داستان کوتاه Proof of the Pudding صفحه 9
تعداد بازديد : 508
A block or two north of the Park, Dawe steered the editor again eastward, then, after covering a short distance, into a lofty but narrow flathouse burdened with a floridly over-decorated façade. To the fifth story they toiled, and Dawe, panting, pushed his latch-key into the door of one of the front flats. When the door opened Editor Westbrook saw, with feelings of pity, how meanly and meagrely the rooms were furnished. 'Get a chair, if you can find one,' said Dawe, 'while I hunt up pen and ink. Hallo, what's this? Here's a note from Louise. She must have left it there when she went out this morning.' He picked up an envelope that lay on the centre-table and tore it open. He began to read the letter that he drew out of it; and once having begun it aloud he so read it through to the end. These are the words that Editor Westbrook heard:
DEAR SHACKLEFORD, -
'By the time you get this I will be about a hundred miles away and still a-going. I've got a place in the chorus of the Occidental Opera Co., and we start on the road to-day at twelve o'clock. I didn't want to starve to death, and so I decided to make my own living. I'm not coming back. Mrs. Westbrook is going with me. She said she was tired of living with a combination phonograph, iceberg and dictionary, and she's not coming back, either. We've been practising the songs and dances for two months on the quiet. I hope you will be successful, and get along all right. Good-bye.
Dawe dropped the letter, covered his face with his trembling hands, and cried out in a deep vibrating voice:
'My God, why hast Thou given me this cup to drink? Since she is false, then let Thy Heaven's fairest gifts, faith and love, become the jesting bywords of traitors and friends!'
Editor Westbrook's glasses fell to the floor. The fingers of one hand fumbled with a button on his coat as he blurted between his pale lips:
'Say, Shack, ain't that a hell of a note? Wouldn't that knock you off your perch, Shack? Ain't it hell, now, Shack - ain't it?'