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Dresbach, Glenn W. (ed.) / The Wisconsin magazine
Volume VIII, Number 3 (December 1910)

Kinne, B. I.
The alien,   pp. 34-36


Page 34


THE WISCONSIN MAGAZINE
The Alien
    B. 1. KINNE
  "Raymond! Ra-a-ay-mund !"
  The call came through the doorway in a
coarse, grating voice. A black-haired,
rather frail, lanky youth, who had been
day-dreaming on the steps, rose mechanic-
ally and walked into the house.
  "Raymond !" The tone was sharp and
showed impatience.
  "I'm coming, mother." The boy quick-
ened his step. He walked along a short,
dark hall and entered the kitchen. A large,
red-faced woman stood by a stove in the
far corner. She was busy with a very hot
and very noisy supper.
  "G' over to Dougan's and get your pa
his beer."
  "Oh, mother, I don't see why you always
make me do that, when you know how I
hate to go and how they make fun of me."
  "Look here, Raymond, I ain't going to
have no more of this here fussing about
going to a saloon. I guess if your pa goes
and ain't hurt by it you can go. You ain't
no better'n he is, not by a long sight."
  "Oh, I know, but I don't say I'm any
better than he. I just don't like to go.
You know the way they jolly me always,
and, and well, I can't help it, I hate
a place filthy with tobacco spit and swear-
ing men. It's foolish, I know, but that
doesn't help me any, gee, I'd rather- "
  "You make me tired, Raymond," the
woman walked over to the dining table, in
the middle of the room and talked across
it to the boy. Her face was hard, but the
hardness was clearly acquired; underneath
could still be seen lines pleasant and
motherly.
  "I don't for the life o' me know where
you got such stuck up notions, Raymond.
I can't understand it, honest I can't. What
on earth ails a boy who acts like a baby
about going into a saloon is more'n I can
guess. You don't need to go, I'll send
Fred."
   She walk-d back to the stove and the
boy crossed the hall to a dampish, musty
room; he close the door.
  There was no place in the world more
unpleasant to Raymond Colwell than the
parlor. It was an absolute type of parlor;
musty, gloomy and cheerless. It was filled
with multi-colored plush furniture. The
walls were generously hung with cruelly
distorted family portraits and everywhere
were atrocities beyond description. In one
corner stood an easel supporting a gaudy
gilt frame; in the frame was a bunch of
thoroughly unnatural wax flowers. On the
mantel, which itself was calculated to pro-
duce groans from the most stolical, stood
a miniature bride and groom, waxly ex-
pressionless, and holding hands, under a
glass case. The center table bore the
proverbial family bible, large beyond use;
and the equally proverbial portrait album.
The album was bright red and was deco-
rated with an abnormally thick mirror.
This collection of monstrosities almost
caused the boy pain.
  He was one of the rare children born
alien to their own parents. He could not
tell why his tastes were different, he only
knew they were. He instinctively loved
simplicity, things really beautiful, and his
home was torture. He was really as un-
happy as though he had actually fallen
from his proper station. His father was
a clerk, uneducated, coarse and unam-
bitious. His mother was unrefined and
as uneducated as her husband. Neither
understood the boy. They would have
talks, sometimes, after he had gone to bed.
But they had not the slightest compre-
hension of the situation and, of course,
made no attempt to explain or change.
  Raymond's mind was constantly on
beautiful things. He loved good music
and pictures, he could explain neither, but
he frequently visited the art galleries and
34


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