Page:O Henry Prize Stories of 1924.djvu/255

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WHAT DO YOU MEAN—AMERICANS?

221

crowd trailed off down Truro way? Jazzy work for a while. But now, Jim, how’s the bean?”

“Bean’s bright.”

It’s the strangest sensation, being a Venetian boatman inked on moldy wall-paper, harkening to unintelligible tongues.

“And the leg?”

“Absitively perfect limb.”

“Turkey get it bandaged right? That petticoat of mine I slammed on——?”

“Coold not find ahny rahgs.”

Reality spreads with the growing dawn. It’s the Armenian himself, down on his hams on the carpet beyond the bed.

“No rags? Turkey, you’re a bird! But listen—my——! You mean to say that plugged leg is still———- Oh, you poor lamb! Now, listen, Jim; I'll go as easy as easy, but I got to give it a look.”

The painted boatmen close their painted eyes. Their painted ears they can not close. Earth swarms. Their painted minds they can not get quite shut. Murmurs. Fragments. The land of the old, the turncoat, teems with the pitiless voices of the young. Rumours creep in through the windows.

“Doc and the priest ought to be coming——”

“——No, Gabriel phoned the priest he needn’t come. Jim’s all right.”

“He'll be all right, that is, if we can keep him doggo for a spell——”

“——But what they’ll say up-Cape when he don’t show up at short-stop for the Legion in the Barnstable game next Sunday——”

“Oh, we can bull through it somehow—— Hey, what’s that?”

Another kind of a murmur; a high, faint throbbing in the air.

“Molly! Inside there! Here comes Doc Bader from Provincetown. I guess it’s him, anyway; it sounds like Gaspa’s sea-plane. I'll slide up to the pond and show him the way.”

Still another note, within the room, this one, half crooning: