PRIZE STORIES OF 1924
weigh heavily with men. I don’t know whether it would with the women or not. Perhaps it would make them even more angry, since so few women have such power. She did not drink nor did she ever utter vileness. She was quick to laugh at a crude joke if it had any humour, but she told none. In a situation like this I have noticed that men like to move by indirection; they dislike facing the issue squarely, which is exactly what the women want them to do. They were looking for some indirect method, and there was none. Nothing would have saved her if she had owed any money at that time. They would have stripped her bare.
Very little was said about Wickwire, and I never heard of anything being said to him. The men in both instances were regarded as only remotely connected with the affair. A few persons had said Hodge ought to have married Maggie, but no one seemed to think Wickwire ought. In a very short time Wickwire went hunting; but it was his usual time to go hunting, so nothing was thought of it. Shortly after his return, however, he went on another long hunting trip. And I may as well finish with Wickwire here. For the remainder of his life he avoided women, though I think he could have married easily. He spent nearly all of his time hunting or fishing. In his younger days he always had one or more companions on these trips, but thereafter he seldom had a companion. They were as willing as ever to go, but he didn’t want them. He neglected his business, and it ceased to grow with the community. Years later it was in the same one-story building, the only one-story building in the block; all the others grew to three stories except the bank on the corner, which was four.
The arrival of Godfrey Wickwire, Junior, seemed to affect Hodge even more than the arrival of his own child. Shortly thereafter he sold his equity in his farm. He reported that he had purchased a much larger and better place in another county. On the day of his departure he brought a span of mules and a good wagon loaded with sacks of oats to Maggie’s farm and presented them to her very timidly. He was ashamed to face her. She accepted them quite cordially, just as a girl might say thank you for a box of candy. She seemed to have no particular feeling about the matter, either that he had made amends or made himself ridiculous. I