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Gangelin, Paul; Hanson, Earl; Gregory, Horace (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XXI, Number 4 (January 1922)

Casey, Aileen
My landlady,   p. 96


Page 96

WISCONSIN LITERARY MAGAZINE
Apud Inferos
GASTON D'ARLEQUIN.
The skies are copper that were azure then,
And for the sirens singing on the wave
Billows of lava, tempest tortured, lave
Curled, hideous things that are the souls of men,
And ghastly Charon rows his ghastly freight
Across the stream to Hade's dread domain,-
'Blaspheme, accursed ones, for hope is vain,
And grovel at the feet of grinning Fate.'
They answer, 0 what dire reply is this-
One clasps another in a fiendish glee,
Her words of love are hateful with their hiss,
Her naked body filthy with his kiss:
This once was love that now is infamy,
This love's sweet passion changed to ribaldry.
My Landlady
AILEEN CASEY.
I wonder about being old. I wonder about the
inevitableness of youth's intolerance for old age; so
often its only protection against the lack of under-
standing which age has for youth.
Our landlady is old. I think she must have been
pretty once; she might even be pretty now if she'd try.
But her hair is grey and wispy, her eyes are dull, and
she never laughs. She giggles at the baby now and
then, she smiles far away and sad smiles, but she
doesn't laugh. I wonder about people who never
laugh.
She sits in the middle of a dirty room,-she isn't
a good housekeeper,-in dark horrid dresses, and
hums dreary songs. Her husband treats her like a
child, pets her, humors her; and manages her to a cer-
tain extent. He doesn't love her. He couldn't.
I'm sorry for him. He's such a nice clean man, and
he wants a cheerful home. He tries to make up to
us what she lacks.
She doesn't like us. She hates us when she calls
'us to the telephone, she shudders when we creak up
the stairs, and she thinks we take too many baths.
She seems to resent our youth, our joy in living, our
good spirits. She seems to shut herself up when we
come near her as if she didn't want us to see her torn,
ragged life-we who still expect so much of ilfe.
The other night our room was cold, and I went
down to ask about the furnace. It was never her
fault-always the furnace. There she sat, the same
huddled-up being, and I stood speechless before her.
I suddenly became conscious of my youth, my
strength, my power over this fragile torn little thing,
and I turned away. I could go out and run on the
hills and get warm; she couldn't do that. Her life
was over, she was just an empty bottle waiting to be
put away on a pantry shelf.
Sometimes I think life must have been very hard
with her. Put her up and laughed at her; stamped
on her dreams; and left her, just the physical part of
her with the inside all dead, to go on with life.
Sometimes I think she must have had a big tragedy;
but something big couldn't have left her so empty.
Maybe it's just because she has to have university
students for roomers. When you're old it can't be
enjoyable to share your house with someone you don't
like.
Maybe queer analytical young people aren't nice
to live with anyway.
96
January, 1922


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