“Say, yehs makes me tired. See? What deh hell deh yeh wanna tag aroun’ atter me fer? Yeh’ll git me inteh trouble wid deh ol’ man an’ dey’ll be hell teh pay! If he sees a woman roun’ here he’ll go crazy an’ I’ll lose me job! See? Yer brudder come in here an’ raised hell an’ deh ol’ man hada put up fer it! An’ now I’m done! See? I’m done.”
The girl’s eyes stared into his face. “Pete, don’t yeh remem—”
“Oh, hell,” interrupted Pete, anticipating.
The girl seemed to have a struggle with herself. She was apparently bewildered and could not find speech. Finally she asked in a low voice: “But where kin I go?”
The question exasperated Pete beyond the powers of endurance. It was a direct attempt to give him some responsibility in a matter that did not concern him. In his indignation he volunteered information.
“Oh, go teh hell,” cried he. He slammed the door furiously and returned, with an air of relief, to his respectability.
Maggie went away.
She wandered aimlessly for several blocks. She stopped once and asked aloud a question of herself: “Who?”
A man who was passing near her shoulder, humorously took the questioning word as intended for him.
“Eh? What? Who? Nobody! I didn’t say anything,” he laughingly said, and continued his way.
Soon the girl discovered that if she walked with such apparent aimlessness, some men looked at her with calculating eyes. She quickened her step, frightened. As a protection, she adopted a demeanor of intentness as if going somewhere.
After a time she left rattling avenues and passed between rows of houses with sternness and stolidity stamped upon their features. She hung her head for she felt their eyes grimly upon her.
Suddenly she came upon a stout gentleman in a silk hat and a chaste black coat, whose decorous row of buttons reached from his chin to his knees. The girl had heard of the Grace of God and she decided to approach this man.
His beaming, chubby face was a picture of benevolence and kind-heartedness. His eyes shone good-will.
But as the girl timidly accosted him, he gave a convulsive movement and saved his respectability by a vigorous side-step. He did not risk it to save a soul. For how was he to know that there was a soul before him that needed saving?
Upon a wet evening, several months after the last chapter, two interminable rows of cars, pulled by slipping horses, jangled along a prominent side-street. A dozen cabs, with coat-enshrouded drivers, clattered to and fro. Electric lights, whirring softly, shed a blurred radiance. A flower dealer, his feet tapping impatiently, his nose and his wares glistening with rain-drops, stood behind an array of roses and chrysanthemums. Two or three theatres emptied a crowd upon the storm-swept pavements. Men pulled their hats over their eyebrows and raised their collars to their ears. Women shrugged impatient shoulders in their warm cloaks and stopped to arrange their skirts for a walk through the storm. People having been comparatively silent for two hours burst into a roar of conversation, their hearts still kindling from the glowings of the stage.