Heaven's My Destination: A Novel
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Drawing on such unique sources as the author's unpublished letters, business records, and obscure family recollections, Tappan Wilder's Afterword adds a special dimension to the reissue of this hilarious tale about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.
hitting all those girders and things. Then while he was on the ground, waiting for the ambulance, he kept calling: ‘Is anybody here an Elk? Is anybody here an Elk?’ Seems he wanted to talk to an Elk, so Mr. Roberts volunteered. It made a terrible impression on him.” “I’ll be glad to watch out for him tonight, Mrs. Roberts,” said Brush. “I didn’t think he looked very happy.” She turned and said, quickly, with nervous emphasis: “You know, that’s a fact—he’s not happy. I suppose I really oughtn’t
mean to hurt you bad.” They were silent, avoiding his earnest glance. “I don’t believe in hitting people,” he continued. “Do you think you’re hurt any?. . . . Did it give you a headache?” There was another silence. Bill Cronin grunted and put his feet on the ground; the other two put their shoulders under his arms and the three began hobbling off. “After all,” continued Brush, “that was a pretty dirty thing you said about Miss . . . Miss What’s-her-name. You know you oughtn’t to do that.
minutes, that’s all.” Herb groaned: “Oh, go to hell. . . . God! I hate hospitals! . . . Now, listen, Jesus, it’s this way. . . . Hell, what is your name?” “Brush—George Brush.” “Brush, then. I’ve got two hundred and forty dollars in the bank and I’m going to leave them to you so that you can do something for me. Now, I’m going to make this story short and snappy, see? I don’t know whether you knew about it, but I had a wife and kid. I lived at Queenie’s, and she lived with some friends of
things. You’ve lived all your life among the half-baked. You’ve probably never been exposed once in your whole life to anybody who really had any practice in thinking.” “You’d better stop the car,” said Brush. “I’m going to get out.” Then he added, shouting: “I suppose you think nobody with brains ever felt any religion.” “I could talk to you. I could show you things. But in two minutes you’d be squealing holy-murder and starting to jump out of the car. You don’t want to grow up, that’s the
. . His disappearance in the last paragraph shows that he is still the same fellow, trying to think, always turning his experimental thoughts into acts—but after one year’s growth, doing it better, less bound, etc. Except for considerable improvement he is still the same person as in the opening paragraph,—fundamentalist, but more flexible, earnest, but less obstinate; humorless, but wiser. GEORGE BRUSH IN THE FAMILY Wilder saw George Brush’s idealism as a factor in all youth and all