Page:O Henry Prize Stories of 1924.djvu/236

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head on my shoulder for a breathing spell. That kind of thing neveh made any man feel bad, course. But the way May acted when this Alice Haven brought me back in her car like a cabin boat!

“She’s trying to break up our combination!” May said, talking more spiteful than I ever did get to hear her talk before.

I was s’prised. I’d been worrying my heart out, fearin’ May’d see how no ’count I was to her, an’ be shut of me like I was an old hat. When she talked thataway, letting on she feared we’d break up, my heart jes’ grew so big it hurt, like it would burst. May didn’t want to lose me! She was so mad at the thought, she lashed me with her tongue, stinging, biting, slighting, scolding words. But, shucks! Theh’s no joy so sweet as the raw wounds a woman gives a man, account of her being jealous.

My law! May Gardner slashed and cut me! Don’t yo’ be’lieve she didn’t scorch an’ bruise me, an’ I was down on my knees at her feet beggin’ her mercy an’ pity, but my soul rang to sweeter music in the scorn an’ fire of her anger than eveh hit had echoed before. May Gardner jealous of me! May Gardner tearin’ to pieces the good looks an’ reputation of that up-the-bank Alice Haven—account of me!

“That woman dancin’ to my music!” May scorched me, her face twisting an’ her eyes squinting mad. “You fiddlin’ for her to dance! That woman!”

I expect some men is so sure an’ pop’lar that it don’t mean nothin’ to them when a woman’s jealous on their account. Prob’ly up-the-bankers, swell folks, neveh know what hit is to find out a lady likes them so much she hates anybody else that’s friendly.

I come down on the riveh account of a woman’s laugh at my playing music, the best I could do, for her—when she’d been listening to jingling dollars in another man’s pocket. Funny, ain’t it, how things work out? I’ve been making more money in a day ’n that feller she jilted me for has eveh made in a week.

I was at May’s feet. I kissed those pretty silk stockings, between the straps of her slippers. I cried, tears coming down my cheeks—but not on account of being sorry, no, indeed! I. was happy! I was so blamed happy I dassen’t