of A. J. Bowman:
But he had not known yet how slowly he understood.
They had not meant to give him their bed. After a little interval
they both rose and looking at him gravely went into the other room.
He lay stretched by the fire until it grew low and
dying. He watched every tongue of blaze lick out and vanish.
"Therell be special reduced prices on all footwear during the month
of January," he found himself repeating quietly, and then he lay
there with his lips tight.
How many noises the night had! He heard the stream
running, the fire dying, and he was sure now that he heard his heart
beating, too, the sound it made under his ribs. He heard breathing,
round and deep, of the man and his wife in the room across the
passage. And that was all. But the emotion swelled patiently within
him and he wished that the child was his.
He must get back to where he had been before. He
stood weakly before the red coals and put on his overcoat. It felt
too heavy on his shoulders. As he started out he looked and saw that
the woman had never got through with cleaning the lamp. On some
impulse he put all the money from his billfold under its fluted
glass base, almost ostentatiously.
Ashamed, shrugging a little, and then shivering, he
took his bags and went out. The cold of the air seemed to lift him
bodily. The moon was in the sky.
On the slope he began to run, he could not help it.
Just as he reached the road, where his car seemed to sit in the
moonlight like a boat, his heart began to give off tremendous
explosions like a rifle, bang, bang, bang.
He sank in fright onto the road, his bags falling
about him. He felt as if all this had happened before. He covered
his heart with both hands to keep anyone from hearing the noise it
But nobody heard it.