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   Chapter 4 No.4

Windy McPherson's Son By Sherwood Anderson Characters: 32734

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


John Telfer's friendship was a formative influence upon Sam McPherson. His father's worthlessness and the growing realisation of the hardship of his mother's position had given life a bitter taste in his mouth, and Telfer sweetened it. He entered with zeal into Sam's thoughts and dreams, and tried valiantly to arouse in the quiet, industrious, money-making boy some of his own love of life and beauty. At night, as the two walked down country roads, the man would stop and, waving his arms about, quote Poe or Browning or, in another mood, would compel Sam's attention to the rare smell of a hayfield or to a moonlit stretch of meadow.

Before people gathered on the streets he teased the boy, calling him a little money grubber and saying, "He is like a little mole that works underground. As the mole goes for a worm so this boy goes for a five-cent piece. I have watched him. A travelling man goes out of town leaving a stray dime or nickel here and within an hour it is in this boy's pocket. I have talked to banker Walker of him. He trembles lest his vaults become too small to hold the wealth of this young Croesus. The day will come when he will buy the town and put it into his vest pocket."

For all his public teasing of the boy Telfer had the genius to adopt a different attitude when they were alone together. Then he talked to him openly and freely as he talked to Valmore and Freedom Smith and to other cronies of his on the streets of Caxton. Walking along the road he would point with his cane to the town and say, "You and that mother of yours have more of the real stuff in you than the rest of the boys and mothers of the town put together."

In all Caxton Telfer was the only man who knew books and who took them seriously. Sam sometimes found his attitude toward them puzzling and would stand with open mouth listening as Telfer swore or laughed at a book as he did at Valmore or Freedom Smith. He had a fine portrait of Browning which he kept hung in the stable and before this he would stand, his legs spread apart, and his head tilted to one side, talking.

"A rich old sport you are, eh?" he would say, grinning. "Getting yourself discussed by women and college professors in clubs, eh? You old fraud!"

Toward Mary Underwood, the school teacher who had become Sam's friend and with whom the boy sometimes walked and talked, Telfer had no charity. Mary Underwood was a sort of cinder in the eyes of Caxton. She was the only child of Silas Underwood, the town harness maker, who once had worked in a shop belonging to Windy McPherson. After the business failure of Windy he had started independently and for a time did well, sending his daughter to a school in Massachusetts. Mary did not understand the people of Caxton and the people misunderstood and distrusted her. Taking no part in the life of the town and keeping to herself and to her books she awoke a kind of fear in others. Because she did not join them at church suppers, or go from porch to porch gossiping with other women through the long summer evenings, they thought her something abnormal. On Sundays she sat alone in her pew at church and on Saturday afternoons, come storm, come sunshine, she walked on country roads and through the woods accompanied by a collie dog. She was a small woman with a straight, slender figure and had fine blue eyes filled with changing lights, hidden by the eye-glasses she almost constantly wore. Her lips were very full and red, and she sat with them parted so that the edges of her fine teeth showed. Her nose was large, and a fine reddish-brown colour glowed in her cheeks. Though different, she had, like Jane McPherson, a habit of silence; and under her silence, she, like Sam's mother, possessed an unusually strong and vigorous mind.

As a child she was a sort of half invalid and had not been on friendly footing with other children. It was then that her habit of silence and reticence had been established. The years in the school in Massachusetts restored her health but did not break this habit. She came home and took the place in the schools to earn money with which to take her back East, dreaming of a position as instructor in an eastern college. She was that rare thing, a woman scholar, loving scholarship for its own sake.

Mary Underwood's position in the town and in the schools was insecure. Out of her silent, independent way of life had sprung a misunderstanding that, at least once, had taken definite form and had come near driving her from the town and schools. That she did not succumb to the storm of criticism that for some weeks beat about her head was due to her habit of silence and to a determination to get her own way in the face of everything.

It was a suggestion of scandal that had put the grey hairs upon her head. The scandal had blown over before the time of her friendship for Sam, but he had known of it. In those days he knew of everything that went on in the town-his quick ears and eyes missed nothing. More than once he had heard the men waiting to be shaved in Sawyer's barber shop speak of her.

The tale ran that she had been involved in an affair with a real estate agent who had afterward left town. It was said that the man, a tall, fine-looking fellow, had been in love with Mary and had wanted to desert his wife and go away with her. One night he had driven to Mary's house in a closed buggy and the two had driven into the country. They had sat for hours in the covered buggy at the side of the road and talked, and people driving past had seen them there talking together.

And then she had got out of the buggy and walked home alone through snow drifts. The next day she was at school as usual. When told of it the school superintendent, a puttering old fellow with vacant eyes, had shaken his head in alarm and declared that it must be looked into. He called Mary into his little narrow office in the school building, but lost courage when she sat before him, and said nothing. The man in the barber shop, who repeated the tale, said that the real estate man drove on to a distant station and took a train to the city, and that some days later he came back to Caxton and moved his family out of town.

Sam dismissed the story from his mind. Having begun a friendship for Mary he put the man in the barber shop into a class with Windy McPherson and thought of him as a pretender and liar who talked for the sake of talk. He remembered with a shock the crude levity with which the loafers in the shop had greeted the repetition of the tale. Their comments had come back to his mind as he walked through the streets with his newspapers and had given him a kind of jolt. He went along under the trees thinking of the sunlight falling upon the grey hair as they walked together on summer afternoons, and bit his lip and opened and closed his fist convulsively.

During Mary's second year in the Caxton schools her mother died, and at the end of another year, her father, failing in the harness business, Mary became a fixture in the schools. The house at the edge of the town, the property of her mother, had come down to her and she lived there with an old aunt. After the passing of the wind of scandal concerning the real estate man the town lost interest in her. She was thirty-six at the time of her first friendship with Sam and lived alone among her books.

Sam had been deeply moved by her friendship. It had seemed to him something significant that grown people with affairs of their own should be so in earnest about his future as she and Telfer were. Boylike, he counted it a tribute to himself rather than to the winsome youth in him, and was made proud by it. Having no real feeling for books, and only pretending to have out of a desire to please, he sometimes went from one to the other of his two friends, passing off their opinions as his own.

At this trick Telfer invariably caught him. "That is not your notion," he would shout, "you have it from that school teacher. It is the opinion of a woman. Their opinions, like the books they sometimes write, are founded on nothing. They are not the real things. Women know nothing. Men only care for them because they have not had what they want from them. No woman is really big-except maybe my woman, Eleanor."

When Sam continued to be much in the company of Mary, Telfer grew more bitter.

"I would have you observe women's minds and avoid letting them influence your own," he told the boy. "They live in a world of unrealities. They like even vulgar people in books, but shrink from the simple, earthy folk about them. That school teacher is so. Is she like me? Does she, while loving books, love also the very smell of human life?"

In a way Telfer's attitude toward the kindly little school teacher became Sam's attitude. Although they walked and talked together the course of study she had planned for him he never took up and as he grew to know her better, the books she read and the ideas she advanced appealed to him less and less. He thought that she, as Telfer held, lived in a world of illusion and unreality and said so. When she lent him books, he put them in his pocket and did not read them. When he did read, he thought the books reminded him of something that hurt him. They were in some way false and pretentious. He thought they were like his father. One day he tried reading aloud to Telfer from a book Mary Underwood had lent him.

The story was one of a poetic man with long, unclean fingernails who went among people preaching the doctrine of beauty. It began with a scene on a hillside in a rainstorm where the poetic man sat under a tent writing a letter to his sweetheart.

Telfer was beside himself. Jumping from his seat under a tree by the roadside he waved his arms and shouted:

"Stop! Stop it! Do not go on with it. The story lies. A man could not write love letters under the circumstances and he was a fool to pitch his tent on a hillside. A man in a tent on a hillside in a storm would be cold and wet and getting the rheumatism. To be writing letters he would need to be an unspeakable ass. He had better be out digging a trench to keep the water from running through his tent."

Waving his arms, Telfer went off up the road and Sam followed thinking him altogether right, and, if later in life he learned that there are men who could write love letters on a piece of housetop in a flood, he did not know it then and the least suggestion of windiness or pretence lay heavy in his stomach.

Telfer had a vast enthusiasm for Bellamy's "Looking Backward," and read it aloud to his wife on Sunday afternoons, sitting under the apple trees in the garden. They had a fund of little personal jokes and sayings that they were forever laughing over, and she had infinite delight in his comments on the life and people of Caxton, but did not share his love of books. When she sometimes went to sleep in her chair during the Sunday afternoon readings he poked her with his cane and laughingly told her to wake up and listen to the dream of a great dreamer. Among Browning's verses his favourites were "A Light Woman" and "Fra Lippo Lippi," and he would recite these aloud with great gusto. He declared Mark Twain the greatest man in the world and in certain moods he would walk the road beside Sam reciting over and over one or two lines of verse, often this from Poe:

Helen, thy beauty is to me

Like some Nicean bark of yore.

Then, stopping and turning upon the boy, he would demand whether or not the writing of such lines wasn't worth living a life for.

Telfer had a pack of dogs that always went with them on their walks at night and he had for them long Latin names that Sam could never remember. One summer be bought a trotting mare from Lem McCarthy and gave great attention to the colt, which he named Bellamy Boy, trotting him up and down a little driveway by the side of his house for hours at a time and declaring he would be a great trotting horse. He could recite the colt's pedigree with great gusto and when he had been talking to Sam of some book he would repay the boy's attention by saying, "You, my boy, are as far superior to the run of boys about town as the colt, Bellamy Boy, is superior to the farm horses that are hitched along Main Street on Saturday afternoons." And then, with a wave of his hand and a look of much seriousness on his face, he would add, "And for the same reason. You have been, like him, under a master trainer of youth."

* * *

One evening Sam, now grown to man's stature and full of the awkwardness and self-consciousness of his new growth, was sitting on a cracker barrel at the back of Wildman's grocery. It was a summer evening and a breeze blew through the open doors swaying the hanging oil lamps that burned and sputtered overhead. As usual he was listening in silence to the talk that went on among the men.

Standing with legs wide apart and from time to time jabbing with his cane at Sam's legs, John Telfer held forth on the subject of love.

"It is a theme that poets do well to write of," he declared. "In writing of it they avoid the necessity of embracing it. In trying for a well-turned line they forget to look at well-turned ankles. He who sings most passionately of love has been in love the least; he woos the goddess of poesy and only gets into trouble when he, like John Keats, turns to the daughter of a villager and tries to live the lines he has written."

"Stuff and nonsense," roared Freedom Smith, who had been sitting tilted far back in a chair with his feet against the cold stove, smoking a short, black pipe, and who now brought his feet down upon the floor with a bang. Admiring Telfer's flow of words he pretended to be filled with scorn. "The night is too hot for eloquence," he bellowed. "If you must be eloquent talk of ice cream or mint juleps or recite a verse about the old swimming pool."

Telfer, wetting his finger, thrust it into the air.

"The wind is in the north-west; the beasts roar; we will have a storm," he said, winking at Valmore.

Banker Walker came into the store, followed by his daughter. She was a small, dark-skinned girl with black, quick eyes. Seeing Sam sitting with swinging legs upon the cracker barrel she spoke to her father and went out of the store. At the sidewalk she stopped and, turning, made a quick motion with her hand.

Sam jumped off the cracker barrel and strolled toward the street door. A flush was on his cheeks. His mouth felt hot and dry. He went with extreme deliberateness, stopping to bow to the banker, and for a moment lingering to read a newspaper that lay upon the cigar case, to avoid the comments he feared his going might excite among the men by the stove. In his heart he trembled lest the girl should have disappeared down the street, and with his eyes, he looked guiltily at the banker, who had joined the group at the back of the store and who now stood listening to the talk, while he read from a list held in his hand and Wildman went here and there doing up packages and repeating aloud the names of articles called off by the banker.

At the end of the lighted business section of Main Street, Sam found the girl waiting for him. She began to tell of the subterfuge by which she had escaped her father.

"I told him I would go home with my sister," she said, tossing her head.

Taking hold of the boy's hand, she led him along the shaded street. For the first time Sam walked in the company of one of the strange beings that had begun to bring him uneasy nights, and overcome with the wonder of it the blood climbed through his body and made his head reel so that he walked in silence unable to understand his own emotions. He felt the soft hand of the girl with delight; his heart pounded against the walls of his chest and a choking sensation gripped at his throat.

Walking along the street, past lighted residences where the low voices of women in talk greeted his ears, Sam was inordinately proud. He thought that he should like to turn and walk with this girl through the lighted Main Street. Had she not chosen him from among all the boys of the town; had she not, with a flutter of her little, white hand, called to him with a call that he wondered the men upon the cracker barrels had not heard? Her boldness and his own took his breath away. He could

not talk. His tongue seemed paralysed.

Down the street went the boy and girl, loitering in the shadows, hurrying past the dim oil lamps at street crossings, getting from each other wave after wave of exquisite little thrills. Neither spoke. They were beyond words. Had they not together done this daring thing?

In the shadow of a tree they stopped and stood facing each other; the girl looked at the ground and stood facing the boy. Putting out his hand he laid it upon her shoulder. In the darkness on the other side of the street a man stumbled homeward along a board sidewalk. The lights of Main Street glowed in the distance. Sam drew the girl toward him. She raised her head. Their lips met, and then, throwing her arms about his neck, she kissed him again and again eagerly.

* * *

Sam's return to Wildman's was marked by extreme caution. Although he had been absent but fifteen minutes it seemed to him that hours must have passed and he would not have been surprised to see the stores locked and darkness settled down on Main Street. It was inconceivable that the grocer could still be wrapping packages for banker Walker. Worlds had been remade. Manhood had come to him. Why! the man should have wrapped the entire store, package after package, and sent it to the ends of the earth. He lingered in the shadows at the first of the store lights where ages before he had gone, a mere boy, to meet her, a mere girl, and looked with wonder at the lighted way before him.

Sam crossed the street and, from the front of Sawyer's barber shop, looked into Wildman's. He felt like a spy looking into the camp of an enemy. There before him sat the men into whose midst he had it in his power to cast a thunderbolt. He might walk to the door and say, truthfully enough, "Here before you is a boy that by the flutter of a white hand has been made into a man; here is one who has wrung the heart of womankind and eaten his fill at the tree of the knowledge of life."

In the grocery the talk still continued among the men upon the cracker barrels who seemed unconscious of the boy's slinking entrance. Indeed, their talk had sunk. From talking of love and of poets they talked of corn and of steers. Banker Walker, his packages of groceries lying on the counter, smoked a cigar.

"You can fairly hear the corn growing to-night," he said. "It wants but another shower or two and we shall have a record crop. I plan to feed a hundred steers at my farm out Rabbit Road this winter."

The boy climbed again upon a cracker barrel and tried to look unconcerned and interested in the talk. Still his heart thumped; still a throbbing went on in his wrists. He turned and looked at the floor hoping his agitation would pass unnoticed.

The banker, taking up the packages, walked out at the door. Valmore and Freedom Smith went over to the livery barn for a game of pinochle. And John Telfer, twirling his cane and calling to a troup of dogs that loitered in an alley back of the store, took Sam for a walk into the country.

"I will continue this talk of love," said Telfer, striking at weeds along the road with his cane and from time to time calling sharply to the dogs that, filled with delight at being abroad, ran growling and tumbling over each other in the dusty road.

"That Freedom Smith is a sample of life in this town. At the word love he drops his feet upon the floor and pretends to be filled with disgust. He will talk of corn or steers or of the stinking hides that he buys, but at the mention of the word love he is like a hen that has seen a hawk in the sky. He runs about in circles making a fuss. 'Here! Here! Here!' he cries, 'you are making public something that should be kept hidden. You are doing in the light of day what should only be done with a shamed face in a darkened room.' Why, boy, if I were a woman in this town I would not stand it-I would go to New York, to France, to Paris-To be wooed for but a passing moment by a shame-faced yokel without art-uh-it is unthinkable."

The man and the boy walked in silence. The dogs, scenting a rabbit, disappeared across a long pasture, their master letting them go. From time to time he threw back his head and took long breaths of the night air.

"I am not like banker Walker," he declared. "He thinks of the growing corn in terms of fat steers feeding on the Rabbit Run farm; I think of it as something majestic. I see the long corn rows with the men and the horses half hidden, hot and breathless, and I think of a vast river of life. I catch a breath of the flame that was in the mind of the man who said, 'The land is flowing with milk and honey.' I am made happy by my thoughts not by the dollars clinking in my pocket.

"And then in the fall when the corn stands shocked I see another picture. Here and there in companies stand the armies of the corn. It puts a ring in my voice to look at them. 'These orderly armies has mankind brought out of chaos,' I say to myself. 'On a smoking black ball flung by the hand of God out of illimitable space has man stood up these armies to defend his home against the grim attacking armies of want.'"

Telfer stopped and stood in the road with his legs spread apart. He took off his hat and throwing back his head laughed up at the stars.

"Freedom Smith should hear me now," he cried, rocking back and forth with laughter and switching his cane at the boy's legs so that Sam had to hop merrily about in the road to avoid it. "Flung by the hand of God out of illimitable space-eh! not bad, eh! I should be in Congress. I am wasted here. I am throwing priceless eloquence to dogs who prefer to chase rabbits and to a boy who is the worst little money grubber in the town."

The midsummer madness that had seized Telfer passed and for a time he walked in silence. Suddenly, putting his arm on the boy's shoulder, he stopped and pointed to where a faint light in the sky marked the lighted town.

"They are good people," he said, "but their ways are not my ways or your ways. You will go out of the town. You have genius. You will be a man of finance. I have watched you. You are not niggardly and you do not cheat and lie-result-you will not be a little business man. What have you? You have the gift of seeing dollars where the rest of the boys of the town see nothing and you are tireless after those dollars-you will be a big man of dollars, it is plain." Into his voice came a touch of bitterness. "I also was marked out. Why do I carry a cane? why do I not buy a farm and raise steers? I am the most worthless thing alive. I have the touch of genius without the energy to make it count."

Sam's mind that had been inflamed by the kiss of the girl cooled in the presence of Telfer. In the summer madness of the talking man there was something soothing to the fever in his blood. He followed the words eagerly, seeing pictures, getting thrills, filled with happiness.

At the edge of town a buggy passed the walking pair. In the buggy sat a young farmer, his arm about the waist of a girl, her head upon his shoulder. Far in the distance sounded the faint call of the dogs. Sam and Telfer sat down on a grassy bank under a tree while Telfer rolled and lighted a cigarette.

"As I promised, I will talk to you of love," he said, making a wide sweep with his arm each time as he put his cigarette into his mouth.

The grassy bank on which they lay had the rich, burned smell of the hot days. A wind rustled the standing corn that formed a kind of wall behind them. The moon was in the sky and shone down across bank after bank of serried clouds. The grandiloquence went out of the voice of Telfer and his face became serious.

"My foolishness is more than half earnest," he said. "I think that a man or boy who has set for himself a task had better let women and girls alone. If he be a man of genius, he has a purpose independent of all the world, and should cut and slash and pound his way toward his mark, forgetting every one, particularly the woman that would come to grips with him. She also has a mark toward which she goes. She is at war with him and has a purpose that is not his purpose. She believes that the pursuit of women is an end for a life. For all they now condemn Mike McCarthy who went to the asylum because of them and who, while loving life, came near to taking life, the women of Caxton do not condemn his madness for themselves; they do not blame him for loitering away his good years or for making an abortive mess of his good brain. While he made an art of the pursuit of women they applauded secretly. Did not twelve of them accept the challenge thrown out by his eyes as he loitered in the streets?"

The man, who had begun talking quietly and seriously, raised his voice and waved the lighted cigarette in the air and the boy who had begun to think again of the dark-skinned daughter of banker Walker listened attentively. The barking of the dogs grew nearer.

"If you as a boy can get from me, a grown man, an understanding of the purpose of women you will not have lived in this town for nothing. Set your mark at money making if you will, but drive at that. Let yourself but go and a sweet wistful pair of eyes seen in a street crowd or a pair of little feet running over a dance floor will retard your growth for years. No man or boy can grow toward the purpose of a life while he thinks of women. Let him try it and he will be undone. What is to him a passing humour is to them an end. They are diabolically clever. They will run and stop and run and stop again, keeping just without his reach. He sees them here and there about him. His mind is filled with vague, delicious thoughts that come out of the very air; before he realises what he has done he has spent his years in vain pursuit and turning finds himself old and undone."

Telfer began jabbing at the ground with his stick.

"I had my chance. In New York I had money to live on and time to have made an artist of myself. I won prize after prize. The master, walking up and down back of us, lingered longest over my easel. There was a fellow sat beside me who had nothing. I made sport of him and called him Sleepy Jock after a dog we used to have about our house here in Caxton. Now I am here idly waiting for death and that Jock, where is he? Only last week I saw in a paper that he had won a place among the world's great artists by a picture he has painted. In the school I watched for a look in the eyes of the girl students and went about with them night after night winning, like Mike McCarthy, fruitless victories. Sleepy Jock had the best of it. He did not look about with open eyes but kept peering instead at the face of the master. My days were full of small successes. I could wear clothes. I could make soft-eyed girls turn to look at me in a dance hall. I remember a night. We students gave a dance and Sleepy Jock came. He went about asking for dances and the girls laughed and told him they had none to give, that the dances were taken. I followed him and had my ears filled with flattery and my card with names. In riding the wave of small success I got the habit of small success. When I could not catch the line I wanted to make a drawing live, I dropped my pencil and, taking a girl upon my arm, went for a day in the country. Once, sitting in a restaurant, I overheard two women talking of the beauty of my eyes and was made happy for a week."

Telfer threw up his hands in disgust.

"My flow of words, my ready trick of talking; to what does it bring me? Let me tell you. It has brought me to this-that at fifty I, who might have been an artist fixing the minds of thousands upon some thing of beauty or of truth, have become a village cut-up, a pot-house wit, a flinger of idle words into the air of a village intent upon raising corn.

"If you ask me why, I tell you that my mind was paralysed by small success and if you ask me where I got the taste for that, I tell you that I got it when I saw it lurking in a woman's eyes and heard the pleasant little songs that lull to sleep upon a woman's lips."

The boy, sitting upon the grassy bank beside Telfer, began thinking of life in Caxton. The man smoking the cigarette fell into one of his rare silences. The boy thought of girls that had come into his mind at night, of how he had been thrilled by a glance from the eyes of a little blue-eyed school girl who had once visited at Freedom Smith's home and of how he had gone at night to stand under her window.

In Caxton adolescent love had about it a virility befitting a land that raised so many bushels of yellow corn and drove so many fat steers through the streets to be loaded upon cars. Men and women went their ways believing, with characteristic American what-boots-it attitude toward the needs of childhood, that it was well for growing boys and girls to be much alone together. To leave them alone together was a principle with them. When a young man called upon his sweetheart, her parents sat in the presence of the two with apologetic eyes and presently disappeared leaving them alone together. When boys' and girls' parties were given in Caxton houses, parents went away leaving the children to shift for themselves.

"Now have a good time and don't tear the house down," they said, going off upstairs.

Left to themselves the children played kissing games and young men and tall half-formed girls sat on the front porches in the darkness, thrilled and half frightened, getting through their instincts, crudely and without guidance, their first peep at the mystery of life. They kissed passionately and the young men, walking home, lay upon their beds fevered and unnaturally aroused, thinking thoughts.

Young men went into the company of girls time and again without knowing aught of them except that they caused a stirring of their whole being, a kind of riot of the senses to which they returned on other evenings as a drunkard to his cups. After such an evening they found themselves, on the next morning, confused and filled with vague longings. They had lost their keenness for fun, they heard without hearing the talk of the men about the station and in the stores, they went slinking through the streets in groups and people seeing them nodded their heads and said, "It is the loutish age."

If Sam did not have a loutish age it was due to his tireless struggle to increase the totals at the foot of the pages in the yellow bankbook, to the growing ill health of his mother that had begun to frighten him, and to the society of Valmore, Wildman, Freedom Smith, and the man who now sat musing beside him. He began to think he would have nothing more to do with the Walker girl. He remembered his sister's affair with a young farmer and shuddered at the crude vulgarity of it. He looked over the shoulder of the man sitting beside him absorbed in thought, and saw the rolling fields stretched away in the moonlight and into his mind came Telfer's speech. So vivid, so moving, seemed the picture of the armies of standing corn which men had set up in the fields to protect themselves against the march of pitiless Nature, and Sam, holding the picture in his mind as he followed the sense of Telfer's talk, thought that all society had resolved itself into a few sturdy souls who went on and on regardless, and a hunger to make of himself such another arose engulfing him. The desire within him seemed so compelling that he turned and haltingly tried to express what was in his mind.

"I will try," he stammered, "I will try to be a man. I will try to not have anything to do with them-with women. I will work and make money-and-and--"

Speech left him. He rolled over and lying on his stomach looked at the ground.

"To Hell with women and girls," he burst forth as though throwing something distasteful out of his throat.

In the road a clamour arose. The dogs, giving up the pursuit of rabbits, came barking and growling into sight and scampered up the grassy bank, covering the man and the boy. Shaking off the reaction upon his sensitive nature of the emotions of the boy Telfer arose. His sang froid had returned to him. Cutting right and left with his stick at the dogs he cried joyfully, "We have had enough of eloquence from man, boy, and dog. We will be on our way. We will get this boy Sam home and tucked into bed."

* * *

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