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It, and Other Stories   By: (1876-1953)

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First Page:

IT

AND OTHER STORIES

BY

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS

AUTHOR OF "THE FOOTPRINT, AND OTHER STORIES," "THE SPREAD EAGLE AND OTHER STORIES," ETC.

NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 1912

COPYRIGHT, 1912, BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

Published March, 1912

TO ELSIE

I

Crown the heads of better men With lilies and with morning glories! I'm unworthy of a pen These are Bread and Butter stories. Shall I tell you how I know? Strangers wrote and told me so.

II

He who only toils for fame I pronounce a silly Billy. I can't dine upon a name, Or look dressy in a lily. And oh shameful truth to utter! I won't live on bread and butter.

III

Sometimes now (and sometimes then) Meat and wine my soul requires. Satan tempted me my pen Fills the house with open fires. I must have a horse or two Babies, oh my Love and you!

G. M.

AIKEN, February 10, 1912 .

CONTENTS

PAGE It 1

Two Business Women 31

The Trap 73

Sapphira 119

The Bride's Dead 169

Holding Hands 199

The Claws of The Tiger 235

Growing Up 273

The Battle of Aiken 297

An Idyl of Pelham Bay Park 313

Back There in the Grass 337

Asabri 363

IT

Prana Beach would be a part of the solid west coast if it wasn't for a half circle of the deadliest, double damned, orchid haunted black morass, with a solid wall of insects that bite, rising out of it. But the beach is good dry sand, and the wind keeps the bugs back in the swamp. Between the beach and the swamp is a strip of loam and jungle, where some niggers live and a god.

I landed on Prana Beach because I'd heard but it wasn't so and it doesn't matter. Anyhow, I landed all alone; the canoemen wouldn't come near enough for me to land dry, at that. Said the canoe would shrivel up, like a piece of hide in a fire, if it touched that beach; said they'd turn white and be blown away like puffs of smoke. They nearly backed away with my stuff; would have if I hadn't pulled a gun on them. But they made me wade out and get it myself thirty foot of rope with knots, dynamite, fuses, primers, compass, grub for a week, and well, a bit of skin in a half pint flask with a rubber and screw down top. Not nice, it wasn't, wading out and back and out and back. There was one shark, I remember, came in so close that he grounded, snout out, and made a noise like a pig. Sun was going down, looking like a bloody murder victim, and there wasn't going to be any twilight. It's an uncertain light that makes wading nasty. It might be salt water soaking into my jeans, but with that beastly red light over it, it looked like blood.

The canoe backed out to the you can't call 'em a nautical name. They've one big, square sail of crazy quilt work raw silk, pieces of rubber boots, rattan matting, and grass cloth, all colors, all shapes of patches. They point into the wind and then go sideways; and they don't steer with an oar that Charon discarded thousands of years ago, that's painted crimson and raw violet; and the only thing they'd be good for would be fancy wood carpets. Mine, or better, ours, was made of satinwood, and was ballasted with scrap iron, rotten ivory, and ebony. There, I've told you what she was like (except for the live entomological collection aboard), and you may call her what you please. The main point is that she took the canoe aboard, and then disobeyed orders. Orders were to lie at anchor (which was a dainty thing of stone, all carved) till further orders. But she'd gotten rid of me, and she proposed to lie farther off, and come back (maybe) when I'd finished my job. So she pointed straight in for where I was standing amid my duds and chattels, just as if she was going to thump herself ashore and then she began to slip off sideways like a misbegotten crab, and backward, too until what with the darkness tumbling down, and a point o' palms, I lost sight of her... Continue reading book >>




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