Page:O Henry Prize Stories of 1924.djvu/233

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it, argying. ’Fore we knowed it we had quite a job, May an’ me did, teaming it.

We walked down Ferry Street to our boats, which we’d left with Jim Horseshoe, at the landing. She come on board my boat, to warm, for the night was fresh, walking down. She danced; in the cold it chilled her; I hated to think of her going out into that chilly rag shack over her skiff.

“Yo’ll catch cold!” I told her. “All het up, thisaway!”

She looked at me, first into one eye, then into the otheh, with both her eyes. By an’ by she laughed a low, funny little chuckle.

“You dear boy!” she said, jes’ like that. “Just to please you—I'll take your bed to-night!”

So I went out into her skiff, mighty glad she’d have that comfy cabin to sleep in. In the morning she put her arms around my neck, when I came in, looking at me, smiling, sorry.

“Am I mean, making you sleep out there in the cold?”

That night we played, regular in the theatre. May caught the crowd. They throwed bouquets at her, an’ we was called the “River Number,” just like that. Her dancing to my music was “wonderful entertainment,” they said in the newspapers. In a month we’d saved about six hundred dollars.

I wasn’t happy any more. If I’d come off down the rivers, account of my being just a fiddler, and the girl I thought so much of back there shook me for a fellow making twenty dollars a week—she hadn’t any voice, she couldn’t dance, an’ wa’n’t nothing but pretty—now I was ready to go back up the bank. The way folks crowded around May, coming back, to see her—and to ask me about her, men an’ women!

Oh, I knowed I loved her! One woman come to me, a swell-looking woman, wearing jewels an’ clothes all shimmering and perfume. She told me my music was perfectly wonderful—taffy like that. I knowed what she was driving at. It wa’n’t no time than she was asking about May.

“Your wife’s a wonderful dancer!” she told me. “How your music does inspire her! It is the most inspiring music I ever heard!”

“My wife?” I looked at her. “Why, lady, that girl