Spike stood awhile after Mrs. Trapes had gone down-stairs, very silent and with head a-droop, then, slow and heavily, turned and opened his door, but paused to speak over his shoulder in a hoarse whisper.
“Geoff—if ever—any man—made my sister go through what Maggie Finlay went through—I’d—shoot him dead—by God in Heaven, I would!”
TELLS HOW MR. RAVENSLEE WENT INTO TRADE
It was a week later, and Mr. Ravenslee leaned from the window of his room to observe the view, which consisted chiefly of dingy brick walls and dingier windows, swaying vistas of clothes in various stages of dampness, clothes that fluttered from many lines stretched across the court, from window to window, at different altitudes; for to-day it had been washing day in Mulligan’s; also the evening was warm.
So Mr. Ravenslee lounged and smoked and gazed upon the many garments, viewing them with eyes of reverie. Garments, these, of every size and hue and shape and for either sex, garments that writhed and contorted themselves in fantastic dances when gently stirred by a small, cool wind which, wafting across the river from the green New Jersey shore, breathed faintly of pine woods.
He was yet in absorbed contemplation of the aerial gambols of these many garments when to him came Mrs. Trapes, clutching a hot iron.
“Mr. Geoffrey, what’ll you eat for supper?” she demanded.
“Mrs. Trapes, what do you suppose I’m worthy of?”
“How about a lovely piece o’ liver?”
“Liver!” he repeated, rubbing a square, smooth-shaven chin. “Hum! liver sounds a trifle clammy, doesn’t it? Clammy and cold, Mrs. Trapes!”
“Cold?” said she, staring, “cold—of course not! It would be nice an’ hot, with thick gravy an’ a tater or so. An’ as for clammy, who ever heard o’ liver as wasn’t? Calves’ liver, mind! They can’t put me off with sheep’s—no, siree! Skudder’s young man tried to once—he did so!”
“Foolish, foolhardy young man!” murmured Ravenslee.
“Mr. Geoffrey,” sighed Mrs. Trapes, and her elbows were particularly needle-like, “I jest took that piece o’ sheep’s liver an’ wrapped it round that young man’s face.”
“Unhappy young man!” murmured Mr. Ravenslee.
“Y’ see, Mr. Geoffrey, though a widder an’ therefore lorn, I ain’t to be trod on in the matter of livers, or anything else!”
“I’m sure of it, Mrs. Trapes.”
“But if you don’t kind of fancy liver, how about sassiges? Sassiges is tasty an’ filling, an’ cheap. What d’ ye say to sassiges?”
“Sausages,” answered Mr. Ravenslee, shaking grave head, “sausages demand such unbounded faith in the—er—sausagee—or should it be sausage-or?”
“Oh, well—a chop, cut thick an’ with a kidney in it—what d’ ye say to a chop, now?”
“No, a chop in an hour, Mrs. Trapes, or say, two hours, will be most welcome. Are you very busy?”