Heaven's My Destination: A Novel
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Drawing on such unique sources as the author's unpublished letters, business records, and obscure family recollections, Tappan Wilder's Afterword adds a special dimension to the reissue of this hilarious tale about goodness in a fallen world.
Meet George Marvin Brush—Don Quixote come to Main Street in the Great Depression, and one of Thornton Wilder's most memorable characters. George Brush, a traveling textbook salesman, is a fervent religious convert who is determined to lead a good life. With sad and sometimes hilarious consequences, his travels take him through smoking cars, bawdy houses, banks, and campgrounds from Texas to Illinois—and into the soul of America itself.
with his eyes. “Take that thing off your neck,” he said. “What did this man say to you?” Mrs. Gruber gave Rhoda May a sharp pull and clutched her to her skirts. Rhoda May began to cry. Mr. Gruber turned back to Brush. “What do you want? Eh? What is it you want?” Brush began writing on his pad. “You’re deef-’n’-dumb, is that it?” Brush shook his head, still smiling. “You’re not deef-’n’-dumb? Then what is it? . . . Rhoda May, what did this man say to you? . . . There’s something funny about
the next morning the jailer opened the door of Brush’s cell and said: “You can go out into the yard if you want to. Judge Carberry can’t see you till this afternoon. He’s out fishing.” It was mild and sunny in the open air. The yard was surrounded on three sides by the jail and on the fourth by a high wire fence on the other side of which was the jailer’s house and back yard. Beside the gravel path in the jail yard stood a number of rough benches. On one of these a man lay stretched on his
asked Dr. Bowie, drawing up his chair by Brush’s bed. Brush did not answer. Dr. Bowie lowered his voice: “Now, isn’t there anything you want to tell me?” Brush still did not answer. Dr. Bowie was slightly antagonized, but he controlled himself. “The doctor tells me that you’re a sick man, a pretty sick man, my boy. We must think of that, yes, sir.” He brought out a questionnaire blank and laid it surreptitiously on his knees, and drew out a pencil. “Are your dear parents living, Mr. Brush?” The
With the international success of The Bridge, cash flow was not a problem until the early 1930s, when royalty income fell precipitously and his net income dramatically—from over $40,000 in 1930 to $13,300 in 1931, and to $9,200 in 1932 and $6,700 in 1933. Consequently, he was forced to seek odd jobs to supplement the money he received from teaching and lecturing and other minor sources such as royalties from his new one-act plays, among them The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden and The Long
banks have troubles—” “Stop it! Stop what you’re saying!” cried Mr. Southwick, very red in the face. A policeman entered the bank. “Mr. Gogarty, arrest this man. He’s come here to make trouble. Get him out of here at once.” Brush faced the policeman. “Arrest me,” he said. “Here I am. What have I done? I haven’t done anything. I’ll tell the judge. I’ll tell everybody what I’ve been saying.” “Come on along. You come on quiet.” “You don’t have to push me,” said Brush. I’m glad to come.” He was