“Go teh hell an’ good riddance.”
Jimmie had an idea it wasn’t common courtesy for a friend to come to one’s home and ruin one’s sister. But he was not sure how much Pete knew about the rules of politeness.
The following night he returned home from work at rather a late hour in the evening. In passing through the halls he came upon the gnarled and leathery old woman who possessed the music box. She was grinning in the dim light that drifted through dust-stained panes. She beckoned to him with a smudged forefinger.
“Ah, Jimmie, what do yehs t’ink I got onto las’ night. It was deh funnies’ t’ing I ever saw,” she cried, coming close to him and leering. She was trembling with eagerness to tell her tale. “I was by me door las’ night when yer sister and her jude feller came in late, oh, very late. An’ she, the dear, she was a-cryin’ as if her heart would break, she was. It was deh funnies’ t’ing I ever saw. An’ right out here by me door she asked him did he love her, did he. An’ she was a-cryin’ as if her heart would break, poor t’ing. An’ him, I could see by deh way what he said it dat she had been askin’ orften, he says: ‘Oh, hell, yes,’ he says, says he, ‘Oh, hell, yes.’”
Storm-clouds swept over Jimmie’s face, but he turned from the leathery old woman and plodded on up-stairs.
“Oh, hell, yes,” called she after him. She laughed a laugh that was like a prophetic croak. “‘Oh, hell, yes,’ he says, says he, ‘Oh, hell, yes.’”
There was no one in at home. The rooms showed that attempts had been made at tidying them. Parts of the wreckage of the day before had been repaired by an unskilful hand. A chair or two and the table, stood uncertainly upon legs. The floor had been newly swept. Too, the blue ribbons had been restored to the curtains, and the lambrequin, with its immense sheaves of yellow wheat and red roses of equal size, had been returned, in a worn and sorry state, to its position at the mantel. Maggie’s jacket and hat were gone from the nail behind the door.
Jimmie walked to the window and began to look through the blurred glass. It occurred to him to vaguely wonder, for an instant, if some of the women of his acquaintance had brothers.
Suddenly, however, he began to swear.
“But he was me frien’! I brought ’im here! Dat’s deh hell of it!”
He fumed about the room, his anger gradually rising to the furious pitch.
“I’ll kill deh jay! Dat’s what I’ll do! I’ll kill deh jay!”
He clutched his hat and sprang toward the door. But it opened and his mother’s great form blocked the passage.
“What deh hell’s deh matter wid yeh?” exclaimed she, coming into the rooms.
Jimmie gave vent to a sardonic curse and then laughed heavily.
“Well, Maggie’s gone teh deh devil! Dat’s what! See?”