A Harlem Tragedy
Harlem. Mrs. Fink has dropped into Mrs. Cassidys flat one flight below.
Aint it a beaut? said Mrs. Cassidy.
She turned her face proudly for her friend Mrs. Fink to see. One eye was nearly closed, with a great, greenish-purple bruise around it. Her lip was cut and bleeding a little and there were red finger-marks on each side of her neck.
My husband wouldnt ever think of doing that to me, said Mrs. Fink, concealing her envy.
I wouldnt have a man, declared Mrs. Cassidy, that didnt beat me up at least once a week. Shows he thinks something of you. Say! but that last dose Jack gave me wasnt no homçopathic one. I can see stars yet. But hell be the sweetest man in town for the rest of the week to make up for it. This eye is good for theatre tickets and a silk shirt waist at the very least.
I should hope, said Mrs. Fink, assuming complacency, that Mr. Fink is too much of a gentleman ever to raise his hand against me.
Oh, go on, Maggie! said Mrs. Cassidy, laughing and applying wych-hazel, youre only jealous. Your old man is too frappéd and slow to ever give you a punch. He just sits down and practises physical culture with a newspaper when he comes homenow aint that the truth?
Mr. Fink certainly peruses of the papers when he comes home, acknowledged Mrs. Fink, with a toss of her head; but he certainly dont ever make no Steve ODonnell out of me just to amuse himselfthats a sure thing.
Mrs. Cassidy laughed the contented laugh of the guarded and happy matron. With the air of Cornelia exhibiting her jewels, she drew down the collar of her kimono and revealed another treasured bruise, maroon-coloured, edged with olive and orangea bruise now nearly well, but still to memory dear.
Mrs. Fink capitulated. The formal light in her eye softened to envious admiration. She and Mrs. Cassidy had been chums in the down-town paper-box factory before they had married, one year before. Now she and her man occupied the flat above Mame and her man. Therefore she could not put on airs with Mame.
Dont it hurt when he soaks you? asked Mrs. Fink curiously.
Hurt!Mrs. Cassidy gave a soprano scream of delight. Well, saydid you ever have a brick house fall on you?well, thats just the way it feelsjust like when theyre digging you out of the ruins. Jacks got a left that spells two matinées and a new pair of Oxfordsand his right!well, it takes a trip to Coney and six pairs of openwork, silk lisle threads to make that good.
But what does he beat you for? inquired Mrs. Fink, with wide-open eyes.
Silly! said Mrs. Cassidy, indulgently. Why, because hes full. Its generally on Saturday nights.
But what cause do you give him? persisted the seeker after knowledge.
Why, didnt I marry him? Jack comes in tanked up; and Im here, aint I? Who else has he got a right to beat? Id just like to catch him once beating anybody else! Sometimes its because supper aint ready; and sometimes its because it is. Jack aint particular about causes. He just lushes till he remembers hes married, and then he makes for home and does me up. Saturday nights I just move the furniture with sharp corners out of the way, so I wont cut my head when he gets his work in. Hes got a left swing that jars you! Sometimes I take the count in the first round; but when I feel like having a good time during the week, or want some new rags, I come up again for more punishment. Thats what I done last night.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|