Short Story in English Free Download — «New Yorkers» By O.Henry

By O.Henry

Chapter one: The Christmas Presents

Chapter two — Soapy’s Choice

Chapter tree-A Walk in Amnesia

Chapter four: Tildy’s Moment

Chapter Five: The  Memento

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Chapter one: The Christmas Presents

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. Every day, when she went to the shops, she spent very little money. She bought the cheapest meat, the cheapest vegetables. And when she was tired, she still walked round and round the shops to find the cheapest food. She saved every cent possible.

Delia counted the money again. There was no mistake. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And the next day was Christmas.

She couldn’t do anything about it. She could only sit down and cry. So she sat there, in the poor little room, and she cried.

Delia lived in this poor little room, in New York,with her husband, James Dillingham Young. They also had a bedroom, and a kitchen and a bathroom —  all poor little rooms. James Dillingham Young was lucky, because he had  a job, but it was not a good job. These rooms took most of his money. Delia tried to find work, but times were bad, and there was no work for her. But when Mr James Dillingham Young came home to his rooms, Mrs James Dillingham Young called him ‘Jim’ and put her arms round him. And that was  good.

Delia stopped crying and she washed her face. Shestood by the window,  and looked out at a grey cat on a grey wall in the grey road. Tomorrow was Christmas Day, and she had only one dollar and eighty-seven cents to buy Jim a Christmas present. Her Jim. She wanted very much to buy him something really fine, something to show how much she loved him.

Suddenly, Delia turned round and ran over to look in  the glass on the wall. Her eyes were bright.

Now, the James Dillingham Youngs had two very special things. One was Jim’s gold watch. It once belonged to his father, and, before that, to his grandfather. The other special thing was Delia’s hair.

Quickly, Delia let down her beautiful, long hair. It fell down her back, and it was almost like a coataround her. Then she put her hair up again, quickly. For a second or two she stood still, and cried a little.

   Then she put on her old brown coat, and her old brown hat, turned, and  left the room. She went downstairs and out into the road, and her eyes were bright.

She walked along by the shops, and stopped when she came to a door with ‘Madame  Eloise — Hair’ on it. Inside there was a fat woman. She did not  look like an ‘Eloise’.

Quickly, Della let down her beautiful, long hair

‘Will you buy my hair?’ Delia asked.

  ‘I buy hair,’ Madame replied. ‘Take your hat off, then, and show me your hair.’

The beautiful brown hair fell down.

  ‘Twenty dollars,’ Madame said, and she touched the hair with her hand.

   ‘Quick! Cut it off! Give me the money!’ Delia said. The next two hours went quickly. Delia was happy because she was looking round the shops for Jim’s present.

   At last she found it. It was a gold chain for The Watch. Jim loved his watch,  but it had no chain. When Delia saw this gold chain, she knew  immediately that it was right for Jim. She must have it.

   The shop took twenty-one dollars from her for it, and she hurried home with the eighty-seven cents.

   When she arrived there, she looked at her very short hair in the glass.  ‘What can I do with it?’ she thought. For the next half an hour she was very busy.

Then she looked again in the glass. Her hair was now in very small curls all over her head. ‘Oh, dear. I look like a schoolgirl!’ she said to herself. ‘What’s Jim going to say when he sees me?’

At seven o’clock the  dinner was nearly ready and Delia was waiting. ‘Oh, I  hope he thinks that I’m still beautiful!’ she thought.

Short story - “Oh dear,” said Della. “What’s Jim going to say when he sees me”

   The door opened and Jim came in and closed it. He looked very thin and he needed a new coat. His eyes were on Delia. She could not understand the look on his  face, and she was afraid. He was not angry or surprised. He just watched her, with that strange look on his face.

   Delia ran to him.

   ‘Jim,’ she cried. ‘Don’t look at me like that. I sold my hair because I wanted to give you a present. It will soon be  long  again. I had to do it, Jim. Say  «Happy Christmas», please. I have a wonderful present for you!’

   ‘You’ve cut off your hair?’ asked Jim.

   ‘Yes. I cut it off and sold it,’ Delia said. ‘But don’t you love me any more,  Jim? I’m still me.’

Jim looked round the room.

   ‘You say your hair has gone?’ he said, almost stupidly.

   ‘Yes. I told you. Because I love you! Shall I get the dinner now, Jim?’

   Suddenly Jim put his arms round his Delia. Then he took something from his pocket and put it on the table.

   ‘I love you, Delia,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter if your hair is short or long.  But if you open that, you’ll see why I was unhappy at first.’

   Excited, Delia pulled off the paper. Then she gave a little scream of happiness. But a second later there were cries of unhappiness.

   Because there were The Combs — the combs for her beautiful hair. When she first saw these combs in the shop window, she wanted them. They were  beautiful combs, expensive combs, and now they were her combs. But she no longer had her hair!

   Delia picked them up and held them. Her eyes were full  of  love.

   ‘But my hair will soon be long again, Jim.’

   And then Delia remembered. She jumped up and cried, ‘Oh! Oh!’ She ran  to get  Jim’s beautiful present, and  she held it out to him.

Della gave a little scream of happiness.

Della gave a little scream of happiness.

‘Isn’t it lovely, Jim? I looked everywhere for it. Now you’ll  want  to  look  at  your  watch a hundred times a day. Give it to  me! Give me your watch, Jim!  Let’s see it with its new chain.’

But Jim did not do this. He sat down, put his hands behind his head, and he  smiled.

   And this was the story of two young people who were very much in love.

Chapter two — Soapy’s Choice

   Soapy sat on a seat in Madison Square, New  York, and  looked up at the sky. A dead leaf fell onto his arm. Winter was coming, and Soapy knew that he must make his plans. He moved unhappily on his seat.

   He wanted three months in a nice, warm prison, with food and good friends. This was  how he usually spent his winters. And now it was time, because, at night on his seat in the square, three newspapers did not keep out  the cold.

   So Soapy decided to go to prison, and at once began to try his first plan. It  was usually easy. He ate dinner in an expensive restaurant. Then he told them he had no money and they called a policeman. Nice and easy, with no trouble.

   So Soapy left his  seat, and walked  slowly  along  the street. Soon he came to a bright  restaurant on Broadway. Ah!  This was all  right. He just  had to get to a table in the restaurant and sit down. That  was  all, because,  when he sat down, people could only see his coat and his shirt, which were not very old. Nobody could see his trousers. He thought about the meal-not too expensive, but good.

   But  when Soapy went into the restaurant, the waiter saw Soapy’s dirty  old  trousers and terrible  shoes.

   Strong hands turned him round and helped him out into the street again. So now he had to think of something  different. Soapy walked away from Broadway and soon he found  himself on Sixth Avenue. He stopped in front  of a shop window and looked  at it. It was  nice  and  bright, and  everybody  in the street could see him. Slowly and carefully he picked up a stone and  threw it at the window. The glass broke with a loud noise. People ran round  the  corner and  Soapy was happy, because  the man  in  front was  a

policeman.  Soapy did not move. He stood there with his hands in his  pockets, and he smiled. ‘I’ll soon be in prison now,’  he thought.

The policeman came up to Soapy. ‘Who did that?’  he asked.

‘Perhaps I did,’  Soapy replied.

But the policeman knew that people who break windows do not stop to talk to policemen. They run away. And just then the policeman saw another man, who was running to catch a bus. So  the  policeman ran after him. Soapy  watched for a minute. Then he walked  away. No luck again! He began to  feel  cross.

Strong hands turned Soapy round and helped him out into the street again.

Strong hands turned Soapy round and helped him out into the street again.

   But on the opposite side of the road he saw a little restaurant. ‘Ah, that’ll be all right,’ he thought, and he went  in. This time nobody looked at his trousers and his shoes.  He enjoyed his meal, and  then he looked up at the waiter, smiled and said, ‘I haven’t  got any money,  you know. Now, call  the  police. And do it quickly. I’m tired!’

   ‘No police for you!’ the waiter answered. ‘Hey!  Jo!’

   Another waiter came, and together they threw Soapy out into the cold  street. Soapy lay there, very angry. With  difficulty, he stood up. His nice  warm prison was still far away, and Soapy was very unhappy. He felt worse  because a policeman,  who was standing  near, laughed  and  walked  away.

   Soapy  moved  on,  but  he  walked  for  a  long  time before  he  tried  again.  This time  it  looked  easy.

   A  nice young woman was standing in front of a shop window.  Not  very  far  away  there  was  also  a  police-man.  Soapy  moved  nearer  to  the  young  woman.  He saw  that  the  policeman  was  watching  him.  Then  he said  to  the  young  woman, with  a  smile,  ‘Why  don’t you  come  with  me,  my  dear?  I  can  give  you  a  good time.’

   The  young  woman  moved  away  a  little  and  looked more  carefully  into  the  shop  window.  Soapy  looked  at the  policeman.  Yes,  he  was  still  watching.  Then  he spoke  to  the  young  woman  again.  In  a  minute  she would  call  the  policeman.  Soapy  could  almost  see  the prison  doors.  Suddenly,  the  young  woman  took   hold of  his  arm.

   ‘OK,’  she  said  happily.  ‘If you  buy  me  a  drink.  Let’s go  before  that  policeman sees  us.’

   And  poor  Soapy  walked  away  with  the  young woman,  who  still  held  on  to  his  arm.  He  was  very unhappy.

   At  the  next  corner  he  ran  away  from  the  woman. Suddenly  he  was  afraid.  ‘I’m  never  going  to  get  to prison,’  he  thought.

   Slowly,  he  walked  on  and  came  to  a  street with  a  lot of  theatres.  There  were  a  lot  of  people  there,  rich people  in their  best clothes.  Soapy  had to  do  something to  get  to  prison.  He  did  not  want  to  spend  another night  on  his  seat  in  Madison  Square.  What  could  he do?  Then  he  saw  a  policeman  near  him,  so  he  began  to sing  and  shout  and  make  a  lot  of noise.  This  time  they must  send  him  to  prison.  But  the  policeman  turned  his back  to  Soapy  and  said  to  a  man  who  was  standing near,  ‘He’s  had  too  much  to  drink,  but  he’s  not dangerous.  We’ll  leave  him  alone  tonight.’

   What  was  the  matter  with  the  police?  Soapy  was really  unhappy  now,  but  he  stopped  making  a  noise. How  could  he  get  to  prison?  The  wind  was  cold,  and he  pulled  his  thin  coat  around  him.

   But,  just  then,  inside  a  shop,  he  saw  a  man  with  an expensive  umbrella.  The  man  put  his  umbrella  down near  the  door,  and  took  out  a  cigarette.  Soapy  went into  the  shop,  picked  up  the  umbrella,  and,  slowly,  he began  to  walk  away.  The  man  came  quickly  after him.

‘That’s  my  umbrella,’  he  said.

“We’ll leave him alone ,” said the policaman.

“We’ll leave him alone ,” said the policaman.

   ‘Oh,  is it?’  Soapy replied.  ‘Then  why don’t you call  a policeman?  I  took  it,  and  you  say  it’s  your  umbrella. Go  on,  then.  Call  a  policeman!  Look!  There’s  one  on the  corner.’

   The  umbrella  man  looked  unhappy.  ‘Well,  you know,  perhaps  I’ve  made  a  mistake.  I  took  it  from  a restaurant  this  morning.  If  it’s  yours,  well,  I’m  very sorry  .  .  .’

‘Of  course  it’s  my  umbrella,’  Soapy  said.

   The  policeman  looked  at  them  —  and  the  umbrella man  walked  away.  The policeman  went  to  help  a beautiful  young  girl  to  cross  the  road.

   Soapy  was  really  angry  now.  He  threw  the  umbrella away  and  said  many  bad  things  about  policemen.  Just because  he  wanted  to  go  to  prison,  they  did  not  want to  send  him  there.  He  could  do  nothing  wrong!

   He  began  to  walk  back  to  Madison  Square  and home  —  his  seat.

   But  on  a  quiet  corner,  Soapy  suddenly  stopped. Here,  in  the  middle  of  the  city,  was  a  beautiful  old church.  Through  one  purple  window  he  could  see  a soft  light,  and  sweet  music  was  coming  from  inside  the church.  The  moon  was  high  in  the  sky  and  everything was  quiet.  For  a  few  seconds  it  was  like  a  country church  and  Soapy  remembered  other,  happier days.  He thought of the days when  he had  a  mother,  and  friends, and  beautiful  things  in  his  life.

   Then  he  thought  about  his  life  now  —  the  empty days,  the  dead  plans.  And  then  a  wonderful  thing happened.  Soapy  decided  to  change  his  life  and  be  a new  man.  ‘Tomorrow,’  he  said  to  himself,  ‘I’ll  go  into town  and  find  work.  My  life will  be  good  again.  I’ll  be somebody important. Everything will be different. I’ll .  .  .’

Soapy  felt  a  hand  on  his  arm.  He  jumped  and  looked round  quickly  —  into  the  face  of  a  policeman!

   'What  are  you  doing  here'

   ‘What  are  you  doing  here?’  asked  the  policeman.

   ‘Nothing,’  Soapy  answered.

   ‘Then  come  with  me,’  the  policeman  said.

   ‘Three  months  in  prison,’  they  told  Soapy  the  next

Chapter tree-A Walk in Amnesia

   That  morning  my  wife  and  I  said  our  usual goodbyes. She  left  her  second  cup  of tea,  and  she  followed  me to the  front door.  She did this  every day.  She took  from my  coat  a  hair  which  was  not  there,  and  she  told  me to be careful.  She always did this.  I closed the door,  and she  went  back  to  her  tea.

   I  am  a  lawyer  and  I  work  very  hard.  My  friend, Doctor Volney,  told me not to work  so hard.  ‘You’ll  be ill,’  he  said.  ‘A  lot  of  people  who  work  too  hard  get very tired,  and  suddenly they  forget who  they  are.  They can’t  remember  anything.  It’s  called  amnesia.  You need  a  change  and  a  rest.’

   ‘But  I  do  rest,’  I  replied.  ‘On  Thursday  nights  my wife  and  I  play  a  game  of cards,  and  on  Sundays  she reads  me  her  weekly  letter  from  her  mother.’

That  morning,  when  I  was  walking  to  work,  I thought  about  Doctor  Volney’s words.  I  was  feeling very  well,  and  pleased  with  life.

   When I woke up,  I  was  on  a  train  and  feeling  very uncomfortable  after  a  long sleep.  I  sat  back  in  my  seat and  I  tried to think.  After a  long time,  I  said  to  myself, ‘I  must  have  a  name!’  1  looked  in  my  pockets.  No letter.  No  papers.  Nothing  with  my  name  on.  But  I found  three  thousand  dollars.  ‘I  must  be  someone,’ I  thought.

   The  train  was  crowded  with  men  who  were  all  very friendly.  One  of  them  came  and  sat  next  to  me.  ‘Hi! My  name’s  R.P.  Bolder  —  Bolder  and  Son,  from  Missouri.  You’re going to the meeting in  New York,  of course?  What’s  your  name?’

   I  had  to  reply  to  him,  so  I  said  quickly,  ‘Edward Pinkhammer  from  Cornopolis,  Kansas.’

He  was  reading  a  newspaper,  but  every  few  minutes he  looked  up  from  it,  to  talk  to  me.  I  understood  from his conversation that he was a druggist,  and he thought that  I  was  a  druggist,  too.

‘Are  all  these  men  druggists?’  I  asked.

‘Yes,  they  are,’  he  answered.  ‘Like  us,  they’re  all going  to  the  yearly  meeting  in  New  York.’

After a  time,  he held out his  newspaper to  me.  ‘Look at  that,’  he  said.  ‘Here’s  another  of those  men  who  run away  and  then  say  that  they  have  forgotten  who  they are.  A man gets tired of his business and his family, and he  wants  to  have  a  good  time.  He  goes  away somewhere  and  when  they  find  him,  he  says  that  he doesn’t  know  who  he  is,  and  that  he  can’t  remember anything.’

short story - I found three thousand dollars in my pocket.

I found three thousand dollars in my pocket.

   I  took  the  paper  and  read  this:

   Denver,  June  12th Elwyn  C.  Bellford,  an  important  lawyer  in  the  town, left home three days  ago  and  has  not come  back.  Just before  he  left,  he  took  out  a lot  of  money  from  his bank.  Nobody  has  seen  him  since  that  day.  He  is  a quiet  man  who  enjoys  his  work  and  is  happily married.  But  Mr  Bellford  works  very  hard,  and  it  is possible  that  he  has  amnesia.

   ‘But  sometimes  people  do  forget  who  they  are, Mr  Bolder,’  I  said.

   ‘Oh,  come  on!’  Mr  Bolder  answered.  ‘It’s  not  true, you  know!  These  men  just  want  something  more exciting  in  their  lives  —  another  woman,  perhaps. Something  different.’

   We  arrived  in  New  York  at  about  ten  o’clock  at night.  I  took  a  taxi  to  a  hotel,  and  I  wrote  the  name, ‘Edward  Pinkhammer’,  in  the  hotel  book.  Suddenly  I felt  wild  and  happy  —  I  was  free.  A  man  without  a name  can  do  anything.

   The  young  man  behind  the  desk  at  the  hotel  looked at  me  a  little  strangely.  1  had  no  suitcase.

   ‘I’m  here  for  the  Druggists’  Meeting,’  I  said.  ‘My suitcase  is  lost.’  I  took  out  some  money  and  gave  it  to him.

   The  next  day  I  bought  a  suitcase  and  some  clothes and  I  began  to  live  the  life  of  Edward  Pinkhammer. I  didn’t  try  to  remember  who  or  what  I  was.

   The  next  few  days  in  Manhattan  were  wonderful  -the  theatres,  the  gardens,  the  music,  the  restaurants, the night  life,  the  beautiful girls.  And during this  time I learned  something  very  important  —  if  you  want  to  be happy,  you  must  be free.

Sometimes  I  went  to  quiet,  expensive  restaurants with soft  music.  Sometimes  I went  on  the  river in  boats full  of noisy  young  men  and  their  girlfriends.  And  then there was Broadway,  with its theatres  and  bright lights.

short story - The next few days in Manhattan were wonderfull.

The next few days in Manhattan were wonderfull.

   One  afternoon  I  was  going  back  into  my  hotel  when a  fat  man  came  and  stood  in  front  of  me.

   ‘Hello,  Bellford!’  he  cried  loudly.  ‘What  are  you doing  in  New  York?  Is  Mrs  B.  with  you?’

   ‘I’m  sorry,  but  you’re  making  a  mistake,  sir,’  I  said coldly.  ‘My  name  is  Pinkhammer.  Please  excuse  me.’

   The  man  moved away,  in  surprise,  and I walked over to  the  desk.  Behind  me,  the  man  said  something  about a  telephone.

   ‘Give  me  my  bill,’  I  said to  the  man  behind the desk, ‘and  bring  down  my  suitcase  in  half  an  hour.’

   That  afternoon  I  moved  to  a  quiet  little  hotel  on Fifth  Avenue.

   One  afternoon,  in  one of my  favourite  restaurants  on Broadway,  I  was  going  to  my  table  when  somebody pulled  my  arm.

   ‘Mr  Bellford,’  a  sweet  voice  cried.

    I  turned  quickly  and  saw  a  woman  who  was  sitting alone.  She  was  about thirty  and  she  had  very  beautiful eyes.

   ‘How  can  you  walk  past  me  like  that?’  she  said. ‘Didn’t  you  know  me?’

   I  sat down  at her table.  Her  hair  was  a  beautiful  red — gold  colour.

   ‘Are  you  sure  you  know  me?’  I  asked.

   ‘No.’  She  smiled.  ‘I  never  really  knew  you.’

‘Well,  my name is Edward Pinkhammer,’ I said,  ‘and  I’m  from  Kansas.’

   ‘So,  you  haven’t  brought  Mrs  Bellford  with  you, then,’  she  said,  and  she  laughed.  ‘You  haven’t  changed much  in fifteen years,  Elwyn.’

   Her  wonderful  eyes  looked  carefully  at  my  face.

   ‘No,’  she  said  quietly,  ‘you  haven’t  forgotten.  I  told you  that  you  could  never  forget.’

   ‘I’m  sorry,’  I  answered,  ‘but that’s the trouble.  I have forgotten.  I’ve  forgotten everything.’

short story - “You haven’t changed much in fifteen years, Elwyn,” she said.

“You haven’t changed much in fifteen years, Elwyn,” she said.

   She  laughed.  ‘Did  you  know  that  I  married  six months  after  you  did?  It  was  in  all  the  newspapers.’ She  was  silent  for  a  minute.  Then  she  looked  up  at  me again.  ‘Tell  me one thing, Elwyn,’  she said softly.  ‘Since that  night  fifteen  years  ago,  can  you  touch,  smell,  or look  at  white  roses  —  and  not  think  of  me?’

‘I  can  only  say  that  I  don’t  remember  any  of  this,’ I  said  carefully.  ‘I’m  very  sorry.’  I  tried  to  look  away from  her.

   She  smiled  and  stood  up  to  leave.  Then  she  held  out her hand to me,  and I took it for a  second.  ‘Oh yes, you remember,’  she  said,  with  a  sweet,  unhappy  smile.

   ‘Goodbye,  Elwyn  Bellford.’

   That night I  went to the theatre  and  when  I  returned to  my  hotel,  a  quiet  man in  dark  clothes  was  waiting for  me.

‘Mr Pinkhammer,’  he  said,  ‘can  I  speak  with  you  for a  minute?  There’s  a  room  here.’

    I  followed  him  into  a  small  room.  A  man  and  a woman  were there.  The woman  was  still  beautiful,  but her  face  was  unhappy  and  tired.  I  liked everything about  her.  The  man,  who  was  about  forty,  came  to meet  me.

    ‘Bellford,’  he  said,  ‘I’m  happy  to  see  you  again.

   I  told  you  that  you  were  working  too  hard.  Now  you can  come  home  with  us.  You’ll  soon  be  all  right.’

      ‘My  name’,  I  said,  ‘is  Edward  Pinkhammer.  I’ve never  seen  you  before  in  my  life.’

   The  woman  cried  out,  ‘Oh,  Elwyn!  Elwyn!  I’m  your wife!’  She  put  her  arms round  me,  but  I  pushed  them away.

   ‘Oh,  Doctor  Volney!  What  is  the  matter  with  him?’ the  woman  cried.

   ‘Go  to  your  room,’  the  doctor  said  to  her.  ‘He’ll soon  be  well  again.’

The woman cried out, “Oh Elwyn! I’m your wife”

   The  woman  left,  and  so  did  the  man  in  the  dark clothes.  The  man  who  was  a  doctor  turned  to  me  and said  quietly,  ‘Listen.  Your  name  is  not  Edward Pinkhammer.’

   ‘I  know  that,’  I  replied,  ‘but  a  man  must  have  a name.  Why  not  Pinkhammer?’

    ‘Your  name’,  the  doctor  said,  ‘is  Elwyn  Bellford. You  are  one  of  the  best lawyers  in  Denver  —  and  that woman  is  your  wife.’

   ‘She’s  a  very  fine  woman,’  I  said,  after  a  minute. ‘I  love  the  colour  of  her  hair.’

   ‘She’s  a  very  good  wife,’  the  doctor  replied.  ‘When you  left  two  weeks  ago,  she  was  very  unhappy.  Then we  had  a  telephone  call  from  a  man  who  saw you  in  a hotel  here.’

   ‘I  think  I  remember  him,’  I  said.  ‘He  called  me «Bellford».  Excuse  me,  but  who  are  you?’

   ‘I’m  Bobby  Volney.  I’ve  been  your  friend  for  twenty years,  and  your  doctor  for  fifteen  years.  Elwyn,  try  to remember.’

   ‘You  say  you’re  a  doctor,’  I  said.  ‘How  can  I  get better?  Does  amnesia  go  slowly  or  suddenly?’

   ‘Sometimes  slowly.  Sometimes  suddenly.’

   ‘Will  you  help  me,  Doctor  Volney?’  I  asked.

   ‘Old  friend,’  he  said,  ‘I’ll  do  everything  possible.’

   ‘Very  well.  And  if  you’re  my  doctor,  you  can’t  tell anybody  what  I  say.’

   ‘Of  course  not,’  Doctor  Volney  answered.

    I  stood  up.  There  were  some  white  roses  on  the table.  I  went  over  to  the  table,  picked  up  the  roses  and threw  them  far  out  of  the  window.  Then  I  sat  down again.

   ‘I  think  it  will  be  best,  Bobby,’  I  said,  ‘to  get  better suddenly.  I’m  a  little  tired  of it  all  now.  Go  and  bring my wife  Marian  in  now.  But,  oh,  Doctor,’  I  said  with  a happy  smile.  ‘Oh,  my  good  old  friend  —  it  was wonderful!’

Chapter four: Tildy’s Moment

Bogle’s  Family  Restaurant  on  Eighth  Avenue  is  not a  famous  place,  but  if  you  need  a  large  cheap meal,  then  Bogle’s  is  the  place  for  you.  There  are twelve  tables  in  the  room,  six  on  each  side.  Bogle himself  sits  at  the  desk  by  the door  and  takes  the money.  There  are also two waitresses and a Voice. The Voice  comes  from  the  kitchen.

   At  the  time  of  my  story,  one  of  the  waitresses  was called  Aileen.  She  was  tall,  beautiful  and  full  of  life. The  name  of  the  other  waitress  was  Tildy.  She was small,  fat  and  was  not  beautiful.

   Most  of the  people  who  came  to  eat  at  Bogle’s  were men,  and  they  loved  the  beautiful  Aileen.  They  were happy  to  wait  a  long  time  for  their  meals  because  they could  look  at  her.  Aileen  knew  how  to  hold  a conversation  with  twelve  people  and  work  hard  at  the same  time.  And  all  the  men  wanted  to  take  Aileen dancing  or  give  her  presents.  One  gave  her  a  gold  ring and  one  gave  her  a  little  dog.

   And  poor  Tildy?

short story - In the busy, noisy restaurant men’s eyes did not follow Tildy.

In the busy, noisy restaurant men’s eyes did not follow Tildy.

   In  the  busy,  noisy  restaurant  men’s  eyes  did  not follow  Tildy.  Nobody laughed  and  talked  with  her. Nobody  asked  her to  go  dancing,  and  nobody gave  her presents.  She  was  a  good  waitress,  but when  she  stood by  the  tables,  the  men looked  round  her  to  see  Aileen.

   But  Tildy  was  happy  to  work  with  no  thanks,  she was  happy  to  see  the  men with  Aileen,  she  was  happy to  know  that  the  men  loved  Aileen.  She  was Aileen’s friend.  But deep  inside,  she,  too,  wanted  a  man  to  love her.

   Tildy  listened  to  all  Aileen’s  stories.  One  day  Aileen came in with  a  black eye. A  man hit her because she did not  want  to  kiss  him.  ‘How  wonderful  to  have  a black eye  for  love!’  Tildy  thought.

   One  of  the  men  who  came  to  Bogle’s  was  a  young man  called  Mr  Seeders. He  was  a  small,  thin  man,  and he  worked  in  an  office.  He  knew  that  Aileen was  not interested in him,  so he sat at one of Tildy’s tables, said nothing,  and  ate  his  fish.

   One  day  when  Mr  Seeders  came  in  for  his  meal,  he drank  too  much  beer. He finished his fish, got  up,  put his  arm  round Tildy,  kissed her  loudly,  and walked  out of  the  restaurant.

   For  a  few  seconds  Tildy  just  stood  there.  Then Aileen  said  to  her,  ‘Why, Tildy!  You  bad  girl!  I  must watch  you.  I  don’t  want  to  lose  my  men  to  you!’

   Suddenly  Tildy’s  world  changed.  She  understood now  that  men  could  like  her  and  want  her  as  much  as

Aileen.  She,  Tildy, could have a love-life, too.  Her eyes were  bright,  and  her  face was  pink.  She  wanted  to  tell everybody  her  secret.  When  the  restaurant  was quiet, she  went  and  stood  by  Bogle’s  desk.

‘Do  you  know  what  a  man  in  the  restaurant  did  to me  today?’  she  said.  ‘He put  his  arm  round  me  and  he kissed  me!’

short story - Mr. Seeders put his arm round Tildy, and kissed her loudly.

Mr. Seeders put his arm round Tildy, and kissed her loudly.

   ‘Really!’  Bogle answered.  This was good for business.

   ‘Next  week  you’ll  get  a  dollar  a  week  more.’

  And  when,  in  the  evening,  the  restaurant  was  busy again,  Tildy  put  down  the  food  on  the  tables  and  said quietly,  ‘Do  you  know  what  a  man  in  the  restaurant did  to  me  today?  He  put  his  arm  round  me  and  kissed me!’

   Some  of  the  men  in  the  restaurant  were  surprised; some  of  them  said,  ‘Well done!’  Men  began  to  smile and  say  nice  things  to  her.  Tildy  was very  happy. Love was  now  possible  in  her  grey  life.

   For  two  days  Mr  Seeders  did  not  come  again,  and  in that  time  Tildy  was  a  different  woman.  She  wore bright  clothes,  did  her  hair  differently,  and  she  looked taller  and  thinner.  Now  she  was  a  real  woman  because someone  loved her.  She  felt  excited,  and  a  little  afraid. What  would  Mr  Seeders  do  the  next time  he  came  in?

At  four  o’clock  in  the  afternoon  of the  third  day,  Mr Seeders  came  in.  There were  no  people  at  the  tables, and  Aileen  and  Tildy  were  working  at  the  back of the restaurant.  Mr  Seeders  walked  up  to  them.

   Tildy  looked  at  him,  and  she  could  not  speak. Mr  Seeders’  face  was  very  red,  and  he  looked  uncom-fortable.

‘Miss Tildy,’  he  said,  ‘I  want to  say that I’m  sorry  for what I did to you  a  few days  ago.  It was the drink, you see.  I  didn’t  know  what  I  was  doing.  I’m  very  sorry.’ And  Mr  Seeders  left.

   And  Mr  Seeders  left.

   But  Tildy  ran  into  the kitchen,  and  she  began  to  cry. She  could  not  stop crying.  She was  no  longer  beautiful. No  man  loved  her.  No  man  wanted  her. The  kiss meant  nothing  to  Mr  Seeders.  Tildy  did  not  like  him very  much,  but the  kiss  was  important  to  her  —  and now  there  was  nothing.

   But  she  still  had  her  friend,  and  Aileen  put  her  arm round  Tildy.  Aileen  did not  really  understand,  but  she said,  ‘Don’t  be  unhappy,  Tildy.  That  little  Seeders has got a face like a dead potato!  He’s nothing.  A real man never  says  sorry!’

short story - But she still had her friend, and Aileen put her arm round Tildy.

But she still had her friend, and Aileen put her arm round Tildy.

Chapter Five: The  Memento

   The  window  of  Miss  D’Armande’s  room  looked out  onto  Broadway  and  its  theatres.  But  Lynette D’Armande  turned  her  chair  round  and  sat  with  her back to  Broadway.  She  was  an  actress,  and  needed  the Broadway  theatres,  but Broadway  did  not  need  her.

   She  was  staying  in  the  Hotel  Thalia.  Actors  go  there to  rest  for  the  summer  and  then  try  to  get  work  for the autumn  when  the  little  theatres  open  again.  Miss D’Armande’s  room  in  this  hotel  was  a  small  one,  but  in it  there  were  many  mementoes  of  her  days  in  the theatre,  and  there  were  also  pictures  of some  of  her best  friends.  She  looked  at  one  of  these  pictures  now, and  smiled at  it.

   ‘I’d  like  to  know  where  Lee  is  now,’  she  said  to herself.

   She  was  looking  at  a  picture  of Miss  Rosalie  Ray,  a very  beautiful  young woman.  In  the  picture,  Miss  Ray was  wearing  a  very  short  skirt  and  she  was  sitting  on  a swing.  Every  night  in  the  theatre  she  went  high  in  the air  on  her swing,  over  the  heads  of  all  the  people.

   When  she  did  this,  all  the  men  in  the  theatre  got  very excited  and stood  up.  This  was because,  when her long beautiful  legs  were  high  in  the  air,  her  yellow  garter flew  off  and  fell  down  to  the  men  below.  She  did  this every  evening,  and  every  evening  a  hundred  hands went  up  to  catch  the  garter.  She  did  other  things.  She sang,  she  danced,  but  when  she got  onto  her  swing,  all the  men  stood  up.  Miss  Ray  did  not  have  to  try  very hard  to  find  work  in  the  theatre.

   After  two  years  of this,  Miss  D’Armande  remembered, Miss  Ray  suddenly  left the  theatre  and  went  to  live  in the  country.

   And  seventeen  minutes  after  Miss  D’Armande  said, ‘I’d  like  to  know  where  Lee  is  now’,  somebody knocked  on  the  door.

   It  was,  of course,  Rosalie  Ray.

   ‘Come  in,’  Miss  D’Armande  called,  and  Miss  Ray came  in.  Yes,  it  was  Rosalie.  She  took  off her  hat,  and Miss  D’Armande  could  see  that  she  looked very  tired and  unhappy.

   ‘I’ve  got  the  room  above  you,’  Rosalie  said.  ‘They told  me  at  the  desk downstairs  that  you  were  here.’

   ‘I’ve  been  here  since  the  end  of  April,’  Lynnette replied.  ‘I  begin  work  again  next  week,  out  in  a  small town.  But  you  left  the  theatre  three  months  ago,  Lee. Why  are  you  here?’

short story - Rosalie Ray did this every evening, and every evening a hundred hands went up to catch the garter.

Rosalie Ray did this every evening, and every evening a hundred hands went up to catch the garter.

‘I’ll  tell  you,  Lynn,  but  give  me  a  drink  first.’  Miss D’Armande  passed  a  bottle to  her  friend.

‘Ah,  that’s  good!’  said  Rosalie.  ‘My  first  drink  for three  months.  Yes,  Lynn,  I  left  the  theatre  because  I was  tired  of the  life,  and  because  I  was  tired  of  men — well,  the  men  who  come  to  the  theatre.  You  know  we have  to  fight  them  off  all  the  time.  They’re  animals! They  ask  you  to  go  out  with  them,  they  buy  you  a drink  or  two  —  and  then  they  think  that  they  can  do what  they  want!  It’s  terrible!  And  we  work  hard,  we get  very  little  money  for  it,  we  wait  to  get  to  the  top  — and  it  never  happens.  But  most  of all,  I  left  because  of the  men.

   ‘Well,  I  saved  two  hundred  dollars  and  when summer  came,  I  left  the  theatre  and  went  to  a  little village  by  the  sea  on  Long  Island.  I  planned  to  stay there  for  the  summer,  and  then  learn  how to  be  a  better actress.

   ‘But  there  was  another  person  who  was  staying  in the same  house — the Reverend  Arthur Lyle.  Yes,  Lynn, a  man of the  church!  When  I  saw him for the first time, I  fell  in  love  with  him  at  once.  He  was  a  fine  man  and he  had  a wonderful  voice!

   ‘Well,  it’s only a short story, Lynn.  A month later we decided  to  marry.  We planned  to  live  in  a  little  house near  the  church,  with  lots  of flowers  and  animals.

    ‘No,  I  didn’t tell  him  that  I  was  an  actress.  I  wanted to  forget  it  and  to  put  that  life  behind  me.

   ‘Oh,  I  was  happy!  I  went  to  church,  I  helped  the women  in the village. Arthur and I went for long walks —  and  that  little  village  was  the  best  place  in  the  world. I  wanted  to  live there  for  ever  .  .  .

   ‘But  one  morning,  the  old  woman  who  worked  in the  house  began  to  talk about  Arthur.  She  thought  that he  was  wonderful,  too.  But  then  she  told  me  that Arthur  was  in  love  once  before,  and  that  it  ended unhappily.  She  said  that, in  his  desk,  he  kept  a memento  —  something  which  belonged  to  the  girl.Sometimes  he  took  it  out  and  looked  at  it.  But  she didn’t  know  what  it was  —  and  his  desk  was  locked.

short story - “Yes, Lynn, I left the theatre because I was tired of men.”

“Yes, Lynn, I left the theatre because I was tired of men.”

‘That  afternoon  I  asked  him  about  it.

   ‘ «Ida,»  he  said,  (of  course,  I  used  my  real  name there)  «it  was  before  I knew  you,  and  I  never  met  her.

It  was  different  from  my  love  for  you.»

‘ «Was  she  beautiful?»  I  asked.

‘ «She  was  very  beautiful,»  replied  Arthur.

‘ «Did  you  see  her  often?»

‘ «About  ten  times,»  he  said.

‘ «And  this  memento  —  did  she  send  it  to  you?»

‘ «It  came  to  me  from  her,»  he  said.

‘ «Why did you never meet her?»  I  asked.

‘ «She  was  far  above  me,»  he  answered.  «But,  Ida, it’s  finished.  You’re  not  angry,  are  you?»

   «Why,  no.  I  love  you  ten  times  more  than  before.» And  I  did,  Lynn.  Can  you  understand  that?  What  a beautiful  love  that  was!  He  never  met  her,  never  spoke to  her,  but  he  loved  her,  and  wanted  nothing from  her. He  was  different  from  other  men,  I  thought  —  a  really good  man!

   ‘About  four  o’clock  that  afternoon,  Arthur  had  to  go out.  The  door  of his  room  was  open,  his  desk  was  un-locked,  and I decided to look at this memento.  I opened the  desk  and  slowly  I  took  out  the  box  and  opened  it.

   ‘I  took  one look  at that memento,  and then I  went to my  room  and  packed  my  suitcase.  My  wonderful Arthur,  this  really good  man,  was  no  different  from  all the  other  men!’

   ‘But,  Lee,  what  was  in  the  box?’  Miss  D’Armande asked.

    ‘It  was  one  of  my  yellow  garters!’  cried  Miss  Ray.

short story - “Arthur was different from other men, I thought – a really good man.”

“Arthur was different from other men, I thought – a really good man.”

— THE END —

Source: englishonlineclub.com

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