After the trip to see Stu, things went back to "normal," but my employer was obviously thinking about the speech more than she let on during the day. She started working on it almost immediately, and there were many occasions when I woke up in the middle of the night to find that she'd got up out of bed and was sitting at her desk writing, the room hazy with pipe smoke.
In some cases, I just rolled over and went back to sleep. On a couple of nights I got up and opened the window slightly, just so I could breathe. On those occasions, she was so deeply involved in her work that I know she didn't even notice, though I'm sure she eventually wondered why her legs were getting cold.
Twice I woke up and she was sitting staring at a piece of paper in abstraction, her pipe cold and dead in its rack. On those nights, I went over, blew out her candle, picked her up and carried her to bed. She didn't protest when I did this, and she was asleep before I even pulled up the covers.
I will spare you any details about the process of deciding what she would wear at the college. Suffice it to say that every possible outfit was considered very carefully, and she owned a lot of clothes. A few times she even proposed buying a new suit, but I told her no. We were trying to make money through this project, among other goals, not to spend it.
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