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DEC162014
The Crazy Little Thing Called Love Reading Quiz

The Crazy Little Thing Called Love Reading quiz is going to take place on 12th February, 2015. The competitors (three-member teams) are required to read the following ten stories in order to prepare for the quiz.

ALAN MALEY: YOU’LL NEVER KNOW


“Please enter your password,”came the recorded voice on Tony’s answerphone.He did so.”You have … one … new message.To hear your message,press one.”He thought it was one of his customers who had called after the office had closed the night before.But no.Instead of a normal spoken voice,he heard part of a song.”You’ll never know just how much I love you.You’ll never know just how much I care.”It was a bit old-fashioned but the message was clear.Yet who had left it?Was it a practical joke?Was it serious?If it was,who could have left a message like this,without leaving a name?
Tony had been working at the agency for five years,ever since he left university.It was a small business run by the owner Fergus McDowell,a Scot with a fiery temper but a good nose for business.They were literary agents.That is,they helped authors to find publishers for their work and gave them advice on contracts and other publishing matters.When they got a book published,they earned a percentage of the profits.It was a good business.But Fergus did not believe in wasting money.He had a small staff.Tony looked after non-fiction titles.(Fergus handled the more glamorous fiction himself.)Fergus’s daughter,Fiona,was Office Manager and his other daughter,Daphne,handled publicity and contracts.Cindy the typist was also stamp-licker,photocopier,fax machine operator,coffeemaker and general dogsbody.
Tony wondered if any of these three ladies had left the mysterious message.He was a shy man who did not make friends easily,especially women friends.He had never had a proper girlfriend (though he did have a number of friends who were girls).So he was pretty certain that,if the message was not a joke,it must have been sent by one of the girls in the office.The only other possibility was Sharon Peabody.Sharon was an American economist who had invited Tony round to her flat for drinks a year back.The evening had ended in embarrassment for them both.Sharon had returned to New York and had not been heard of since.No,it could not be Sharon,she would have been much more direct.
His thoughts were interrupted by the entrance of Fergus,waving a handful of papers.Tobias Sandfurth,a leading management writer,wanted them to take over his publishing affairs.Tony would have to go over to Paris,where Tobias lived,to confirm the details.Here was the ticket.The plane would leave at 3 p.m. from Heathrow.He could read the file on the plane,have dinner with Sandfurth,tie up the deal the following morning (Fergus always pronounced it “morrrning”) and be back by the evening.Tony had learnt not to argue with Fergus,so he cleared his desk and went home to pack an overnight bag.
In the airport lounge he thought again about who might have left the message.First of all there was Fiona.She must have been about thirty.She had long chestnut coloured hair which she wore up in a twist fastened with a tortoiseshell comb.Her eyes were green and full of intelligence,but often looked sad.She was always elegantly dressed but never wore bright colours.She did not smile much but when she did you could see her inner kindness.He liked her voice too.It was a deep contralto with a very slight Scottish brogue.Her laughter was like music.He realized that he knew almost nothing about her life outside the office.He did know she had moved away from the family house after the death of their mother several months earlier.She worked hard and often stayed late at the office.He did not think she would have left such a message.He knew she liked him because she sometimes smiled at him shyly … but no,she would not leave messages.
Daphne was quite a different type.She had short black hair and sparkling,mischievous eyes.She was a couple of years younger than Fiona – about his age in fact.When she spoke she seemed to bubble.She always seemed to be wearing new clothes,always the latest fashion.Although she still lived at home,she spent most of her time out,going to late-night parties and discos.On weekends she went windsurfing or flew off to the Riviera or to Alpine ski resorts.She had lots of boyfriends.He sometimes wondered if she was hiding a deep unhappiness behind her frantic lifestyle.She was always very friendly to him,though.She often popped into his office for a chat, or patting his arm.She’d even kissed him once at the office Christmas party,nothing serious though.He was sure that she was not interested in him.Her social life was too interesting.
That left Cindy.She was a cheeky little thing,a typical Londoner.She had an Afro hair style and usually wore mini-skirts,tight sweaters and very high heels.But she was really nice to have around.She never complained and always had something cheerful or humorous to say.Even Fergus sometimes laughed at her jokes.Until recently she had been picked up regularly by her boyfriend Nigel (Nige for short).He always wore patched jeans and a tattered leather jacket.He had safety pins through each ear and an apache hair-do,pink and green.ewhere in the East End where his fellow punks met every evening to “have fun”.”You only live once,don’t you darling?”she used to say.She had broken up with Nige several weeks earlier.Occasionally she came to sit on Tony’s desk to tell him her troubles when the others had gone home.Once he had even invited her for a drink in the pub on the corner.But he wasn’t her type at all.He knew that.Anyway,she was far too young for him.
His thoughts were interrupted by the flight announcement.He picked up his bag and filed through to the waiting aircraft.The rest of his trip to Paris was a blur of activity.His discussions with Sandfurth were successful and he returned home late the next evening to his tiny basement flat in Bayswater.He felt exhausted.
Next morning he went in late.Immediately Fergus called for a report on his trip.It was mid-afternoon before he returned to his own office.There were two messages on his machine.Both were musical!”Lithuanians and Let’s do it,Let’s do it,Let’s fall in love”,was the first.The second was “You’ll never know …”again.He put the phone down and decided not to think about it again.He now felt sure it was some kind of joke.It couldn’t possibly be serious.He knew it could not be anyone in the office:Fiona was too serious,Daphne was too trendy,Cindy was too young.
The next few weeks passed normally.About once a week he would find a new message on his machine:”I’ve never loved like this before …”,”… with just a look.Could we have been in love once before?Is now the time?It seems that I know you so well.”He began to realize that this was no joke.Someone was really trying to tell him that they loved him.But who?Who would go to all the trouble?
Two days later he returned to the office in the late afternoon after lunch with a very difficult,unpleasant author.It was a fine May day.He had walked back to clear the disagrreable memory of the man from his mind.The air was full of the perfumes of spring flowers.On his machine he found two messages.The first was the well-known “You’ll never know”.The second was,”Meet me on the corner.I’ll be waiting there.”The second message had been recorded three times,as if it was specially important.
Cindy had already gone.Daphne put her hand round the door to say goodnight.She seemed to be looking for an excuse to stay but he did not look up.”See you then.I’m just going for a quick drink at the wine bar,”she said hesitantly.She left.Fiona was still working in her office at the end of the corridor.He needed to check a detail in a letter from the difficult author.As he was opening his door,she emerged from hers.He asked for the information which she gave him.”I wonder if that will satisfy him?”he asked.She looked at him with her green eyes.They looked so full of feeling in the evening light.”You’ll never know probably,”she said looking at him intensely,and walked down the stairs.
He suddenly realized what she had said.It was Fiona.She was the one!He grabbed his things,ran downstairs,and caught up with her as she reached the corner..Yes,the corner.”Meet me on the corner,”the song rang in his ears.He clumsily invited her to have a glass of wine with him at the corner wine bar.They did not see Daphne sitting in the corner when they came in.She quickly got up and left by the side entrance.That was it really.They realized very quickly that they were “made for each other” as a song might put it.Within six months they were married.
Our father died the following year and Tony took over.My guess is that Tony never mentioned the phone messages to Fiona. He would have been too embarrassed.So of course, she never even knew what brought them together. Everyone thought that I, Daphne, was the bright attractive one, but my sister Fiona got the man I loved.Why didn’t I tell him myself? How could I have done that to my own sister? And they have three lovely kids now anyway. If only I’d told him I loved him! But it was too late! I went to America. I got married myself. It was a disaster. I could never have been happy with anyone but Tony.


"The Story of An Hour" by Kate Chopin


Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death.
It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband's friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard's name leading the list of "killed." He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.
She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister's arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.
There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.
She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.
There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.
She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.
She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought.
There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.
Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will--as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been. When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under hte breath: "free, free, free!" The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.
She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial. She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.
There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.
And yet she had loved him--sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!
"Free! Body and soul free!" she kept whispering.
Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhold, imploring for admission. "Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door--you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven's sake open the door."
"Go away. I am not making myself ill." No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.
Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.
She arose at length and opened the door to her sister's importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister's waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom.
Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine's piercing cry; at Richards' quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife.
When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease--of the joy that kills.



Graham Greene: A Shocking Accident


Jerome was called into his housemaster's room in the break between the second and the third class on a Tuesday morning. He had no fear of trouble, for he was a warden - the name that the proprietor and headmaster of a rather expensive preparatory school had chosen to give to approved, reliable boys in the lower forms (from a warden one became a guardian and finally before leaving, it was hoped for Marlborough or Rugby, a crusader). The housemaster, Mr Wordsworth, sat behind his desk with an appearance of perplexity and apprehension. Jerome had the odd impression when he entered that he was a cause of fear.
'Sit down, Jerome,' Mr Wordsworth said. 'All going well with the trigonometry?'
'Yes, sir.'
'I've had a telephone call, Jerome. From your aunt. I'm afraid I have bad news for you.'
'Yes, sir?'
'Your father has had an accident.'
'Oh.'
Mr Wordsworth looked at him with some surprise. 'A serious accident.'
'Yes, sir?'
Jerome worshipped his father: the verb is exact. As man re-creates God, so Jerome re-created his father - from a restless widowed author into a mysterious adventurer who travelled in far places - Nice, Beirut, Majorca, even the Canaries. The time had arrived about his eighth birthday when Jerome believed that his father either 'ran guns' or was a member of the British Secret Service. Now it occurred to him that his father might have been wounded in 'a hail of machine-gun bullets'.
Mr Wordsworth played with the ruler on his desk. He seemed at a loss how to continue. He said, 'You know your father was in Naples?'
'Yes, sir.'
'Your aunt heard from the hospital today.'
'Oh.'
Mr Wordsworth said with desperation, 'It was a street accident.'
'Yes, sir?' It seemed quite likely to Jerome that they would call it a street accident. The police of course fired first; his father would not take human life except as a last resort.
'I'm afraid your father was very seriously hurt indeed.'
'Oh.'
'In fact, Jerome, he died yesterday. Quite without pain.'
'Did they shoot him through the heart?'
'I beg your pardon. What did you say, Jerome?'
'Did they shoot him through the heart?'
'Nobody shot him, Jerome. A pig fell on him.' An inexplicable convulsion took place in the nerves of Mr Wordsworth's face; it really looked for a moment as though he were going to laugh. He closed his eyes, composed his features and said rapidly as though it were necessary to expel the story as rapidly as possible. 'Your father was walking along a street in Naples when a pig fell on him. A shocking accident. Apparently in the poorer quarters of Naples they keep pigs on their balconies. This one was on the fifth floor. It had grown too fat. The balcony broke. The pig fell on your father.'
Mr Wordsworth left his desk rapidly and went to the window, turning his back on Jerome. He shook a little with emotion.
Jerome said, 'What happened to the pig?'
This was not callousness on the part of Jerome, as it was interpreted by Mr Wordsworth to his colleagues (he even discussed with them whether, perhaps, Jerome was yet fitted to be a warden). Jerome was only attempting to visualize the strange scene to get the details right. Nor was Jerome a boy who cried; he was a boy who brooded, and it never occurred to him at his preparatory school that the circumstances of his father's death were comic - they were still part of the mysteries of life. It was later, in his first term at his public school, when he told the story to his best friend that he began to realize how it affected others. Naturally after that disclosure he was known, rather unreasonably, as Pig.
Unfortunately his aunt had no sense of humour. There was an enlarged snapshot of his father on the piano; a large sad man in an unsuitable dark suit posed in Capri with an umbrella (to guard him against sunstroke), the Faraglione rocks forming the background. By the age of sixteen Jerome was well aware that the portrait looked more like the author of Sunshine and Shade and Ramblers in the Balearics than an agent of the Secret Service. All the same he loved the memory of his father: he still possessed an album fitted with picture-postcards (the stamps had been soaked off long ago for his other collection), and it pained him when his aunt embarked with strangers on the story of his father's death.
'A shocking accident,' she would begin, and the stranger would compose his or her features into the correct shape for interest and commiseration. Both reactions, of course, were false, but it was terrible for Jerome to see how suddenly, midway in her rambling discourse, the interest would become genuine. 'I can't think how such things can be allowed in a civilized country,' his aunt would say. 'I suppose one has to regard Italy as civilized. One is prepared for all kinds of things abroad, of course, and my brother was a great traveller. He always carried a water-filter with him. It was far less expensive, you know, than buying all those bottles of mineral water. My brother always said that his filter paid for his dinner wine. You can see from that what a careful man he was, but who could possibly have expected when he was walking along the Via Dottore Manuele Panucci on his way to the Hydrographic Museum that a pig would fall on him?' That was the moment when the interest became genuine.
Jerome's father had not been a very distinguished writer, but the time always seems to come, after an author's death, when somebody thinks it worth his while to write a letter to the Times Literary Supplement announcing the preparation of a biography and asking to see any letters or documents or receive anecdotes from friends of the dead man. Most of the biographies, of course, never appear - one wonders whether the whole thing may not be an obscure form of blackmail and whether many a potential writer of a biography or thesis finds the means in this way to finish his education at Kansas or Nottingham. Jerome, however, as a chartered accountant, lived far from the literary world. He did not realize how small the menace really was, or that the danger period for someone of his father's obscurity had long passed. Sometimes he rehearsed the method of recounting his father's death so as to reduce the comic element to its smallest dimensions - it would be of no use to refuse information, for in that case the biographer would undoubtedly visit his aunt who was living to a great old age with no sign of flagging.
It seemed to Jerome that there were two possible methods - the first led gently up to the accident, so that by the time it was described the listener was so well prepared that the death came really as an anti-climax. The chief danger of laughter in such a story was always surprise. When he rehearsed his method Jerome began boringly enough.
'You know Naples and those high tenement buildings? Somebody once told me that the Neapolitan always feels at home in New York just as the man from Turin feels at home in London because the river runs in much the same way in both cities. Where was I? Oh, yes. Naples, of course. You'd be surprised in the poorer quarters what things they keep on the balconies of those sky-scraping tenements - not washing, you know, or bedding, but things like livestock, chickens or even pigs. Of course the pigs get no exercise whatever and fatten all the quicker.' He could imagine how his hearer's eyes would have glazed by this time. 'I've no idea, have you, how heavy a pig can be, but these old buildings are all badly in need of repair. A balcony on the fifth floor gave way under one of those pigs. It struck the third floor balcony on its way down and sort of ricochetted into the street. My father was on the way to the Hydrographic Museum when the pig hit him. Coming from that height and that angle it broke his neck.' This was really a masterly attempt to make an intrinsically interesting subject boring.
The other method Jerome rehearsed had the virtue of brevity.
'My father was killed by a pig.'
'Really? In India?'
'No, in Italy.'
'How interesting. I never realized there was pig-sticking in Italy. Was your father keen on polo?'
In course of time, neither too early nor too late, rather as though, in his capacity as a chartered accountant, Jerome had studied the statistics and taken the average, he became engaged to be married: to a pleasant fresh-faced girl of twenty-five whose father was a doctor in Pinner. Her name was Sally, her favourite author was still Hugh Walpole, and she had adored babies ever since she had been given a doll at the age of five which moved its eyes and made water. Their relationship was contented rather than exciting, as became the love-affair of a chartered accountant; it would never have done if it had interfered with the figures.
One thought worried Jerome, however. Now that within a year he might himself become a father, his love for the dead man increased; he realized what affection had gone into the picture-postcards. He felt a longing to protect his memory, and uncertain whether this quiet love of his would survive if Sally were so insensitive as to laugh when she heard the story of his father's death. Inevitably she would hear it when Jerome brought her to dinner with his aunt. Several times he tried to tell her himself, as she was naturally anxious to know all she could that concerned him.
'You were very small when your father died?'
'Just nine.'
'Poor little boy,' she said.
'I was at school. They broke the news to me.'
'Did you take it very hard?'
'I can't remember.'
'You never told me how it happened.'
'It was very sudden. A street accident.'
'You'll never drive fast, will you, Jemmy?' (She had begun to call him 'Jemmy'.) It was too late then to try the second method - the one he thought of as the pig-sticking one.
They were going to marry quietly in a registry-office and have their honeymoon at Torquay. He avoided taking her to see his aunt until a week before the wedding, but then the night came, and he could not have told himself whether his apprehension was more for his father's memory or the security of his own love.
The moment came all too soon. 'Is that Jemmy's father?' Sally asked, picking up the portrait of the man with the umbrella.
'Yes, dear. How did you guess?'
'He has Jemmy's eyes and brow, hasn't he?'
'Has Jerome lent you his books?'
'No.'
'I will give you a set for your wedding. He wrote so tenderly about his travels. My own favourite is Nooks and Crannies . He would have had a great future. It made that shocking accident all the worse.'
'Yes?'
Jerome longed to leave the room and not see that loved face crinkle with irresistible amusement.
'I had so many letters from his readers after the pig fell on him.' She had never been so abrupt before. And then the miracle happened. Sally did not laugh. Sally sat with open eyes of horror while his aunt told her the story, and at the end, 'How horrible,' Sally said. 'It makes you think, doesn't it? Happening like that. Out of a clear sky.'
Jerome's heart sang with joy. It was as though she had appeased his fear for ever. In the taxi going home he kissed her with more passion than he had ever shown and she returned it. There were babies in her pale blue pupils, babies that rolled their eyes and made water.
'A week today,' Jerome said, and she squeezed his hand. 'Penny for your thoughts, my darling.'
'I was wondering,' Sally said, 'what happened to the poor pig?'
'They almost certainly had it for dinner,' Jerome said happily and kissed the dear child again.


Hannah by Malachi Whitaker


  The girl Hannah was seventeen, and she had made almost all that array of cakes and pastries on the kitchen dresser. She stood looking at them, her healthy pink face glowing with pride. She wore a blue dress and a white apron, and her hair waved down her back to her waist in a golden-brown shower.
   The party should be a lovely one. All the girls from her Sunday-school class were coming, and four of the best-behaved boys as well. Then there was to be the young man, Thomas Henry Smithson, the one that all the girls secretly laughed at. Really, he was too conscientious, too lumberingly polite for anything. His hats seemed always small, his trousers tight, his boots big. But her mother liked him. He helped to make things go, sang a few songs in a voice he called baritone, and never lost his temper.
   Hannah felt that she could put up with anything so long as Ralph Wellings turned up. He was nineteen. A strange boy for the little, fat, jolly parson to have as his son! Hannah had heard that he was wild, but he had never seemed wild to her. Sometimes they had met in the twilight, and he had walked along by her side through Pennyfoot woods to Hoyle's farm and carried the dozen eggs that she had gone to fetch back with him in a sugar-bag.
   Of course, you were supposed to be still a child at seventeen, but Hannah didn't feel exactly like a child. She could talk to Ralph Wellings about the things she knew --the proper way to make candied toffee, the books she had recently found in the attic, old books in which all the letter esses were effs1, the nicest hymn tunes. He never laughed at her, and she found this refreshing.
   She loved him very much, admiring his forehead, for some reason, most of all. It was high and white. His blue-black hair, parted at the side, waved as beautifully as did hers. "If we get married and have some children, they're sure to have curly hair," she thought. She liked, too, his flecked hazel eyes and his long fingers with their triangular nails. He called her "nice child", and always seemed glad to see her.
   She took her entranced gaze from the cakes and went into the dairy. The house had once been a farm, and the cool, stone-shelved room was still called the dairy. One side of it was laden with food. There was a whole, crumb-browned ham on a dish by the side of a meat-plate on which stood a perfectly cooked sirloin of beef. Another dish held four or five pounds of plump, cooked sausages. The trifles were ready, so were the stewed fruits for those who liked plainer sweets, and there was more cream, Hannah felt, than could possibly be used.
   She ran out of the room, smiling with delight, to look for her mother.
   "Are you getting ready, mother?" she called.
   "Yes."
   Her mother stood, bare-armed, in front of the oval mirror, a worried look in her eyes, her mouth filled with steel hairpins. She had her skirt on, but her black satin bodice was flung over the curved bedrail.
   "Aren't you washed, child?" She seemed to speak harshly because of the hairpins. "The company'll be here before we know where we are. We sh?ll have a rush, you'll see."
   "Never mind, mother, everything looks lovely. I wish the party was beginning just now."
   She ran out of the room and changed her dress in a perfect fury of speed. Her face was clean enough, her hands white. What was the use of washing over and over again? Now she was in the summer pink dress that made her look older than ever before. The skirt was flounced, and she jumped round ballooning it, running a comb through her hair at the same time.
   "He'll like me, he'll like me, he will," she chanted. And she ran across to her mother's room and flung herself panting on the great bed.
   "Hannah, Hannah, be a lady!" cried her mother, rebukingly.
  
   **** **** **** **** **** **** ****
   Hannah seemed to have been asleep for a long time. She woke slowly, feeling the grey light on her eyelids. Her hands, gnarled and shrunken, lay outside the blue-and-white coverlet. A shadowed white plait straggled over one shoulder, thinning to a thread-tied end as it reached her breast.
   She moved a little, opened her eyes, and moistened her lips. The morning was sunny and still. It felt warm, warm. She dozed a little and went on thinking of the party her mother had given when she was seventeen. On that day Ralph Wellings had kissed her for the first time. Unknowingly she smiled. The pink dress with its flounces, she remembered that, too. How lovely it had all been.
   She looked up when the door opened and frowned a little, seeing an ugly, middle-aged woman with a paper-backed book in her hand.
   "Well, grandma," the woman said in a kind and cheerful voice, "I've been up a few times, but you were asleep. George is just going to the Post Office in the doctor's car, so will you sign the pension form? He's in a bit of a hurry. I'll help you up."
   She put a soft wrap about the old woman's shoulders and supported her while she wrote. "H-a-n-n-a-h" she mouthed, then her attention was attracted by something else for a moment. She stared at the completed form and gave a fretful cry. "Oh, grandma, you've gone and done it again! We sh?ll have no end of bother. You've signed Hannah Wellings, and your name's Smithson ? Smithson ? Smithson."



An Angel in Disguise by T.S. Arthur


Idleness, vice, and intemperance had done their miserable work, and the dead mother lay cold and still amid her wretched children. She had fallen upon the threshold of her own door in a drunken fit, and died in the presence of her frightened little ones.
Death touches the spring of our common humanity. This woman had been despised, scoffed at, and angrily denounced by nearly every man, woman, and child in the village; but now, as the fact of her death was passed from lip to lip, in subdued tones, pity took the place of anger, and sorrow of denunciation. Neighbors went hastily to the old tumble-down hut, in which she had secured little more than a place of shelter from summer heats and winter cold: some with grave-clothes for a decent interment of the body; and some with food for the half-starving children, three in number. Of these, John, the oldest, a boy of twelve, was a stout lad, able to earn his living with any farmer. Kate, between ten and eleven, was bright, active girl, out of whom something clever might be made, if in good hands; but poor little Maggie, the youngest, was hopelessly diseased. Two years before a fall from a window had injured her spine, and she had not been able to leave her bed since, except when lifted in the arms of her mother.
"What is to be done with the children?" That was the chief question now. The dead mother would go underground, and be forever beyond all care or concern of the villagers. But the children must not be left to starve. After considering the matter, and talking it over with his wife, farmer Jones said that he would take John, and do well by him, now that his mother was out of the way; and Mrs. Ellis, who had been looking out for a bound girl, concluded that it would be charitable in her to make choice of Katy, even though she was too young to be of much use for several years.
"I could do much better, I know," said Mrs. Ellis; "but as no one seems inclined to take her, I must act from a sense of duty expect to have trouble with the child; for she's an undisciplined thing--used to having her own way."
But no one said "I'll take Maggie." Pitying glances were cast on her wan and wasted form and thoughts were troubled on her account. Mothers brought cast-off garments and, removing her soiled and ragged clothes, dressed her in clean attire. The sad eyes and patient face of the little one touched many hearts, and even knocked at them for entrance. But none opened to take her in. Who wanted a bed-ridden child?
"Take her to the poorhouse," said a rough man, of whom the question "What's to be done with Maggie?" was asked. "Nobody's going to be bothered with her."
"The poorhouse is a sad place for a sick and helpless child," answered one.
"For your child or mine," said the other, lightly speaking; "but for tis brat it will prove a blessed change, she will be kept clean, have healthy food, and be doctored, which is more than can be said of her past condition."
There was reason in that, but still it didn't satisfy. The day following the day of death was made the day of burial. A few neighbors were at the miserable hovel, but none followed dead cart as it bore the unhonored remains to its pauper grave. Farmer Jones, after the coffin was taken out, placed John in his wagon and drove away, satisfied that he had done his part. Mrs. Ellis spoke to Kate with a hurried air, "Bid your sister good by," and drew the tearful children apart ere scarcely their lips had touched in a sobbing farewell. Hastily others went out, some glancing at Maggie, and some resolutely refraining from a look, until all had gone. She was alone! Just beyond the threshold Joe Thompson, the wheelwright, paused, and said to the blacksmith's wife, who was hastening off with the rest,--
"It's a cruel thing to leave her so."
"Then take her to the poorhouse: she'll have to go there," answered the blacksmith's wife, springing away, and leaving Joe behind.
For a little while the man stood with a puzzled air; then he turned back, and went into the hovel again. Maggie with painful effort, had raised herself to an upright position and was sitting on the bed, straining her eyes upon the door out of which all had just departed, A vague terror had come into her thin white face.
"O, Mr. Thompson!" she cried out, catching her suspended breath, "don't leave me here all alone!"
Though rough in exterior, Joe Thompson, the wheelwright, had a heart, and it was very tender in some places. He liked children, and was pleased to have them come to his shop, where sleds and wagons were made or mended for the village lads without a draft on their hoarded sixpences.
"No, dear," he answered, in a kind voice, going to the bed, and stooping down over the child, "You sha'n't be left here alone." Then he wrapped her with the gentleness almost of a woman, in the clean bedclothes which some neighbor had brought; and, lifting her in his strong arms, bore her out into the air and across the field that lay between the hovel and his home.
Now, Joe Thompson's wife, who happened to be childless, was not a woman of saintly temper, nor much given to self-denial for others' good, and Joe had well-grounded doubts touching the manner of greeting he should receive on his arrival. Mrs. Thompson saw him approaching from the window, and with ruffling feathers met him a few paces from the door, as he opened the garden gate, and came in. He bore a precious burden, and he felt it to be so. As his arms held the sick child to his breast, a sphere of tenderness went out from her, and penetrated his feelings. A bond had already corded itself around them both, and love was springing into life.
"What have you there?" sharply questioned Mrs. Thompson.
Joe, felt the child start and shrink against him. He did not reply, except by a look that was pleading and cautionary, that said, "Wait a moment for explanations, and be gentle;" and, passing in, carried Maggie to the small chamber on the first floor, and laid her on a bed. Then, stepping back, he shut the door, and stood face to face with his vinegar-tempered wife in the passage-way outside.
"You haven't brought home that sick brat!" Anger and astonishment were in the tones of Mrs. Joe Thompson; her face was in a flame.
"I think women's hearts are sometimes very hard," said Joe. Usually Joe Thompson got out of his wife's way, or kept rigidly silent and non-combative when she fired up on any subject; it was with some surprise, therefore, that she now encountered a firmly-set countenance and a resolute pair of eyes.
"Women's hearts are not half so hard as men's!"
Joe saw, by a quick intuition, that his resolute bearing had impressed his wife and he answered quickly, and with real indignation, "Be that as it may, every woman at the funeral turned her eyes steadily from the sick child's face, and when the cart went off with her dead mother, hurried away, and left her alone in that old hut, with the sun not an hour in the sky."
"Where were John and Kate?" asked Mrs. Thompson.
"Farmer Jones tossed John into his wagon, and drove off. Katie went home with Mrs. Ellis; but nobody wanted the poor sick one. 'Send her to the poorhouse,' was the cry."
"Why didn't you let her go, then. What did you bring her here for?"
"She can't walk to the poorhouse," said Joe; "somebody's arms must carry her, and mine are strong enough for that task."
"Then why didn't you keep on? Why did you stop here?" demanded the wife.
"Because I'm not apt to go on fools' errands. The Guardians must first be seen, and a permit obtained."
There was no gainsaying this.
"When will you see the Guardians?" was asked, with irrepressible impatience.
"To-morrow."
"Why put it off till to-morrow? Go at once for the permit, and get the whole thing off of your hands to-night."
"Jane," said the wheelwright, with an impressiveness of tone that greatly subdued his wife, "I read in the Bible sometimes, and find much said about little children. How the Savior rebuked the disciples who would not receive them; how he took them up in his arms, and blessed them; and how he said that 'whosoever gave them even a cup of cold water should not go unrewarded.' Now, it is a small thing for us to keep this poor motherless little one for a single night; to be kind to her for a single night; to make her life comfortable for a single night."
The voice of the strong, rough man shook, and he turned his head away, so that the moisture in his eyes might not be seen. Mrs. Thompson did not answer, but a soft feeling crept into her heart.
"Look at her kindly, Jane; speak to her kindly," said Joe. "Think of her dead mother, and the loneliness, the pain, the sorrow that must be on all her coming life." The softness of his heart gave unwonted eloquence to his lips.
Mrs. Thompson did not reply, but presently turned towards the little chamber where her husband had deposited Maggie; and, pushing open the door, went quietly in. Joe did not follow; he saw that, her state had changed, and felt that it would be best to leave her alone with the child. So he went to his shop, which stood near the house, and worked until dusky evening released him from labor. A light shining through the little chamber windows was the first object that attracted Joe's attention on turning towards the house: it was a good omen. The path led him by this windows and, when opposite, he could not help pausing to look in. It was now dark enough outside to screen him from observation. Maggie lay, a little raised on the pillow with the lamp shining full upon her face. Mrs. Thompson was sitting by the bed, talking to the child; but her back was towards the window, so that her countenance was not seen. From Maggie's face, therefore, Joe must read the character of their intercourse. He saw that her eyes were intently fixed upon his wife; that now and then a few words came, as if in answers from her lips; that her expression was sad and tender; but he saw nothing of bitterness or pain. A deep-drawn breath was followed by one of relief, as a weight lifted itself from his heart.
On entering, Joe did not go immediately to the little chamber. His heavy tread about the kitchen brought his wife somewhat hurriedly from the room where she had been with Maggie. Joe thought it best not to refer to the child, nor to manifest any concern in regard to her.
"How soon will supper be ready?" he asked.
"Right soon," answered Mrs. Thompson, beginning to bustle about. There was no asperity in her voice.
After washing from his hands and face the dust and soil of work, Joe left the kitchen, and went to the little bedroom. A pair of large bright eyes looked up at him from the snowy bed; looked at him tenderly, gratefully, pleadingly. How his heart swelled in his bosom! With what a quicker motion came the heart-beats! Joe sat down, and now, for the first time, examining the thin frame carefully under the lamp light, saw that it was an attractive face, and full of a childish sweetness which suffering had not been able to obliterate.
"Your name is Maggie?" he said, as he sat down and took her soft little hand in his.
"Yes, sir." Her voice struck a chord that quivered in a low strain of music.
"Have you been sick long?"
"Yes, sir." What a sweet patience was in her tone!
"Has the doctor been to see you?"
"He used to come."
"But not lately?"
"No, sir."
"Have you any pain?"
"Sometimes, but not now."
"When had you pain?"
"This morning my side ached, and my back hurt when you carried me."
"It hurts you to be lifted or moved about?"
"Yes, sir."
"Your side doesn't ache now?"
"No, sir."
"Does it ache a great deal?"
"Yes, sir; but it hasn't ached any since I've been on this soft bed."
"The soft bed feels good."
"O, yes, sir--so good!" What a satisfaction, mingled with gratitude, was in her voice!
"Supper is ready," said Mrs. Thompson, looking into the room a little while afterwards.
Joe glanced from his wife's face to that of Maggie; she understood him, and answered,--
"She can wait until we are done; then I will bring her somethings to eat." There was an effort at indifference on the part of Mrs. Thompson, but her husband had seen her through the window, and understood that the coldness was assumed. Joe waited, after sitting down to the table, for his wife to introduce the subject uppermost in both of their thoughts; but she kept silent on that theme, for many minutes, and he maintained a like reserve. At last she said, abruptly,--
"What are you going to do with that child?"
"I thought you understood me that she was to go to the poorhouse," replied Joe, as if surprised at her question.
Mrs. Thompson looked rather strangely at her husband for sonic moments, and then dropped her eyes. The subject was not again referred to during the meal. At its close, Mrs. Thompson toasted a slice of bread, and softened, it with milk and butter; adding to this a cup of tea, she took them into Maggie, and held the small waiter, on which she had placed them, while the hungry child ate with every sign of pleasure.
"Is it good?" asked Mrs. Thompson, seeing with what a keen relish the food was taken.
The child paused with the cup in her hand, and answered with a look of gratitude that awoke to new life old human feelings which had been slumbering in her heart for half a score of years.
"We'll keep her a day or two longer; she is so weak and helpless," said Mrs. Joe Thompson, in answer to her husband's remark, at breakfast-time on the next morning, that he must step down and see the Guardians of the Poor about Maggie.
"She'll be so much in your way," said Joe.
"I sha'n't mind that for a day or two. Poor thing!"
Joe did not see the Guardians of the Poor on that day, on the next, nor on the day following. In fact, he never saw them at all on Maggie's account, for in less than a week Mrs. Joe Thompson would as soon leave thought of taking up her own abode in the almshouse as sending Maggie there.
What light and blessing did that sick and helpless child bring to the home of Joe Thompson, the poor wheelwright! It had been dark, and cold, and miserable there for a long time just because his wife had nothing to love and care for out of herself, and so became sore, irritable, ill-tempered, and self-afflicting in the desolation of her woman's nature. Now the sweetness of that sick child, looking ever to her in love, patience, and gratitude, was as honey to her soul, and she carried her in her heart as well as in her arms, a precious burden. As for Joe Thompson, there was not a man in all the neighborhood who drank daily of a more precious wine of life than he. An angel had come into his house, disguised as a sick, helpless, and miserable child, and filled all its dreary chambers with the sunshine of love.


THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE by Oscar Wilde


"She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses,"cried the young Student; "but in all my garden there is no redrose."
From her nest in the holm-oak tree the Nightingale heard him,andshe looked out through the leaves, and wondered.
"No red rose in all my garden!" he cried, and his beautiful eyesfilled with tears. "Ah, on what little things does happinessdepend! I have read all that the wise men have written, and all
the secrets of philosophy are mine, yet for want of a red rose ismy life made wretched."
"Here at last is a true lover," said the Nightingale. "Night afternight have I sung of him, though I knew him not: night after nighthave I told his story to the stars, and now I see him. His hair is
dark as the hyacinth-blossom, and his lips are red as the rose ofhis desire; but passion has made his face like pale ivory, and sorrow has set her seal upon his brow."
"The Prince gives a ball to-morrow night," murmured the youngStudent, "and my love will be of the company. If I bring her a redrose she will dance with me till dawn. If I bring her a red rose,
I shall hold her in my arms, and she will lean her head upon my shoulder, and her hand will be clasped in mine. But there is no red rose in my garden, so I shall sit lonely, and she will pass me
by. She will have no heed of me, and my heart will break."
"Here indeed is the true lover," said the Nightingale. "What Ising of, he suffers--what is joy to me, to him is pain. SurelyLove is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds, and
dearer than fine opals. Pearls and pomegranates cannot buy it, nor is it set forth in the marketplace. It may not be purchased of the merchants, nor can it be weighed out in the balance for gold."
"The musicians will sit in their gallery," said the young Student,"and play upon their stringed instruments, and my love will dance to the sound of the harp and the violin. She will dance so lightly that her feet will not touch the floor, and the courtiers in their gay dresses will throng round her. But with me she will not dance, for I have no red rose to give her"; and he flung himself down on the grass, and buried his face in his hands, and wept.
"Why is he weeping?" asked a little Green Lizard, as he ran past him with his tail in the air.

"Why, indeed?" said a Butterfly, who was fluttering about after asunbeam.
"Why, indeed?" whispered a Daisy to his neighbour, in a soft, low voice.
"He is weeping for a red rose," said the Nightingale.
"For a red rose?" they cried; "how very ridiculous!" and the little Lizard, who was something of a cynic, laughed outright.
But the Nightingale understood the secret of the Student's sorrow, and she sat silent in the oak-tree, and thought about the mystery of Love.
Suddenly she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air. She passed through the grove like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed across the garden.
In the centre of the grass-plot was standing a beautiful Rose-tree, and when she saw it she flew over to it, and lit upon a spray.
"Give me a red rose," she cried, "and I will sing you my sweetest song."
But the Tree shook its head.
"My roses are white," it answered; "as white as the foam of the sea, and whiter than the snow upon the mountain. But go to my brother who grows round the old sun-dial, and perhaps he will give you what you want."
So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing round the old sun-dial.
"Give me a red rose," she cried, "and I will sing you my sweetest song."
But the Tree shook its head.
"My roses are yellow," it answered; "as yellow as the hair of the mermaiden who sits upon an amber throne, and yellower than thedaffodil that blooms in the meadow before the mower comes with his scythe. But go to my brother who grows beneath the Student's window, and perhaps he will give you what you want."
So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing beneath the Student's window.
"Give me a red rose," she cried, "and I will sing you my sweetest song."
But the Tree shook its head.
"My roses are red," it answered, "as red as the feet of the dove, and redder than the great fans of coral that wave and wave in the ocean-cavern. But the winter has chilled my veins, and the frost
has nipped my buds, and the storm has broken my branches, and I shall have no roses at all this year."
"One red rose is all I want," cried the Nightingale, "only one red rose! Is there no way by which I can get it?"
"There is away," answered the Tree; "but it is so terrible that I dare not tell it to you."
"Tell it to me," said the Nightingale, "I am not afraid."
"If you want a red rose," said the Tree, "you must build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with your own heart's-blood. You must sing to me with your breast against a thorn. All night long you must sing to me, and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your life-blood must flow into my veins, and become mine."
"Death is a great price to pay for a red rose," cried the Nightingale, "and Life is very dear to all. It is pleasant to sit in the green wood, and to watch the Sun in his chariot of gold, and the Moon in her chariot of pearl. Sweet is the scent of the hawthorn, and sweet are the bluebells that hide in the valley, and the heather that blows on the hill. Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?"
So she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air. She swept over the garden like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed through the grove.
The young Student was still lying on the grass, where she had left him, and the tears were not yet dry in his beautiful eyes.
"Be happy," cried the Nightingale, "be happy; you shall have your red rose. I will build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with my own heart's-blood. All that I ask of you in return is that
you will be a true lover, for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though she is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty. Flame- coloured are his wings, and coloured like flame is his body. His lips are sweet as honey, and his breath is like frankincense."
The Student looked up from the grass, and listened, but he could not understand what the Nightingale was saying to him, for he onlyknew the things that are written down in books.
But the Oak-tree understood, and felt sad, for he was very fond of the little Nightingale who had built her nest in his branches.
"Sing me one last song," he whispered; "I shall feel very lonely when you are gone."
So the Nightingale sang to the Oak-tree, and her voice was like water bubbling from a silver jar.
When she had finished her song the Student got up, and pulled a note-book and a lead-pencil out of his pocket.
"She has form," he said to himself, as he walked away through the grove--"that cannot be denied to her; but has she got feeling? I am afraid not. In fact, she is like most artists; she is all
style, without any sincerity. She would not sacrifice herself for others. She thinks merely of music, and everybody knows that the arts are selfish. Still, it must be admitted that she has some
beautiful notes in her voice. What a pity it is that they do not mean anything, or do any practical good." And he went into his room, and lay down on his little pallet-bed, and began to think of
his love; and, after a time, he fell asleep.
And when the Moon shone in the heavens the Nightingale flew to the Rose-tree, and set her breast against the thorn. All night long she sang with her breast against the thorn, and the cold crystal Moon leaned down and listened. All night long she sang, and the thorn went deeper and deeper into her breast, and her life-blood ebbed away from her.
She sang first of the birth of love in the heart of a boy and a girl. And on the top-most spray of the Rose-tree there blossomed a marvellous rose, petal following petal, as song followed song.
Pale was it, at first, as the mist that hangs over the river—pale as the feet of the morning, and silver as the wings of the dawn. As the shadow of a rose in a mirror of silver, as the shadow of a
rose in a water-pool, so was the rose that blossomed on the topmost spray of the Tree.
But the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. "Press closer, little Nightingale," cried the Tree, "or the Day will come before the rose is finished."
So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and louder and louder grew her song, for she sang of the birth of passion in the soul of a man and a maid.
And a delicate flush of pink came into the leaves of the rose, like the flush in the face of the bridegroom when he kisses the lips of the bride. But the thorn had not yet reached her heart, so the rose's heart remained white, for only a Nightingale's heart's-blood can crimson the heart of a rose.
And the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. "Press closer, little Nightingale," cried the Tree, "or the Day will come before the rose is finished."
So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and the thorn touched her heart, and a fierce pang of pain shot through her.
Bitter, bitter was the pain, and wilder and wilder grew her song, for she sang of the Love that is perfected by Death, of the Love that dies not in the tomb.
And the marvellous rose became crimson, like the rose of the eastern sky. Crimson was the girdle of petals, and crimson as a ruby was the heart.
But the Nightingale's voice grew fainter, and her little wings began to beat, and a film came over her eyes. Fainter and fainter grew her song, and she felt something choking her in her throat.
Then she gave one last burst of music. The white Moon heard it, and she forgot the dawn, and lingered on in the sky. The red rose heard it, and it trembled all over with ecstasy, and opened its
petals to the cold morning air. Echo bore it to her purple cavernin the hills, and woke the sleeping shepherds from their dreams. It floated through the reeds of the river, and they carried its message to the sea.
"Look, look!" cried the Tree, "the rose is finished now"; but the Nightingale made no answer, for she was lying dead in the long grass, with the thorn in her heart.
And at noon the Student opened his window and looked out.
"Why, what a wonderful piece of luck!" he cried; "here is a red rose! I have never seen any rose like it in all my life. It is so beautiful that I am sure it has a long Latin name"; and he leaned
down and plucked it.
Then he put on his hat, and ran up to the Professor's house with the rose in his hand.
The daughter of the Professor was sitting in the doorway winding blue silk on a reel, and her little dog was lying at her feet.
"You said that you would dance with me if I brought you a red rose," cried the Student. "Here is the reddest rose in all theworld. You will wear it to-night next your heart, and as we dance
together it will tell you how I love you."
But the girl frowned.
"I am afraid it will not go with my dress," she answered; "and, besides, the Chamberlain's nephew has sent me some real jewels, and everybody knows that jewels cost far more than flowers."
"Well, upon my word, you are very ungrateful," said the Student angrily; and he threw the rose into the street, where it fell into the gutter, and a cart-wheel went over it.
"Ungrateful!" said the girl. "I tell you what, you are very rude; and, after all, who are you? Only a Student. Why, I don't believe you have even got silver buckles to your shoes as the Chamberlain's nephew has"; and she got up from her chair and went into the house.
"What I a silly thing Love is," said the Student as he walked away. "It is not half as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and it is always telling one of things that are not going to
happen, and making one believe things that are not true. In fact, it is quite unpractical, and, as in this age to be practical is everything, I shall go back to Philosophy and study Metaphysics."
So he returned to his room and pulled out a great dusty book, and began to read.

A Very Short Story by Ernest Hemingway
One hot evening in Padua they carried him up onto the roof and he could look out over the top of the town. There were chimney swifts in the sky. After a while it got dark and the searchlights came out. The others went down and took the bottles with them. He and Luz could hear them below on the balcony. Luz sat on the bed. She was cool and fresh in the hot night.
Luz stayed on night duty for three months. They were glad to let her. When they operated on him she prepared him for the operating table; and they had a joke about friend or enema. He went under the anaesthetic holding tight on to himself so he would not blab about anything during the silly, talky time. After he got on crutches he used to take the temperatures so Luz would not have to get up from the bed. There were only a few patients, and they all knew about it. They all liked Luz. As he walked back along the halls he thought of Luz in his bed.
Before he went back to the front they went into the Duomo and prayed. It was dim and quiet, and there were other people praying. They wanted to get married, but there was not enough time for the banns, and neither of them had birth certificates. They felt as though they were married, but they wanted everyone to know about it, and to make it so they could not lose it.
Luz wrote him many letters that he never got until after the armistice. Fifteen came in a bunch to the front and he sorted them by the dates and read them all straight through. They were all about the hospital, and how much she loved him and how it was impossible to get along without him and how terrible it was missing him at night.
After the armistice they agreed he should go home to get a job so they might be married. Luz would not come home until he had a good job and could come to New York to meet her. It was understood he would not drink, and he did not want to see his friends or anyone in the States. Only to get a job and be married. On the train from Padua to Milan they quarreled about her not being willing to come home at once. When they had to say good-bye, in the station at Milan, they kissed good-bye, but were not finished with the quarrel. He felt sick about saying good-bye like that.
He went to America on a boat from Genoa. Luz went back to Pordonone to open a hospital. It was lonely and rainy there, and there was a battalion of arditi quartered in the town. Living in the muddy, rainy town in the winter, the major of the battalion made love to Luz, and she had never known Italians before, and finally wrote to the States that theirs had only been a boy and girl affair. She was sorry, and she knew he would probably not be able to understand, but might some day forgive her, and be grateful to her, and she expected, absolutely unexpectedly, to be married in the spring. She loved him as always, but she realized now it was only a boy and girl love. She hoped he would have a great career, and believed in him absolutely. She knew it was for the best.
The major did not marry her in the spring, or any other time. Luz never got an answer to the letter to Chicago about it. A short time after he contracted gonorrhea from a sales girl in a loop department store while riding in a taxicab through Lincoln Park.

Mabel" by W. Somerset Maugham


I was at Pagan, in Burma, and from there I took the steamer to Mandalay, but a couple of days before I got there, When the boat tied up for the night at a riverside village, I made up my mind to go ashore. The skipper told me that there was a pleasant little club in which I had only to make myself at home; they were quite used to having strangers drop off like that from the steamer, and the secretary was a very decent chap; I might even get a game of bridge. I have nothing in the world to do, so I got into one of the bullock-carts that were waiting at the landing-stage and was driven to the club. There was a man sitting on the veranda and as I walked up he nodded to me and asked whether I would have a whisky and soda or a gin and bitters. The possibility that I would have nothing at all did not even occur to him. I chose the longer drink and sat down. He was a tall, thin, bronzed man, with a big mustache, and he wore khaki shorts and a khaki shirt. I never knew his name, but when we had been chatting a little while another man came in who told me he was the secretary, and he addressed my friend as George.
'Have you heard from your wife yet?' he asked him.
The other's eyes brightened.
'Yes, I had letters by this mail. She's having no end of a time.'
'Did she tell you not to fret?'
George gave a little chuckle, but was I mistaken in thinking that there was in it the shadow of a sob?
'In point of fact she did. But that's easier said than done. Of course I know she wants a holiday, and I'm glad she should have it, but it's devilish hard on a chap.' He turned to me. 'You see, this is the first time I've ever been separated from my misses, and I'm like a lost dog without her.'
'How long have you been married?'
'Five minutes.'
The secretary of the club laughed.
'Don't be a fool, George. You've been married eight years.' After we had talked for a little, George, looking at his watch said he must go and change his clothes for dinner and left us. The secretary watched him disappear into the night with a smile of not unkindly irony.
'We all ask him as much as we can now that he's alone,' he told me. 'He mopes so terribly since his wife went home.'
'It must be very pleasant for he to know that her husband is as devoted to her as all that.'
'Mabel is a remarkable woman.'
He called the boy and ordered more drinks. In this hospitable place they did not ask you if you would have anything; they took it for granted. Then he settle himself in his long chair and lit cheroot. He tole me the story of George and Mabel.
They became engaged when he was home on leave, and when he returned to Burma it was arranged that she should join him in six months. But one difficulty cropped up after another; Mabel's father died, the war cam

Autor: Stručno veće za engleski jezik





04. decembar. Plugodisnji test srpski II
18. septembar. Halloween literary contest
06. april. Canada 150
07. decembar. Literarni konkurs 'Shakespearean Sonnet'
07. decembar. Likovni konkurs 'Shakespeare and His Time'
01. oktobar. Othello (dodatak za kviz)
14. jun. Shakespeare's-450th-birthday
02. april. Likovna sekcija