“T’ree to one on deh red!”
“Ah, stop yer damn scrappin’!”
The door of the Johnson home opened and Maggie looked out. Jimmie made a supreme cursing effort and hurled his mother into the room. He quickly followed and closed the door. The Rum Alley tenement swore disappointedly and retired.
The mother slowly gathered herself up from the floor.
Her eyes glittered menacingly upon her children.
“Here, now,” said Jimmie, “we’ve had enough of dis. Sit down, an’ don’ make no trouble.”
He grasped her arm, and twisting it, forced her into a creaking chair.
“Keep yer hands off me,” roared his mother again.
“Damn yer ol’ hide,” yelled Jimmie, madly. Maggie shrieked and ran into the other room. To her there came the sound of a storm of crashes and curses. There was a great final thump and Jimmie’s voice cried: “Dere, damn yeh, stay still.” Maggie opened the door now, and went warily out. “Oh, Jimmie.”
He was leaning against the wall and swearing. Blood stood upon bruises on his knotty fore-arms where they had scraped against the floor or the walls in the scuffle. The mother lay screeching on the floor, the tears running down her furrowed face.
Maggie, standing in the middle of the room, gazed about her. The usual upheaval of the tables and chairs had taken place. Crockery was strewn broadcast in fragments. The stove had been disturbed on its legs, and now leaned idiotically to one side. A pail had been upset and water spread in all directions.
The door opened and Pete appeared. He shrugged his shoulders. “Oh, Gawd,” he observed.
He walked over to Maggie and whispered in her ear. “Ah, what deh hell, Mag? Come ahn and we’ll have a hell of a time.”
The mother in the corner upreared her head and shook her tangled locks.
“Teh hell wid him and you,” she said, glowering at her daughter in the gloom. Her eyes seemed to burn balefully. “Yeh’ve gone teh deh devil, Mag Johnson, yehs knows yehs have gone teh deh devil. Yer a disgrace teh yer people, damn yeh. An’ now, git out an’ go ahn wid dat doe-faced jude of yours. Go teh hell wid him, damn yeh, an’ a good riddance. Go teh hell an’ see how yeh likes it.”
Maggie gazed long at her mother.
“Go teh hell now, an’ see how yeh likes it. Git out. I won’t have sech as yehs in me house! Get out, d’yeh hear! Damn yeh, git out!”
The girl began to tremble.
At this instant Pete came forward. “Oh, what deh hell, Mag, see,” whispered he softly in her ear. “Dis all blows over. See? Deh ol’ woman ‘ill be all right in deh mornin’. Come ahn out wid me! We’ll have a hell of a time.”
The woman on the floor cursed. Jimmie was intent upon his bruised fore-arms. The girl cast a glance about the room filled with a chaotic mass of debris, and at the red, writhing body of her mother.