Archive for August, 2008

This is what I mean by racist!

Posted in black and white, hate, hate crime with tags , on August 26, 2008 by sweetangel16175

http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/Conventions/story?id=5657439&page=1

 

Suspects Allegedly Plotted Obama Shooting

Officials: Men Sought High Vantage Point at Invesco Field but ‘No Credible Threat’ Present

The sources said the men planned to seek a high vantage point overlooking Invesco Field and open fire with .22 and .270 scope-equipped rifles, though federal authorities have emphasized that there was no immediate, credible threat to the senator.

Obama, who will travel to Denver this week, is set to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for president and speak at the stadium Thursday.

Sources said that with wind movement and distance, such a shot would not have had a chance of succeeding, and described the alleged plot as “crude.”

According to ABC News sources, the investigation started after police stopped Tharin Robert Gartrell, 28, for erratic driving early Sunday morning.

His rented Dodge Ram truck contained two bulletproof vests, wigs, ski masks, walkie-talkies, methamphetamine, a .270 Remington and a .22 Ruger rifle with scope, sources told ABC News. Police said Monday that they believe one of the guns had been stolen.

Authorities arrested two other men, 32-year-old Nathan Johnson and 33-year-old Shawn Robert Adolph, after questioning Gartrell. All three men had tattoos of white supremacist imagery, authorities told ABC News.

Though authorities claimed all three suspects made admissions, it is unclear how much of what they allegedly said is racist rhetoric and how much is part of any plan, however unsophisticated.

Federal law enforcement sources described Adolph as a “longtime white supremacist thug,” and added that at least one of the men is allegedly linked to the notorious Sons of Silence motorcycle gang.

U.S. Attorney Troy Eid said in a statement that the matter is still under investigation, but that federal authorities are working “hand-in-glove” with the local authorities, specifically the Aurora, Colo., Police Department.

“We can say this: We’re absolutely confident there is no credible threat to the candidate, the Democratic National Convention or the people of Colorado,” Eid added.

 

this is what i am afraid of…. obama becomes president and obama gets shot…

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Gay Olympian wins gold

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 24, 2008 by sweetangel16175

Openly gay diver wins gold

Diver Matthew Mitcham, the only openly gay male athlete in the Beijing Olympics, won gold in the 10m platform. He beat Chinese favorite Zhou Luxin by 4.8 points, preventing China from sweeping gold in diving events. Mitcham is the first Aussie to win diving gold since 1924, but that’s not the only thing that makes him a trailblazer.

He is hardly the first gay athlete to compete but he is one of the first to be out while competing. American diver Greg Louganis did not share his orientation until his diving career was over. To Mitcham, he is just living his life as a gay man and as a diver, and there is nothing extraordinary about that:

 

“Being gay and diving are completely separate parts of my life. Of course there’s going to be crossover because some people have issues, but everyone I dive with has been so supportive.”

 

Though he wants to be known as more than a gay man, the LGBT community is proud of their star. At OutSports, a sports Web site that focuses on the gay community, his win is front-page news. The Web site brings up a good question — will NBC mention Mitcham’s orientation during tonight’s broadcast?

To Mitcham, that doesn’t seem to matter. He has gold, and has reached his goals: “I’m happy with myself and where I am. I’m very happy with who I am and what I’ve done.”

UPDATE: NBC did not mention Mitcham’s orientation, nor did they show his family and partner who were in the stands. NBC has made athletes’ significant others a part of the coverage in the past, choosing to spotlight track athlete Sanya Richards‘ fiancee, a love triangle between French and Italian swimmers and Kerri Walsh‘s wedding ring debacle.

 

you guys make a big deal out of nothing!

Sonnet 18

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 9, 2008 by sweetangel16175
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee

 

The Hangman

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 9, 2008 by sweetangel16175
Hangman
by Maurice Ogden
1
Into our town the Hangman came
Smelling of gold and blood and flame
And he paced our bricks with a diffident air
And built his frame on the courthouse square.
The scaffold stood by the courthouse side,
Only as wide as the door was wide;
A frame as tall, or little more,
Than the capping sill of the courthouse door.
And we wondered, whenever we had the time,
Who the criminal, what the crime,
The Hangman judged with the yellow twist
Of knotted hemp in his busy fist.
And innocent though we were, with dread
We passed those eyes of buckshot lead;
Till one cried: “Hangman, who is he
For whom you raise the gallows-tree?”
Then a twinkle grew in the buckshot eye,
And he gave us a riddle instead of reply:
“He who serves me best,” said he,
“Shall earn the rope of the gallows-tree.”
And he stepped down, and laid his hand
On a man who came from another land,
And we breathed again, for another’s grief
At the Hangman’s hand was our relief;
And the gallows-frame on the courthouse lawn
By tomorrow’s sun would be struck and gone.
So we gave him way, and no one spoke,
Out of respect for his Hangman’s cloak.
 
2
The next day’s sun looked mildly down
On roof and street in our quiet town,
And stark and black in the morning air,
The gallows-tree on the courthouse square.
And the Hangman stood at his usual stand
With the yellow hemp in his busy hand;
With his buckshot eye and his jaw like a pike
And his air so knowing and businesslike.
And we cried: “Hangman, have you not done
Yesterday with the alien one?”
Then we fell silent, and stood amazed;
“Oh, not for him was the gallows raised…”
 He laughed a laugh as he looked at us:
“…Did you think I’d gone to all this fuss
To hang one man? That’s a thing I do
To stretch the rope when the rope is new.”
Then one cried “Murderer!” One cried “Shame!”
And into our midst the Hangman came
To that man’s place. “Do you hold,” said he,
“With him that was meat for the gallows-tree?”
And he laid his hand on that one’s arm,
And we shrank back in quick alarm,
And we gave him way, and no one spoke,
Out of fear of his Hangman’s cloak.
That night we saw with dread surprise
The Hangman’s scaffold had grown in size:
Fed by the blood beneath the chute
The gallows-tree had taken root;
 Now as wide, or a little more,
Than the steps that led to the courthouse door,
And tall as the writing, or nearly as tall,
Halfway up on the courthouse wall.
 
3
The third he took, we had all heard tell,
Was a usurer and infidel;
And “What,” said the Hangman, “have you to do
With the gallows-bound, and he a Jew?”
 And we cried out, “Is this one he
Who has served you well and faithfully?”
The Hangman smiled: “It’s a clever scheme
To try the strength of the gallows-beam.”
The fourth man’s dark, accusing song
Had scratched our comfort hard and long;
And “What concern,” he gave us back,
“Have you for the doomed — the doomed and Black?”
The fifth. The sixth. And we cried again,
“Hangman, Hangman, is this the man?”
“It’s a trick,” he said, “that we hangmen know
For easing the trap when the trap springs slow.”
And so we ceased, and asked no more,
As the Hangman tallied his bloody score;
And sun by sun, and night by night,
The gallows grew to monstrous height.
The wings of the scaffold opened wide
Till they covered the square from side to side;
And the monster cross-beam, looking down,
Cast its shadow across the town.
 
4
Then through the town the Hangman came
And called in the empty streets my name —
And I looked at the gallows soaring tall
And thought, “There is no one left at all
For hanging, and so he calls to me
To help pull down the gallows-tree.”
And I went out with right good hope
To the Hangman’s tree and the Hangman’s rope.
He smiled at me as I came down
To the courthouse square through the silent town,
And supple and stretched in his busy hand
Was the yellow twist of the hempen strand.
And he whistled his tune as he tried the trap,
And it sprang down with a ready snap;
And then with a smile of awful command
He laid his hand upon my hand.
“You tricked me, Hangman!” I shouted then,
“That your scaffold was built for other men…
And I no henchman of yours,” I cried,
“You lied to me, Hangman, foully lied!”
Then a twinkle grew in the buckshot eye:
“Lied to you? Tricked you?” he said. “Not I.
For I answered straight and I told you true:
The scaffold was raised for none but you.
For who has served me more faithfully
Than you with your coward’s hope?” said he,
“And where are the others that might have stood
Side by your side in the common good?”
“Dead,” I whispered, and amiably
“Murdered,” the Hangman corrected me:
“First the alien, then the Jew…
I did no more than you let me do.”
Beneath the beam that blocked the sky
None stood so alone as I;
And the Hangman strapped me, and no voice there
Cried “Stay!” for me in the empty square.

The Highwayman

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 9, 2008 by sweetangel16175

  Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)

                                   The Highwayman

                                        PART ONE

                                                 I

    THE wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
    The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
    The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
    And the highwayman came riding—
                      Riding—riding—
    The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

                                                 II

    He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
    A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
    They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
    And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
                      His pistol butts a-twinkle,
    His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

                                                 III

    Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
    And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
    He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
    But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
                      Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
    Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

                                                 IV

    And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
    Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
    His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
    But he loved the landlord’s daughter,
                      The landlord’s red-lipped daughter,
    Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—

                                                 V

    “One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,
    But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
    Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
    Then look for me by moonlight,
                      Watch for me by moonlight,
    I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

                                                 VI

    He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
    But she loosened her hair i’ the casement! His face burnt like a brand
    As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
    And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
                      (Oh, sweet, black waves in the moonlight!)
    Then he tugged at his rein in the moonliglt, and galloped away to the West.

 

                                        PART TWO

                                                 I

    He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
    And out o’ the tawny sunset, before the rise o’ the moon,
    When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon, looping the purple moor,
    A red-coat troop came marching—
                      Marching—marching—
    King George’s men came matching, up to the old inn-door.

                                                 II

    They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,
    But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;
    Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
    There was death at every window;
                      And hell at one dark window;
    For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.

                                                 III

    They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest;
    They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
    “Now, keep good watch!” and they kissed her.
                      She heard the dead man say—
    Look for me by moonlight;
                      Watch for me by moonlight;
    I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!

                                                 IV

    She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
    She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
    They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
    Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
                      Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
    The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

                                                 V

    The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest!
    Up, she stood up to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast,
    She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
    For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
                      Blank and bare in the moonlight;
    And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love’s refrain .

                                                 VI

        Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear;
    Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
    Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
    The highwayman came riding,
                      Riding, riding!
    The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still!

                                                 VII

    Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
    Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
    Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
    Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
                      Her musket shattered the moonlight,
    Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.

                                                 VIII

    He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
    Bowed, with her head o’er the musket, drenched with her own red blood!
    Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear
    How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
                      The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
    Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

                                                 IX

    Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
    With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
    Blood-red were his spurs i’ the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
                      Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.

                  *           *           *           *           *           *

                                                 X

    And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
    When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
    When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
    A highwayman comes riding—
                      Riding—riding—
    A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

                                                 XI

    Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard;
    He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
    He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
    But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
                      Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
    Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

The Tell Tale Heart

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 9, 2008 by sweetangel16175

The Tell-Tale Heart

TRUE!—NERVOUS—VERY, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses—not destroyed—not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily—how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture—a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees—very gradually—I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded—with what caution—with what foresight—with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it—oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly—very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously—oh, so cautiously—cautiously (for the hinges creaked)—I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights—every night just at midnight—but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watch’s minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers—of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back—but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in bed, crying out—“Who’s there?”

I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed listening;—just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall.

Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief—oh, no!—it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to himself—“It is nothing but the wind in the chimney—it is only a mouse crossing the floor,” or “It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp.” Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions: but he had found all in vain. All in vain; because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel—although he neither saw nor heard—to feel the presence of my head within the room.

When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little—a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it—you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily—until, at length a simple dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye.

It was open—wide, wide open—and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness—all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man’s face or person: for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot.

And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense?—now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man’s heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.

But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eye. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. The old man’s terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment!—do you mark me well I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me—the sound would be heard by a neighbour! The old man’s hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once—once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.

I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye—not even his—could have detected any thing wrong. There was nothing to wash out—no stain of any kind—no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all—ha! ha!

When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o’clock—still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart,—for what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises.

I smiled,—for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them search—search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.

The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct:—It continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definiteness—until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears.

No doubt I now grew very pale;—but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased—and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound—much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath—and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly—more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men—but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I foamed—I raved—I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder—louder—louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God!—no, no! They heard!—they suspected!—they knew!—they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now—again!—hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed!—tear up the planks! here, here!—It is the beating of his hideous heart!”

The Monkey’s Paw

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 9, 2008 by sweetangel16175

THE MONKEY’S PAW (1902)

from The lady of the barge (1906, 6th ed.)
London and New York
Harper & Brothers, Publishers

by W.W. Jacobs


 

I.

WITHOUT, the night was cold and wet, but in the small parlour of Laburnam Villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly. Father and son were at chess, the former, who possessed ideas about the game involving radical changes, putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils that it even provoked comment from the white-haired old lady knitting placidly by the fire.

  “Hark at the wind,” said Mr. White, who, having seen a fatal mistake after it was too late, was amiably desirous of preventing his son from seeing it.

  “I’m listening,” said the latter, grimly surveying the board as he stretched out his hand. “Check.”

  “I should hardly think that he’d come to-night,” said his father, with his hand poised over the board.

  “Mate,” replied the son.

  “That’s the worst of living so far out,” bawled Mr. White, with sudden and unlooked-for violence; “of all the beastly, slushy, out-of-the-way places to live in, this is the worst. Pathway’s a bog, and the road’s a torrent. I don’t know what people are thinking about. I suppose because only two houses on the road are let, they think it doesn’t matter.”

  “Never mind, dear,” said his wife soothingly; “perhaps you’ll win the next one.”

  Mr. White looked up sharply, just in time to intercept a knowing glance between mother and son. The words died away on his lips, and he hid a guilty grin in his thin grey beard.

  “There he is,” said Herbert White, as the gate banged to loudly and heavy footsteps came toward the door.

  The old man rose with hospitable haste, and opening the door, was heard condoling with the new arrival. The new arrival also condoled with himself, so that Mrs. White said, “Tut, tut!” and coughed gently as her husband entered the room, followed by a tall burly man, beady of eye and rubicund of visage.

  “Sergeant-Major Morris,” he said, introducing him.

  The sergeant-major shook hands, and taking the proffered seat by the fire, watched contentedly while his host got out whisky and tumblers and stood a small copper kettle on the fire.

  At the third glass his eyes got brighter, and he began to talk, the little family circle regarding with eager interest this visitor from distant parts, as he squared his broad shoulders in the chair and spoke of strange scenes and doughty deeds; of wars and plagues and strange peoples.

  “Twenty-one years of it,” said Mr. White, nodding at his wife and son. “When he went away he was a slip of a youth in the warehouse. Now look at him.”

  “He don’t look to have taken much harm,” said Mrs. White, politely.

  “I’d like to go to India myself,” said the old man, “just to look round a bit, you know.”

  “Better where you are,” said the sergeant-major, shaking his head. He put down the empty glass, and sighing softly, shook it again.

  “I should like to see those old temples and fakirs and jugglers,” said the old man. “What was that you started telling me the other day about a monkey’s paw or something, Morris?”

  “Nothing,” said the soldier hastily. “Leastways, nothing worth hearing.”

  “Monkey’s paw?” said Mrs. White curiously.

  “Well, it’s just a bit of what you might call magic, perhaps,” said the sergeant-major off-handedly.

  His three listeners leaned forward eagerly. The visitor absentmindedly put his empty glass to his lips and then set it down again. His host filled it for him.

  “To look at,” said the sergeant-major, fumbling in his pocket, “it’s just an ordinary little paw, dried to a mummy.”

  He took something out of his pocket and proffered it. Mrs. White drew back with a grimace, but her son, taking it, examined it curiously.

  “And what is there special about it?” inquired Mr. White, as he took it from his son and, having examined it, placed it upon the table.

  “It had a spell put on it by an old fakir,” said the sergeant-major, “a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow. He put a spell on it so that three separate men could each have three wishes from it.”

  His manner was so impressive that his hearers were conscious that their light laughter jarred somewhat.

  “Well, why don’t you have three, sir?” said Herbert White cleverly.

  The soldier regarded him in the way that middle age is wont to regard presumptuous youth. “I have,” he said quietly, and his blotchy face whitened.

  “And did you really have the three wishes granted?” asked Mrs. White.

  “I did,” said the sergeant-major, and his glass tapped against his strong teeth.

  “And has anybody else wished?” inquired the old lady.

  “The first man had his three wishes, yes,” was the reply. “I don’t know what the first two were, but the third was for death. That’s how I got the paw.”

  His tones were so grave that a hush fell upon the group.

  “If you’ve had your three wishes, it’s no good to you now, then, Morris,” said the old man at last. “What do you keep it for?”

  The soldier shook his head. “Fancy, I suppose,” he said slowly.

  “If you could have another three wishes,” said the old man, eyeing him keenly, “would you have them?”

  “I don’t know,” said the other. “I don’t know.”

  He took the paw, and dangling it between his front finger and thumb, suddenly threw it upon the fire. White, with a slight cry, stooped down and snatched it off.

  “Better let it burn,” said the soldier solemnly.

  “If you don’t want it, Morris,” said the old man, “give it to me.”

  “I won’t,” said his friend doggedly. “I threw it on the fire. If you keep it, don’t blame me for what happens. Pitch it on the fire again, like a sensible man.”

  The other shook his head and examined his new possession closely. “How do you do it?” he inquired.

  “Hold it up in your right hand and wish aloud,’ said the sergeant-major, “but I warn you of the consequences.”

  “Sounds like the Arabian Nights,” said Mrs White, as she rose and began to set the supper. “Don’t you think you might wish for four pairs of hands for me?”

  Her husband drew the talisman from his pocket and then all three burst into laughter as the sergeant-major, with a look of alarm on his face, caught him by the arm.

  “If you must wish,” he said gruffly, “wish for something sensible.”

  Mr. White dropped it back into his pocket, and placing chairs, motioned his friend to the table. In the business of supper the talisman was partly forgotten, and afterward the three sat listening in an enthralled fashion to a second instalment of the soldier’s adventures in India.

  “If the tale about the monkey paw is not more truthful than those he has been telling us,” said Herbert, as the door closed behind their guest, just in time for him to catch the last train, “we shan’t make much out of it.”

  “Did you give him anything for it, father?” inquired Mrs. White, regarding her husband closely.

  “A trifle,” said he, colouring slightly. “He didn’t want it, but I made him take it. And he pressed me again to throw it away.”

  “Likely,” said Herbert, with pretended horror. “Why, we’re going to be rich, and famous, and happy. Wish to be an emperor, father, to begin with; then you can’t be henpecked.”

  He darted round the table, pursued by the maligned Mrs. White armed with an antimacassar.

  Mr. White took the paw from his pocket and eyed it dubiously. “I don’t know what to wish for, and that’s a fact,” he said slowly. “It seems to me I’ve got all I want.”

  “If you only cleared the house, you’d be quite happy, wouldn’t you?” said Herbert, with his hand on his shoulder. “Well, wish for two hundred pounds, then; that’ll just do it.”

  His father, smiling shamefacedly at his own credulity, held up the talisman, as his son, with a solemn face somewhat marred by a wink at his mother, sat down at the piano and struck a few impressive chords.

  “I wish for two hundred pounds,” said the old man distinctly.

  A fine crash from the piano greeted the words, interrupted by a shuddering cry from the old man. His wife and son ran toward him.

  “It moved, he cried, with a glance of disgust at the object as it lay on the floor. “As I wished it twisted in my hands like a snake.”

  “Well, I don’t see the money,” said his son, as he picked it up and placed it on the table, “and I bet I never shall.”

  “It must have been your fancy, father,” said his wife, regarding him anxiously.

  He shook his head. “Never mind, though; there’s no harm done, but it gave me a shock all the same.”

  They sat down by the fire again while the two men finished their pipes. Outside, the wind was higher than ever, and the old man started nervously at the sound of a door banging upstairs. A silence unusual and depressing settled upon all three, which lasted until the old couple rose to retire for the night.

  “I expect you’ll find the cash tied up in a big bag in the middle of your bed,” said Herbert, as he bade them good-night, “and something horrible squatting up on top of the wardrobe watching you as you pocket your ill-gotten gains.”

  He sat alone in the darkness, gazing at the dying fire, and seeing faces in it. The last face was so horrible and so simian that he gazed at it in amazement. It got so vivid that, with a little uneasy laugh, he felt on the table for a glass containing a little water to throw over it. His hand grasped the monkey’s paw, and with a little shiver he wiped his hand on his coat and went up to bed.

 

II.

IN the brightness of the wintry sun next morning as it streamed over the breakfast table Herbert laughed at his fears. There was an air of prosaic wholesomeness about the room which it had lacked on the previous night, and the dirty, shrivelled little paw was pitched on the sideboard with a carelessness which betokened no great belief in its virtues.

  “I suppose all old soldiers are the same,” said Mrs White. “The idea of our listening to such nonsense! How could wishes be granted in these days? And if they could, how could two hundred pounds hurt you, father?”

  “Might drop on his head from the sky,” said the frivolous Herbert.

  “Morris said the things happened so naturally,” said his father, “that you might if you so wished attribute it to coincidence.”

  “Well, don’t break into the money before I come back,” said Herbert, as he rose from the table. “I’m afraid it’ll turn you into a mean, avaricious man, and we shall have to disown you.”

  His mother laughed, and following him to the door, watched him down the road, and returning to the breakfast table, was very happy at the expense of her husband’s credulity. All of which did not prevent her from scurrying to the door at the postman’s knock, nor prevent her from referring somewhat shortly to retired sergeant-majors of bibulous habits when she found that the post brought a tailor’s bill.

  “Herbert will have some more of his funny remarks, I expect, when he comes home,” she said, as they sat at dinner.

  “I dare say,” said Mr. White, pouring himself out some beer; “but for all that, the thing moved in my hand; that I’ll swear to.”

  “You thought it did,” said the old lady soothingly.

  “I say it did,” replied the other. “There was no thought about it; I had just—-What’s the matter?”

  His wife made no reply. She was watching the mysterious movements of a man outside, who, peering in an undecided fashion at the house, appeared to be trying to make up his mind to enter. In mental connection with the two hundred pounds, she noticed that the stranger was well dressed and wore a silk hat of glossy newness. Three times he paused at the gate, and then walked on again. The fourth time he stood with his hand upon it, and then with sudden resolution flung it open and walked up the path. Mrs. White at the same moment placed her hands behind her, and hurriedly unfastening the strings of her apron, put that useful article of apparel beneath the cushion of her chair.

  She brought the stranger, who seemed ill at ease, into the room. He gazed at her furtively, and listened in a preoccupied fashion as the old lady apologized for the appearance of the room, and her husband’s coat, a garment which he usually reserved for the garden. She then waited as patiently as her sex would permit, for him to broach his business, but he was at first strangely silent.

  “I–was asked to call,” he said at last, and stooped and picked a piece of cotton from his trousers. “I come from Maw and Meggins.”

  The old lady started. “Is anything the matter?” she asked breathlessly. “Has anything happened to Herbert? What is it? What is it?”

  Her husband interposed. “There, there, mother,” he said hastily. “Sit down, and don’t jump to conclusions. You’ve not brought bad news, I’m sure, sir” and he eyed the other wistfully.

  “I’m sorry—-” began the visitor.

  “Is he hurt?” demanded the mother.

  The visitor bowed in assent. “Badly hurt,” he said quietly, “but he is not in any pain.”

  “Oh, thank God!” said the old woman, clasping her hands. “Thank God for that! Thank—-”

  She broke off suddenly as the sinister meaning of the assurance dawned upon her and she saw the awful confirmation of her fears in the other’s averted face. She caught her breath, and turning to her slower-witted husband, laid her trembling old hand upon his. There was a long silence.

  “He was caught in the machinery,” said the visitor at length, in a low voice.

  “Caught in the machinery,” repeated Mr. White, in a dazed fashion, “yes.”

  He sat staring blankly out at the window, and taking his wife’s hand between his own, pressed it as he had been wont to do in their old courting days nearly forty years before.

  “He was the only one left to us,” he said, turning gently to the visitor. “It is hard.”

  The other coughed, and rising, walked slowly to the window. “The firm wished me to convey their sincere sympathy with you in your great loss,” he said, without looking round. “I beg that you will understand I am only their servant and merely obeying orders.”

  There was no reply; the old woman’s face was white, her eyes staring, and her breath inaudible; on the husband’s face was a look such as his friend the sergeant might have carried into his first action.

  “I was to say that Maw and Meggins disclaim all responsibility,” continued the other. “They admit no liability at all, but in consideration of your son’s services they wish to present you with a certain sum as compensation.”

  Mr. White dropped his wife’s hand, and rising to his feet, gazed with a look of horror at his visitor. His dry lips shaped the words, “How much?”

  “Two hundred pounds,” was the answer.

  Unconscious of his wife’s shriek, the old man smiled faintly, put out his hands like a sightless man, and dropped, a senseless heap, to the floor.

 

III.

  IN the huge new cemetery, some two miles distant, the old people buried their dead, and came back to a house steeped in shadow and silence. It was all over so quickly that at first they could hardly realize it, and remained in a state of expectation as though of something else to happen–something else which was to lighten this load, too heavy for old hearts to bear.

  But the days passed, and expectation gave place to resignation–the hopeless resignation of the old, sometimes miscalled, apathy. Sometimes they hardly exchanged a word, for now they had nothing to talk about, and their days were long to weariness.

  It was about a week after that that the old man, waking suddenly in the night, stretched out his hand and found himself alone. The room was in darkness, and the sound of subdued weeping came from the window. He raised himself in bed and listened.

  “Come back,” he said tenderly. “You will be cold.”

  “It is colder for my son,” said the old woman, and wept afresh.

  The sound of her sobs died away on his ears. The bed was warm, and his eyes heavy with sleep. He dozed fitfully, and then slept until a sudden wild cry from his wife awoke him with a start.

  “The paw!” she cried wildly. “The monkey’s paw!”

  He started up in alarm. “Where? Where is it? What’s the matter?”

  She came stumbling across the room toward him. “I want it,” she said quietly. “You’ve not destroyed it?”

  “It’s in the parlour, on the bracket,” he replied, marvelling. “Why?”

  She cried and laughed together, and bending over, kissed his cheek.

  “I only just thought of it,” she said hysterically. “Why didn’t I think of it before? Why didn’t you think of it?”

  “Think of what?” he questioned.

  “The other two wishes,” she replied rapidly. “We’ve only had one.”

  “Was not that enough?” he demanded fiercely.

  “No,” she cried, triumphantly; “we’ll have one more. Go down and get it quickly, and wish our boy alive again.”

  The man sat up in bed and flung the bedclothes from his quaking limbs. “Good God, you are mad!” he cried aghast.

  “Get it,” she panted; “get it quickly, and wish—- Oh, my boy, my boy!”

  Her husband struck a match and lit the candle. “Get back to bed,” he said, unsteadily. “You don’t know what you are saying.”

  “We had the first wish granted,” said the old woman, feverishly; “why not the second.”

  “A coincidence,” stammered the old man.

  “Go and get it and wish,” cried the old woman, quivering with excitement.

  The old man turned and regarded her, and his voice shook. “He has been dead ten days, and besides he–I would not tell you else, but–I could only recognize him by his clothing. If he was too terrible for you to see then, how now?”

  “Bring him back,” cried the old woman, and dragged him toward the door. “Do you think I fear the child I have nursed?”

  He went down in the darkness, and felt his way to the parlour, and then to the mantelpiece. The talisman was in its place, and a horrible fear that the unspoken wish might bring his mutilated son before him ere he could escape from the room seized upon him, and he caught his breath as he found that he had lost the direction of the door. His brow cold with sweat, he felt his way round the table, and groped along the wall until he found himself in the small passage with the unwholesome thing in his hand.

  Even his wife’s face seemed changed as he entered the room. It was white and expectant, and to his fears seemed to have an unnatural look upon it. He was afraid of her.

  “Wish!” she cried, in a strong voice.

  “It is foolish and wicked,” he faltered.

  “Wish!” repeated his wife.

  He raised his hand. “I wish my son alive again.”

  The talisman fell to the floor, and he regarded it fearfully. Then he sank trembling into a chair as the old woman, with burning eyes, walked to the window and raised the blind.

  He sat until he was chilled with the cold, glancing occasionally at the figure of the old woman peering through the window. The candle end, which had burnt below the rim of the china candlestick, was throwing pulsating shadows on the ceiling and walls, until, with a flicker larger than the rest, it expired. The old man, with an unspeakable sense of relief at the failure of the talisman, crept back to his bed, and a minute or two afterward the old woman came silently and apathetically beside him.

  Neither spoke, but both lay silently listening to the ticking of the clock. A stair creaked, and a squeaky mouse scurried noisily through the wall. The darkness was oppressive, and after lying for some time screwing up his courage, the husband took the box of matches, and striking one, went downstairs for a candle.

  At the foot of the stairs the match went out, and he paused to strike another, and at the same moment a knock, so quiet and stealthy as to be scarcely audible, sounded on the front door.

  The matches fell from his hand. He stood motionless, his breath suspended until the knock was repeated. Then he turned and fled swiftly back to his room, and closed the door behind him. A third knock sounded through the house.

  “What’s that?” cried the old woman, starting up.

  “A rat,” said the old man, in shaking tones–“a rat. It passed me on the stairs.”

  His wife sat up in bed listening. A loud knock resounded through the house.

  “It’s Herbert!” she screamed. “It’s Herbert!”

  She ran to the door, but her husband was before her, and catching her by the arm, held her tightly.

  “What are you going to do?” he whispered hoarsely.

  “It’s my boy; it’s Herbert!” she cried, struggling mechanically. “I forgot it was two miles away. What are you holding me for? Let go. I must open the door.”

  “For God’s sake, don’t let it in,” cried the old man trembling.

  “You’re afraid of your own son,” she cried, struggling. “Let me go. I’m coming, Herbert; I’m coming.”

  There was another knock, and another. The old woman with a sudden wrench broke free and ran from the room. Her husband followed to the landing, and called after her appealingly as she hurried downstairs. He heard the chain rattle back and the bottom bolt drawn slowly and stiffly from the socket. Then the old woman’s voice, strained and panting.

  “The bolt,” she cried loudly. “Come down. I can’t reach it.”

  But her husband was on his hands and knees groping wildly on the floor in search of the paw. If he could only find it before the thing outside got in. A perfect fusillade of knocks reverberated through the house, and he heard the scraping of a chair as his wife put it down in the passage against the door. He heard the creaking of the bolt as it came slowly back, and at the same moment he found the monkey’s paw, and frantically breathed his third and last wish.

  The knocking ceased suddenly, although the echoes of it were still in the house. He heard the chair drawn back and the door opened. A cold wind rushed up the staircase, and a long loud wail of disappointment and misery from his wife gave him courage to run down to her side, and then to the gate beyond. The street lamp flickering opposite shone on a quiet and deserted road.

(End.)