Slippy McGee, Sometimes Known as the Butterfly Man eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 434 pages of information about Slippy McGee, Sometimes Known as the Butterfly Man.
take mudbaths for his liver?  Believe me, he’ll need them!  Why, the man won’t be able to breathe easy any more—­he’ll be expecting one in the solar plexus any minute, not knowing any more than Adam’s cat who’s to hand it to him.  He can’t tell who to trust and who to suspect.  If you want to know just how hard Alexander’s going to be requited according to his works, take a look at these.”  He pointed to the letters.

I did take a look, and I admit I was frightened.  It seemed to me highly unsafe for plain folks like us to know such things about such people.  I was amazed to the point of stupefaction at the corruption those communications betrayed, the shameless and sordid disregard of law and decency, the brutal and cynical indifference to public welfare.  At sight of some of the signatures my head swam—­I felt saddened, disillusioned, almost in despair for humanity.  I suppose Inglesby had thought it wiser to preserve these letters—­possibly for his own safety; but no wonder he had locked them up!  I looked at the Butterfly Man openmouthed.

“You wouldn’t think folks wearing such names could be that rotten, would you?  Some of them pillars of the church, too, and married to good women, and the fathers of nice kids!  Why, I have known crooks that the police of a dozen states were after, that wouldn’t have been caught dead on jobs like some of these.  Inglesby won’t know it, but he ought to thank his stars we’ve got his letters instead of the State Attorney, for I shan’t use them unless I have to....  Parson, you remember a bluejay breaking up a nest on me once, and what Laurence said when I wanted to wring the little crook’s neck?  That the thing isn’t to reform the jay but to keep him from doing it again?  That’s the cue.”

He gathered up the scattered letters, made a neat package of them, and put it in a table drawer behind a stack of note-books.  And then he reached over and touched the other package, the letters written in Mary Virginia’s girlish hand.

“Here’s her happiness—­long, long years of it ahead of her,” he said soberly.  “As for you, you take back those tools, and go say mass.”

Outside it was broad bright day, a new beautiful day, and the breath of the morning blew sweetly over the world.  The Church was full of a clear and early light, the young pale gold of the new Spring sun.  None of the congregation had as yet arrived.  Before I went into the sacristy to put on my vestments, I gave back into St. Stanislaus’ hands the IOU of Slippy McGee.



There was a glamour upon it.  One knew it was going to grow into one of those wonderful and shining days in whose enchanted hours any exquisite miracle might happen.  I am perfectly sure that the Lord God walked in the garden in the cool of an April day, and that it was a morning in spring when the angels visited Abraham, sitting watchful in the door of his tent.

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Slippy McGee, Sometimes Known as the Butterfly Man from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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