wants somebody twice a week to nurse,” said the woman. “Oh yes,” Jane Watson said eagerly, “I’m that fond of a child!” “Her husband’s just died,” said the woman to Susan. “She hasn’t had a job before. You’ll have to bear it in mind.” So Jane came, slipping into
her shoulder. “You’re so restful. I sink into you somehow and you’re still and deep and warm. You never demand anything, Sue. Sure you’re happy?” “Sure!” she had said…. For every moment of life was her own. “Not a moment your own,” Lucile had said. But all her moments belonged to her life. This moment, for instance, her hands warm in the soft moist earth, was part of her life. In an hour she would be cooking luncheon and that hour also was her own life. Jane was bringing John out of the house,
the old boards while he shouted at her. “I want you to see the big fellows working—you haven’t seen anybody yet but me.” “Why should I see anyone?” she broke in calmly. “I have to work in my own way. Besides, I want to do American things, not French.” “Good God, you’re as ignorant as one of those cows over there!” he bellowed, pointing his stick at the hill. “Nobody’s heard of you here—you’ve got to say you are a pupil of somebody well known.” “Oh, well,” she said peaceably, “you’re well
can bring the whole kit and caboodle to Paris, now—not that you’ll get any real work done until you park them somewhere for good.” She did not heed him. “Can I see the place where it’s to stand?” she asked Jonathan Halfred. “Of course!” he said heartily. “We’ll just run over there.” He took up the telephone. “Tell Briggs to pick me up on the Avenue entrance in five minutes,” he ordered, and in five minutes they were stepping into an enclosed car, through whose sides no sound of the city could
when it did what she had let it do. She sat up in bed and hugged her knees. What if she waked like this one morning to find her hair white and her hands too old to work, what if the years fooled her, too, stealing past her silently, secretly, making no sound to disturb her so that she did not know they passed? And then one morning it would be too late. Her hands would be withered and her sight dim. She sprang out of bed and turned on the light and stared into the mirror. She was still young,