The People of the Abyss eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 185 pages of information about The People of the Abyss.

As I write this, and for an hour past, the air has been made hideous by a free-for-all, rough-and-tumble fight going on in the yard that is back to back with my yard.  When the first sounds reached me I took it for the barking and snarling of dogs, and some minutes were required to convince me that human beings, and women at that, could produce such a fearful clamour.

Drunken women fighting!  It is not nice to think of; it is far worse to listen to.  Something like this it runs—­

Incoherent babble, shrieked at the top of the lungs of several women; a lull, in which is heard a child crying and a young girl’s voice pleading tearfully; a woman’s voice rises, harsh and grating, “You ’it me!  Jest you ’it me!” then, swat! challenge accepted and fight rages afresh.

The back windows of the houses commanding the scene are lined with enthusiastic spectators, and the sound of blows, and of oaths that make one’s blood run cold, are borne to my ears.  Happily, I cannot see the combatants.

A lull; “You let that child alone!” child, evidently of few years, screaming in downright terror.  “Awright,” repeated insistently and at top pitch twenty times straight running; “you’ll git this rock on the ’ead!” and then rock evidently on the head from the shriek that goes up.

A lull; apparently one combatant temporarily disabled and being resuscitated; child’s voice audible again, but now sunk to a lower note of terror and growing exhaustion.

Voices begin to go up the scale, something like this:-

“Yes?”

“Yes!”

“Yes?”

“Yes!”

“Yes?”

“Yes!”

“Yes?”

“Yes!”

Sufficient affirmation on both sides, conflict again precipitated.  One combatant gets overwhelming advantage, and follows it up from the way the other combatant screams bloody murder.  Bloody murder gurgles and dies out, undoubtedly throttled by a strangle hold.

Entrance of new voices; a flank attack; strangle hold suddenly broken from the way bloody murder goes up half an octave higher than before; general hullaballoo, everybody fighting.

Lull; new voice, young girl’s, “I’m goin’ ter tyke my mother’s part;” dialogue, repeated about five times, “I’ll do as I like, blankety, blank, blank!” “I’d like ter see yer, blankety, blank, blank!” renewed conflict, mothers, daughters, everybody, during which my landlady calls her young daughter in from the back steps, while I wonder what will be the effect of all that she has heard upon her moral fibre.

CHAPTER VI—­FRYING-PAN ALLEY AND A GLIMPSE OF INFERNO

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Project Gutenberg
The People of the Abyss from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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