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Newspaper Page Text
There on the back of a, chair hung,
pathetically empty and formless, the
red wrapper with black dots that she
always wore while getting the meals.
Her week-day clothes had been
tossed here and there in her haste. A
little paper bag of her favorite butter-scotch
lay with its string yet un
wound. Everything in the room spoke
of a loss, of an essence gone, of its
soul and life departed. John Perkins
stood among the dead remains with a
queer feeling of desolation in his
He began to set the rooms tidy as
well as he could. When he touched
her clothes a thrill of something like
terror went through him. He had
never thought what existence would
be without Katy. She had become
so thoroughly annealed into his life
that she was like the air he breathed
necessary, but scarcely noticed.
Now, without warning, she was gone,
vanished, as completely absent as if
she had never existed.
He did not care to smoke. Out
side the city roared to him to come
join in its dance of folly and pleasure.
The night was his. He might go
forth unquestioned and thrum the
strings of jollity as free as any gay
bachelor there. He might carouse
and wander and have his fling until
dawn if he liked; and there would be
no wrathful Katy waiting for him,
bearing the chalice that held the
dregs of his joy. He might play pool
at McCloskey's with his roistering
friends until Aurora dimmed the elec
tric bulbs, if he chose. The hymeneal
strings that had curbed him always
when the Frogmore flats had palled
upon him were loosened. Katy was
John Perkins was not accustomed
to analyzing his emotions. But as
he sat in his Katy-bereft 10x12 par
lor he hit unerringly upon the key
note of his discomfort. He knew now
that Katy was necessary to his hap
piness. His feeling for her, lulled in
to unconsciousness by the dull round
of domesticity, had been sharply
stirred by the loss of her presence.
Has it not been dinned into us by
proverb and sermon and fable that
we never prize the music till the
sweet-voiced bird has flown or in
other no less florid and true utter
ances? "I'm a double-dyed dub," mused
John Perkins, "the way I've been
treating Katy. Off every night play
ing pool and bumming with the boys
instead of staying home with her.
The poor girl here all alone with
nothing to amuse her, and me acting
that way! I'm going to make it up
for the little girl. I'll take her out
and let her see some amusement. And
I'll cut out the McCloskey gang right
from this minute."
Near the right hand of John Per
kins stood a chair. On the back" of it
stood Katy's blue shirtwaist. It still
retained something of her contour.
Midway of the sleeves were fine, in
dividual wrinkles made by the move
ments of her arms in working for her
comfort and pleasure. A delicate but
impelling odor of bluebells came from
it John took it and looked long and
soberly at the unresponsive grena
dine. Katy had never been unre
sponsive. Tears yes, tears came
into John Perkins eyes. When she
came back things would be different.
He would make up for all his neg
lect. What was life without her?
The door opened. Katy walked in
carrying a little hand satchel. John
stared at her stupidly.
"My! I'm glad to get back," said
Katy. "Ma wasn't sick to amount to
anything. Sam was at (he depot, and
said she just had a little spell, and got
all right soon after they telegraphed.
So I took the next train back. I'm just
dying for a cup of coffee."
Nobody heard the click and the"
rattle of the cog-wheels as the third
floor front of the Frogmore flats
buzzed its machinery back into the
Order of Things. A band slipped, a
spring "was touched, the gear was ad-