He had been merely a part of something else that she hated. Now, and by the few words at the door, he had become the thing personified. In the darkness of her own room she clenched her fists and glared about. Going to a cloth bag that hung on a nail by the wall she took out a long pair of sewing scissors and held them in her hand like a dagger. When I have killed him something will snap within myself and I will die also. It will be a release for all of us. For years she had been what is called "stage-struck" and had paraded through the streets with traveling men guests at her father s hotel, wearing loud clothes and urging them to tell her of life in the cities out of which they had come.
Once she startled the town by putting on men s clothes and riding a bicycle down Main Street. In her own mind the tall dark girl had been in those days much confused. A great restlessness was in her and it expressed itself in two ways.
First there was an uneasy desire for change, for some big definite movement to her life. It was this feeling that had turned her mind to the stage. She dreamed of joining some company and wandering over the world, seeing always new faces and giving something out of herself to all people.
Sometimes at night she was quite beside herself with the thought, but when she tried to talk of the matter to the members German dagger: Dolch. Winesburg, Ohio 34 of the theatrical companies that came to Winesburg and stopped at her father s hotel, she got nowhere. They did not seem to know what she meant, or if she did get something of her passion expressed, they only laughed.
Nothing comes of it.
"Vettern" in English
Always they seemed to understand and sympathize with her. On the side streets of the village, in the darkness under the trees, they took hold of her hand and she thought that something unexpressed in herself came forth and became a part of an unexpressed something in them. When that came she felt for a time released and happy. She did not blame the men who walked with her and later she did not blame Tom Willard.
It was always the same, beginning with kisses and ending, after strange wild emotions, with peace and then sobbing repentance. When she sobbed she put her hand upon the face of the man and had always the same thought. Even though he were large and bearded she thought he had become suddenly a little boy.
She wondered why he did not sob also. In her room, tucked away in a corner of the old Willard House, Elizabeth Willard lighted a lamp and put it on a dressing table that stood by the door. A thought had come into her mind and she went to a closet and brought out a small square box and set it on the table. The box contained material for makeup and had been left with other things by a theatrical company that had once been stranded in Winesburg. Elizabeth Willard had decided that she would be beautiful. Her hair was still black and there was a great mass of it braided and coiled about her head.
The scene that was to take place in the office below began to grow in her mind. No ghostly worn-out figure should confront Tom Willard, but something quite unexpected and startling. Tall and with dusky cheeks and hair that fell in a mass from her shoulders, a figure should come striding down the stairway before the startled loungers in the hotel office. The figure would be silent--it would be swift and terrible. As a tigress whose cub had been German braided: flocht. Sherwood Anderson 35 threatened would she appear, coming out of the shadows, stealing noiselessly along and holding the long wicked scissors in her hand.
The strength that had been as a miracle in her body left and she half reeled across the floor, clutching at the back of the chair in which she had spent so many long days staring out over the tin roofs into the main street of Winesburg. In the hallway there was the sound of footsteps and George Willard came in at the door. Sitting in a chair beside his mother he began to talk.
An impulse came to her. You will go to the city and make money, eh? It will be better for you, you think, to be a business man, to be brisk and smart and alive? The son shook his head. I don t try. There isn t any use. I don t know what I shall do. I just want to go away and look at people and think. Again, as on the other evenings, they were embarrassed. After a time the boy tried again to talk. In the room the silence became unbearable to the woman. She wanted to cry out with joy because of the words that had come from the lips of her son, but the expression of joy had become impossible to her.
You are too much indoors," she said. German blew: blies blight vereiteln, blies, blasen, wehen.
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He always wore a dirty white waistcoat out of the pockets of which protruded a number of the kind of black cigars known as stogies. His teeth were black and irregular and there was something strange about his eyes. The lid of the left eye twitched; it fell down and snapped up; it was exactly as though the lid of the eye were a window shade and someone stood inside the doctor s head playing with the cord. Doctor Parcival had a liking for the boy, George Willard. It began when George had been working for a year on the Winesburg Eagle and the acquaintanceship was entirely a matter of the doctor s own making.
In the late afternoon Will Henderson, owner and editor of the Eagle, went over to Tom Willy s saloon. Along an alleyway he went and slipping in at the back door of the saloon began drinking a drink made of a combination of sloe gin and soda water. Will Henderson was a sensualist and had reached the age of forty-five. He imagined the gin renewed the youth in him. Like most sensualists he enjoyed talking of women, and for an hour he lingered about gossiping with Tom Willy. The saloon keeper was a short, broad-shouldered man with peculiarly marked hands.
That flaming kind of birthmark that sometimes paints with red the faces of men and women had touched with red German birthmark: Muttermal. Sherwood Anderson 37 Tom Willy s fingers and the backs of his hands. As he stood by the bar talking to Will Henderson he rubbed the hands together. As he grew more and more excited the red of his fingers deepened.
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It was as though the hands had been dipped in blood that had dried and faded. Doctor Parcival appeared immediately after Will Henderson had disappeared. One might have supposed that the doctor had been watching from his office window and had seen the editor going along the alleyway.
Coming in at the front door and finding himself a chair, he lighted one of the stogies and crossing his legs began to talk. He seemed intent upon convincing the boy of the advisability of adopting a line of conduct that he was himself unable to define. It is not an accident and it is not because I do not know as much of medicine as anyone here. I do not want patients. The reason, you see, does not appear on the surface.
It lies in fact in my character, which has, if you think about it, many strange turns. Why I want to talk to you of the matter I don t know.
I might keep still and get more credit in your eyes. I have a desire to make you admire me, that s a fact. I don t know why. That s why I talk. It s very amusing, eh? To the boy the tales were very real and full of meaning. He began to admire the fat unclean-looking man and, in the afternoon when Will Henderson had gone, looked forward with keen interest to the doctor s coming.
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