The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories
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she gave to him. The other object she had added to the collection, the large acorn, was precious to her—but when she looked at it her face was always saddened and perplexed. 'Amelia, what does it signify?' Cousin Lymon asked her. 'Why, it's just an acorn,' she answered. 'Just an acorn I picked up on the afternoon Big Papa died.' 'How do you mean?' Cousin Lymon insisted. 'I mean it's just an acorn I spied on the ground that day. I picked it up and put it in my pocket. But I don't know why.'
would run off the liquor in those days——' The conversation would go on endlessly, with Miss Amelia's long legs stretched out before the hearth; for winter or summer there was always a fire in the grate, as Lymon was cold-natured. He sat in a low chair across from her, his feet not quite touching the floor and his torso usually well-wrapped in a blanket or the green wool shawl. Miss Amelia never mentioned her father to anyone else except Cousin Lymon. That was one of the ways in which she showed
places that were unknown to the listeners on the porch and seemed to have nothing to do with the subject. 'So Fanny and Martha Jesup were half-sisters. And I am the son of Fanny's third husband. So that would make you and I—' He bent down and began to unfasten his suitcase. His hands were like dirty sparrow claws and they were trembling. The bag was full of all manner of junk—ragged clothes and odd rubbish that looked like parts out of a sewing machine, or something just as worthless. The
once more. 'No,' he said simply, looking at her. Her mouth began to quiver. 'I can't help it. I—' Suddenly he strained his lips into a smile. 'Listen, Bienchen,' he began in a new, forced voice. 'You still play the Harmonious Blacksmith, don't you? I told you not to drop it from your repertoire." 'Yes,' she said. 'I practice it now and then.' His voice was the one he used for children. 'It was among the first things we worked on together—remember. So strongly you used to play it—like a real
the rumor started—the rumor so terrible that the town and all the country about were stunned by it. The rumor was started by a weaver called Merlie Ryan. He is a man of not much account—sallow, shambling, and with no teeth in his head. He has the three-day malaria, which means that every third day the fever comes on him. So on two days he is dull and cross, but on the third day he livens up and sometimes has an idea or two, most of which are foolish. It was while Merlie Ryan was in his fever that