داستان A Municipal Report صفحه 10
تعداد بازديد : 416
Azalea Adair seemed to reflect. 'I have never thought of it that way,' she said, with a kind of sincere intensity that seemed to belong to her. 'Isn't it in the still, quiet places that things do happen? I fancy that when God began to create the earth on the first Monday morning one could have leaned out one's windows and heard the drop of mud splashing from His trowel as He built up the everlasting hills. What did the noisiest project in the world - I mean the building of the tower of Babel - result in finally? A page and a half of Esperanto in the North American Review.'
'Of course,' said I platitudinously, 'human nature is the same everywhere; but there is more colour - er - more drama and movement and - er - romance in some cities than in others.'
'On the surface,' said Azalea Adair. 'I have travelled many times around the world in a golden airship wafted on two wings - print and dreams. I have seen (on one of my imaginary tours) the Sultan of Turkey bow-string with his own hands one of his wives who had uncovered her face in public. I have seen a man in Nashville tear up his theatre tickets because his wife was going out with her face covered - with rice powder. In San Francisco's Chinatown I saw the slave girl Sing Yee dipped slowly, inch by inch, in boiling almond oil to make her swear she would never see her American lover again. She gave in when the boiling oil had reached three inches above her knee. At a euchre party in East Nashville the other night I saw Kitty Morgan cut dead by seven of her schoolmates and lifelong friends because she had married a house painter. The boiling oil was sizzling as high as her heart; but I wish you could have seen the fine little smile that she carried from table to table. Oh yes, it is a humdrum town. Just a few miles of redbrick houses and mud and stores and lumber yards.'
Someone knocked hollowly at the back of the house. Azalea Adair breathed a soft apology and went to investigate the sound. She came back in three minutes with brightened eyes, a faint flush on her cheeks, and ten years lifted from her shoulders. 'You must have a cup of tea before you go,' she said, 'and a sugar cake.'
She reached and shook a little iron bell. In shuffled a small negro girl about twelve, bare-foot, not very tidy, glowering at me with thumb in mouth and bulging eyes. Azalea Adair opened a tiny, worn purse and drew out a dollar bill, a dollar bill with the upper right-hand corner missing, torn in two pieces and pasted together again with a strip of blue tissuepaper. It was one of the bills I had given the piratical negro - there was no doubt of it.