W. H. Auden – Christmas Oratio

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Well, so that is that.  Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes —
Some have got broken — and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school.  There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week —
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted — quite unsuccessfully —
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers.  Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off.  But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid’s geometry
And Newton’s mechanics would account for our experience,
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays. The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this. To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened.  Now, recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.
And craving the sensation but ignoring the cause,
We look round for something, no matter what, to inhibit
Our self-reflection, and the obvious thing for that purpose
Would be some great suffering.  So, once we have met the Son,
We are tempted ever after to pray to the Father;
“Lead us into temptation and evil for our sake.”
They will come, all right, don’t worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine.  In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance.  The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the Spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God’s Will will be done, That, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph.

DMdJ Neu1

Gifting the Macabre!

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DMddFrühlingsstimmen celebrates the abundance of voices from around the world and beyond the grave that spring forth with coloratura brio, whether through drama, humour, or poetic music. Drawn from the legendary pages of Danse Macabre – An Online Literary Magazine, connoisseurs of multi-hued letters will be enchanted by the ample selection of fifty literary entertainments awaiting them in Frühlingsstimmen an e-anthology of the macabrely to remember.

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DM Commedia coverComedy, like tragedy, is in the eye of the beholder. One person’s pratfall is another’s karma, butterfly effect, or joy. What makes one soul chortle might make another choke on their ham sandwich. Laughter communicates nerves as much as delight. But the notion of Commedia is more objective, and universal, a pronoun that acknowledges both observational guile and stoic acceptance of quite a great deal of human constructs, if not the human condition – or humanity itself. Commedia celebrates all manner of the human pratfall as only an anthology from Danse Macabre can. Though wry storytelling, the wit of poetry, and the wisdom of wags passed, Commedia will delight lovers of letters with its dark hilarity and macabre merriment.

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Kismet coverDrawn in part from one of DM’s most beloved issues, Kismet features bespoke translation of acclaimed expat Iranian poet Ali Abdolrezaei, immortal classics of the macabrely from F. Sheridan Le Fanu and Elliott O’Donnell; poetry from Peter Marra (Peep-O-Rama) and Peter Weltner (The One-Winged Body); fiction from UK film critic Martyn Conterio and Robert J. Gregg (Death Commends Not All, Sam and the Fall of the Wall), not to mention more than a few literary surprises of the sort readers worldwide have delighted to in the pages of DM for nearly a decade. Kismet celebrates this shared joy in the unusual and the fantastic.

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DM GoulashGoulash (Gulyás in the original Hungarian) is primarily a soup, or stew, comprised of various and sundry ingredients, both hearty and well-spiced. In both Czech and Slovak, guláš means “mishmash”. Here, Goulash celebrates well-spiced letters brimming in colorful tastes, tones, styles, and voices, an international literary stew to satisfy bookish hungers for characters we have never met, images we have not yet dreamt, voices from afar – and within – we may never have otherwise heard. Featuring nearly fifty fictions, poems, and rare macabrely from beyond the grave, Goulash will not only satiate your imaginative appetites but slake your thirst for colour and zest in an increasingly deflavourised cultural landscape.

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DM WeihnachtsmarktThey say good things come to those who wait. Or almost die in the process, as the case may be. Truly, hunger is the most savory of spices, and anticipation the greatest complement to pleasure. DM ~ Weihnachtsmarkt is your supreme literary buffet of feiertagsgeschichten (holiday stories) et poésie saisonnière (seasonal poetry). Lovers of noir coloratura will groan under the weight of bookish delights from around the globe and beyond the grave, the finest fare on the literary web: prose plum puddings spiced with nutmeg and rum, hearty portions of DM’s Prix de Noël winners topped with poetic sprigs of holly, hidden holiday crackers filled with mystery and caprice, flurries of powdered sugar, perhaps the faintest whiff of classical sulfur and that tang of bitter almond…ach du liebe, what a carve-up! Let no e-book reader in your macabrely circles go without DM ~ Weihnachtsmarkt this holiday season!

Weihnachtsmarkt is one of those collections you rarely seem to stumble upon. It is a terrific journey deep into the heart of winter. Contemporary writers of poetry and prose huddle beside literary hidden gems of the past, and blend into the stark surroundings seamlessly. Weihnachtsmarkt reaches to the far corners of the globe, and spans over a century. Each poem weaved and tale spun, resonates profoundly and with poignancy. As Ezra Pound writes in the book’s epigraph, “Winter is icummen in, Lhude sing Goddamm.” ~ Benjamin Blake Evemy, author

 

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge – A Christmas Carol

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The shepherds went their hasty way,
And found the lowly stable-shed
Where the Virgin-Mother lay:
And now they checked their eager tread,
For to the Babe, that at her bosom clung,
A Mother’s song the Virgin-Mother sung.

II.

They told her how a glorious light,
Streaming from a heavenly throng.
Around them shone, suspending night!
While sweeter than a mother’s song,
Blest Angels heralded the Savior’s birth,
Glory to God on high! and Peace on Earth.

III.

She listened to the tale divine,
And closer still the Babe she pressed:
And while she cried, the Babe is mine!
The milk rushed faster to her breast:
Joy rose within her, like a summer’s morn;
Peace, Peace on Earth! the Prince of Peace is born.

IV.

Thou Mother of the Prince of Peace,
Poor, simple, and of low estate!
That strife should vanish, battle cease,
O why should this thy soul elate?
Sweet Music’s loudest note, the Poet’s story,
Didst thou ne’er love to hear of fame and glory?

V.

And is not War a youthful king,
A stately Hero clad in mail?
Beneath his footsteps laurels spring;
Him Earth’s majestic monarchs hail
Their friends, their playmate! and his bold bright eye
Compels the maiden’s love-confessing sigh.

VI.

Tell this in some more courtly scene,
To maids and youths in robes of state!
I am a woman poor and mean,
And wherefore is my soul elate.
War is a ruffian, all with guilt defiled,
That from the aged father’s tears his child!

VII.

A murderous fiend, by fiends adored,
He kills the sire and starves the son;
The husband kills, and from her board
Steals all his widow’s toil had won;
Plunders God’s world of beauty; rends away
All safety from the night, all comfort from the day.

VIII.

Then wisely is my soul elate,
That strife should vanish, battle cease:
I’m poor and of low estate,
The Mother of the Prince of Peace.
Joy rises in me, like a summer’s morn:
Peace, Peace on Earth! The Prince of Peace is born!

Give the Gift of Fanciful Fictions for the Holidays!

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jehrico

Introducing Jehrico Taxico – a dubious hero, part-time businessman, hero junk collector, and leading citizen of the eponymous Bola City, in the wide-open American Southwest of old. In JEHRICO, author Tom Sheehan (The Westering, the Harry Krisman Mysteries) brings the Western current, speaking to contemporary readers about somehow surviving in a splintering culture and sustaining a secure community in both spirit and place, blending hitherto simple folk into courageous figures seeking lives of their own even while linking hands for the common good. JEHRICO is classic American storytelling in the grandest tradition of the Western.

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When a frightened young woman brings a black diamond with inexplicable powers to the door of private detective Jack Harriger, he begins a descent into an occult murder mystery that gets him framed for serial murder and leads him to Georgia’s barrier islands. Along the way he enlists the aid of Liz Mab, a local bartender and practicing witch, who helps Harriger chase clues and overcome his painful past. When Liz is kidnapped, Harriger must take to the sea to stage a daring rescue and crack the case of the mysterious relic known as the Diamond Eye and the murderous cult that covets it.

DIAMOND EYE delivers all we expect and love in a mystery. Along with action, suspense, an overcoat-wearing detective named Harriger, and questions so dark and intriguing we have no choice but to keep on reading, Graves’ skill in winding up the tension and conveying unforgettable characters appears here in full force.” ~ Justin Nicholes, author of ASH DOGS and RIVER DRAGON SKY.

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ROWDIES Final CoverEvery pastime has a beginning. Chock full of facts and folklore, legerdemain and legends, ROWDIES depicts professional baseball in its infancy. It is the story of Connie “Yank” Griffin, and out-of-work laborer who becomes a professional base ball player to feed his young family, and team manager G.E. Devlin, universally considered “The Greatest Man Ever to Grace the Diamond”. Together and with the rest of their Nine, they take us on a journey through one season of late nineteenth century professional baseball – a world where beer sold by the quarter is drank by the gallon, where cheating ballplayers will do anything to win – or lose, and where an aging legend can ride the back of a desperate kid towards a final shot at glory in the twilight of his storied career. Fans of historical fiction and lovers of baseball alike will delight in this tale of balls … and strikes.

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Arlene Greene’s debut novel QUICKSAND is a jewel of resonant and memorable images: scenes that will echo for the reader forever. The characters are those found in the most ubiquitous encounters – beleaguered by economic pressure, and how that duress impacts love, loyalty, and, especially, family and its ties. Yet Greene never reaches for the easy palliatives of pathos or romance. Hers is a keen eye, but determinedly compassionate. Readers will easily identify with each family member’s struggle as they unfurl within their unique perspectives, providing a gripping foretaste into their own psyches as well as ours. QUICKSAND is a vivid and powerful unveiling that leaves readers with a no-holds-barred story that ultimately fills the heart.

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November 1989. The Berlin Wall falls, sending shockwaves throughout the world. Not a shot was fired. “Sam” says otherwise. A tale of nonviolence, togetherness and courage in the storied tradition of John le Carré, SAM AND THE FALL OF THE WALL chronicles an almost forgotten CIA remnant going rogue, back into the cold to protect a volcanic freedom movement from both East and West. Here, living history clashes with the winds of change, moving the reader from once upon a time to the Europe of today, and to the dashed hopes and false dreams of our own post-Cold War backyard.

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fragmentsThe sheer immensity of slaughter and dispossession has paralyzed the minds of us all. It has made amnesia a world necessity. How else could anyone have endured the loss of so much that we have loved? To find continuity, to preserve sanity, this has been the heroic struggle of our ignorant murderous age. Douglas Penick’s FROM THE EMPIRE OF FRAGMENTS is a magisterial collection of four short stories and a novella recounting the lives of a Cambodian dancer, a West Indian indigent, an Indian sitar player, an Albanian professor, and an Amazonian native. Their stories deal with love, memory, fidelity and continuity in the face of profound loss. Lovers of short fiction will be entranced by the command of language and sheer human drama used to weave these unforgettable bittersweet tales.

“These beautiful stories are connected by the themes of dislocation and wrenching change in the lives of protagonists who are carried through events beyond their control or ken. Their matter-of-fact voices belie what must have been their deepest confusion and fear in the face of such change. The flow of the narratives, together with the calm of the tone of the voices, lead the reader to the same acceptance of circumstances that the protagonists must come to – they have no other choice – and in fact they survive and take on new lives in the best way they can. This flow says, here is life, and so it goes. I loved these moving stories and their rich adornment with Penick’s gorgeous writing. Read them slowly to enjoy every word. Five stars!” ~ Julia Garry

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Misery comes in short order, and murder is often a step behind. Too, murder is not particular – certainly not to the Campus de Fleurs-de-Lys, a secret society veiled for centuries deep within the French nation. Using a soldier stained with defeat at Dien Bien Phu as their pawn, the Campus re-emerges in Montreal, Quebec, during the 1960’s. Squaring off against them is Harry Krisman, whose private investigations draw him ever closer to this sinister penumbra. With Les Habitants and their screaming fans as the milieu, MURDER AT THE FORUM introduces mystery mavens and sports fans alike to a new hero from the distant past whose adventures will thrill the house.

“An explosive, international tale of clan murder and unbreakable personal loyalties that pinpoints its characters on an historical arc from the battle of Dien Bien Phu in French Indo-China to the hockey Forum of the Montreal Canadians in Canada to the dark harbor alleyways of Chelsea, Massachusetts. Sheehan has written a cross-cultural detective masterpiece that brings to life another slant of Marianne Moore’s definition of poetry as real characters in imaginary settings, but this time in real settings. Sheehan’s language skills and his detailed narration combine with his knowledge of the intimate history of the original six team National Hockey League to produce not only a sport classic but one that has the rare specific gravity of polished crime intrigue.” ~ Donald Junkins

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Jehrico ~ Eleven Stories of a Mexican Boy Making His Way in the Old West

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jehrico“Tom Sheehan is a prolific wordsmith who excels in every genre.  Whether poetry, short stories, mysteries, westerns, fiction or non-fiction, Sheehan paints with words in ways most writers can’t imagine.  In these eleven stories, he takes readers to the old southwest and treats us to life through the eyes and heart of Jehrico Taxico.
The hallmark of Tom Sheehan’s stories is exceptional prose creating memorable characters plunked into the middle of stunning topography.  Readers become a part of Jehrico’s world as falling stars climb and dive across the prairies, as night and sleep inch their way to blackness, or pure, cool water reveals gold nuggets hidden in mud.  This is a reading experience I highly recommend.”
Laurel Johnson for Midwest Book Review
jehrico“As a lifelong reader of stories of the Old West I found all eleven Jehrico stories uniquely untypical, and presented in a compelling manner that firmly attaches the reader from the first sentence onward. Describing my emotion while reading these stories can be stated in a single word – fun – as I was gripped by Jehrico’s adventures. Reading Tom Sheehan’s narratives grabbed me as a reader. I enjoyed these stories and highly recommend them to others.”
Raymond Greiner
jehrico“The Old West has never been rendered as funny and poetic and touchingly human in so succinct a style as it is in Jehrico’s spare but succulent little gems. Tom Sheehan is a master story teller, his language and imagery deeply satisfying to the literary imagination, his characters, simply a whole lot of fun to spend time with.”
Nancy Kelley Author, The Whispering Rod
JEHRICO aIntroducing Jehrico Taxico – dubious part-time businessman, hero junk collector, and leading citizen of the eponymous Bola City, in the wide-open American Southwest of old. And like his literary forebears, Jehrico is as much a state of mind as a character. In JEHRICO, author Tom Sheehan (The Westering, the Harry Krisman Mysteries) brings the Western current, speaking to contemporary readers about somehow surviving in a splintering culture and sustaining a secure community in both spirit and place, blending hitherto simple folk into courageous figures seeking lives of their own even while linking hands for the common good.
Journey with JEHRICO into classic American storytelling awaiting you inside each of these magical tales.

Now available exclusively on Amazon.com!

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O. Henry ~ The Tale of a Tainted Tenner

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Money talks. But you may think that the conversation of a little old ten-dollar bill in New York would be nothing more than a whisper. Oh, very well! Pass up this sotto voce autobiography of an X if you like. If you are one of the kind that prefers to listen to John D’s checkbook roar at you through a megaphone as it passes by, all right. But don’t forget that small change can say a word to the point now and then. The next time you tip your grocer’s clerk a silver quarter to give you extra weight of his boss’s goods read the four words above the lady’s head. How are they for repartee?

I am a ten-dollar Treasury note, series of 1901. You may have seen one in a friend’s hand. On my face, in the centre, is a picture of the bison Americanus, miscalled a buffalo by fifty or sixty millions of Americans. The heads of Capt. Lewis and Capt. Clark adorn the ends. On my back is the graceful figure of Liberty or Ceres or Maxine Elliot standing in the centre of the stage on a conservatory plant. My references is—or are—Section 3,588, Revised Statutes. Ten cold, hard dollars—I don’t say whether silver, gold, lead or iron—Uncle Sam will hand you over his counter if you want to cash me in.

I beg you will excuse any conversational breaks that I make—thanks, I knew you would—got that sneaking little respect and agreeable feeling toward even an X, haven’t you? You see, a tainted bill doesn’t have much chance to acquire a correct form of expression. I never knew a really cultured and educated person that could afford to hold a ten-spot any longer than it would take to do an Arthur Duffy to the nearest That’s All! sign or delicatessen store.

For a six-year-old, I’ve had a lively and gorgeous circulation. I guess I’ve paid as many debts as the man who dies. I’ve been owned by a good many kinds of people. But a little old ragged, damp, dingy five-dollar silver certificate gave me a jar one day. I was next to it in the fat and bad-smelling purse of a butcher.

“Hey, you Sitting Bull,” says I, “don’t scrouge so. Anyhow, don’t you think it’s about time you went in on a customs payment and got reissued? For a series of 1899 you’re a sight.”

“Oh, don’t get crackly just because you’re a Buffalo bill,” says the fiver. “You’d be limp, too, if you’d been stuffed down in a thick cotton-and-lisle-thread under an elastic all day, and the thermometer not a degree under 85 in the store.”

“I never heard of a pocketbook like that,” says I. “Who carried you?”

“A shopgirl,” says the five-spot.

“What’s that?” I had to ask.

“You’ll never know till their millennium comes,” says the fiver.

Just then a two-dollar bill behind me with a George Washington head, spoke up to the fiver:

“Aw, cut out yer kicks. Ain’t lisle thread good enough for yer? If you was under all cotton like I’ve been to-day, and choked up with factory dust till the lady with the cornucopia on me sneezed half a dozen times, you’d have some reason to complain.”

That was the next day after I arrived in New York. I came in a $500 package of tens to a Brooklyn bank from one of its Pennsylvania correspondents—and I haven’t made the acquaintance of any of the five and two spot’s friends’ pocketbooks yet. Silk for mine, every time.

I was lucky money. I kept on the move. Sometimes I changed hands twenty times a day. I saw the inside of every business; I fought for my owner’s every pleasure. It seemed that on Saturday nights I never missed being slapped down on a bar. Tens were always slapped down, while ones and twos were slid over to the bartenders folded. I got in the habit of looking for mine, and I managed to soak in a little straight or some spilled Martini or Manhattan whenever I could. Once I got tied up in a great greasy roll of bills in a pushcart peddler’s jeans. I thought I never would get in circulation again, for the future department store owner lived on eight cents’ worth of dog meat and onions a day. But this peddler got into trouble one day on account of having his cart too near a crossing, and I was rescued. I always will feel grateful to the cop that got me. He changed me at a cigar store near the Bowery that was running a crap game in the back room. So it was the Captain of the precinct, after all, that did me the best turn, when he got his. He blew me for wine the next evening in a Broadway restaurant; and I really felt as glad to get back again as an Astor does when he sees the lights of Charing Cross.

A tainted ten certainly does get action on Broadway. I was alimony once, and got folded in a little dogskin purse among a lot of dimes. They were bragging about the busy times there were in Ossining whenever three girls got hold of one of them during the ice cream season. But it’s Slow Moving Vehicles Keep to the Right for the little Bok tips when you think of the way we bison plasters refuse to stick to anything during the rush lobster hour.

The first I ever heard of tainted money was one night when a good thing with a Van to his name threw me over with some other bills to buy a stack of blues.

About midnight a big, easy-going man with a fat face like a monk’s and the eye of a janitor with his wages raised took me and a lot of other notes and rolled us into what is termed a “wad” among the money tainters.

“Ticket me for five hundred,” said he to the banker, “and look out for everything, Charlie. I’m going out for a stroll in the glen before the moonlight fades from the brow of the cliff. If anybody finds the roof in their way there’s $60,000 wrapped in a comic supplement in the upper left-hand corner of the safe. Be bold; everywhere be bold, but be not bowled over. ‘Night.”

I found myself between two $20 gold certificates. One of ’em says to me:

“Well, old shorthorn, you’re in luck to-night. You’ll see something of life. Old Jack’s going to make the Tenderloin look like a hamburg steak.”

“Explain,” says I. “I’m used to joints, but I don’t care for filet mignon with the kind of sauce you serve.”

“‘Xcuse me,” said the twenty. “Old Jack is the proprietor of this gambling house. He’s going on a whiz to-night because he offered $50,000 to a church and it refused to accept it because they said his money was tainted.”

“What is a church?” I asked.

“Oh, I forgot,” says the twenty, “that I was talking to a tenner. Of course you don’t know. You’re too much to put into the contribution basket, and not enough to buy anything at a bazaar. A church is—a large building in which penwipers and tidies are sold at $20 each.”

I don’t care much about chinning with gold certificates. There’s a streak of yellow in ’em. All is not gold that’s quitters.

Old Jack certainly was a gild-edged sport. When it came his time to loosen up he never referred the waiter to an actuary.

By and by it got around that he was smiting the rock in the wilderness; and all along Broadway things with cold noses and hot gullets fell in on our trail. The third Jungle Book was there waiting for somebody to put covers on it. Old Jack’s money may have had a taint to it, but all the same he had orders for his Camembert piling up on him every minute. First his friends rallied round him; and then the fellows that his friends knew by sight; and then a few of his enemies buried the hatchet; and finally he was buying souvenirs for so many Neapolitan fisher maidens and butterfly octettes that the head waiters were ‘phoning all over town for Julian Mitchell to please come around and get them into some kind of order.

At last we floated into an uptown café that I knew by heart. When the hod-carriers’ union in jackets and aprons saw us coming the chief goal kicker called out: “Six—eleven—forty-two—nineteen—twelve” to his men, and they put on nose guards till it was clear whether we meant Port Arthur or Portsmouth. But old Jack wasn’t working for the furniture and glass factories that night. He sat down quiet and sang “Ramble” in a half-hearted way. His feelings had been hurt, so the twenty told me, because his offer to the church had been refused.

But the wassail went on; and Brady himself couldn’t have hammered the thirst mob into a better imitation of the real penchant for the stuff that you screw out of a bottle with a napkin.

Old Jack paid the twenty above me for a round, leaving me on the outside of his roll. He laid the roll on the table and sent for the proprietor.

“Mike,” says he, “here’s money that the good people have refused. Will it buy of your wares in the name of the devil? They say it’s tainted.”

“I will,” says Mike, “and I’ll put it in the drawer next to the bills that was paid to the parson’s daughter for kisses at the church fair to build a new parsonage for the parson’s daughter to live in.”

At 1 o’clock when the hod-carriers were making ready to close up the front and keep the inside open, a woman slips in the door of the restaurant and comes up to Old Jack’s table. You’ve seen the kind—black shawl, creepy hair, ragged skirt, white face, eyes a cross between Gabriel’s and a sick kitten’s—the kind of woman that’s always on the lookout for an automobile or the mendicancy squad—and she stands there without a word and looks at the money.

Old Jack gets up, peels me off the roll and hands me to her with a bow.

“Madam,” says he, just like actors I’ve heard, “here is a tainted bill. I am a gambler. This bill came to me to-night from a gentleman’s son. Where he got it I do not know. If you will do me the favor to accept it, it is yours.”

The woman took me with a trembling hand.

“Sir,” said she, “I counted thousands of this issue of bills into packages when they were virgin from the presses. I was a clerk in the Treasury Department. There was an official to whom I owed my position. You say they are tainted now. If you only knew—but I won’t say any more. Thank you with all my heart, sir—thank you—thank you.”

Where do you suppose that woman carried me almost at a run? To a bakery. Away from Old Jack and a sizzling good time to a bakery. And I get changed, and she does a Sheridan-twenty-miles-away with a dozen rolls and a section of jelly cake as big as a turbine water-wheel. Of course I lost sight of her then, for I was snowed up in the bakery, wondering whether I’d get changed at the drug store the next day in an alum deal or paid over to the cement works.

A week afterward I butted up against one of the one-dollar bills the baker had given the woman for change.

“Hallo, E35039669,” says I, “weren’t you in the change for me in a bakery last Saturday night?”

“Yep,” says the solitaire in his free and easy style.

“How did the deal turn out?” I asked.

“She blew E17051431 for mills and round steak,” says the one-spot. “She kept me till the rent man came. It was a bum room with a sick kid in it. But you ought to have seen him go for the bread and tincture of formaldehyde. Half-starved, I guess. Then she prayed some. Don’t get stuck up, tenner. We one-spots hear ten prayers, where you hear one. She said something about ‘who giveth to the poor.’ Oh, let’s cut out the slum talk. I’m certainly tired of the company that keeps me. I wish I was big enough to move in society with you tainted bills.”

“Shut up,” says I; “there’s no such thing. I know the rest of it. There’s a ‘lendeth to the Lord’ somewhere in it. Now look on my back and read what you see there.”

“This note is a legal tender at its face value for all debts public and private.”

“This talk about tainted money makes me tired,” says I.

DGG fur DMdJ