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Scheaffer, C. Gibson (ed.) / Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XXVI, Number 3 (March 1927)

Bunting, Elizabeth
A Greek fragment,   p. 12


Page 12

saying, "I am going to make you a
proposition. I want you to come with
me and live with me."
What did he mean? The girl won-
dered. She searched his face with a
cunning smile.
"Live with you ?" She put her
question on "live." "Yes, live. As-
as my daughter," Simon explained.
The girl kept silent, but regarded him
with her pretty eyes. "So you won't
have to-to do all this," Simon blurt-
ed by way of inducement.
The drinks arrived on a tray. Si-
mon fumbled with the wrapper. on
the straws. His fingers seemed to
have escaped his control. He looked
slyly at the girl as she sucked at her
straws. Her eardrops glittered in the
light. Simon put his lips to the straws.
He had quite nice hair, silky and long
and wavy. But that was perhaps the
only nice thing about him. His eyes
were small and black and buried deep
in their sockets; nose quite enormous;
and a mouth that ran big above a
bony jutting chin. His neck was
rather stringy. The girl's eyes watch-
ed his fingers, knotted and stumpy, as
the twitched round his glass. She
wondered if he was quite right in his
head. Simon's voice quavered as he
spoke again.
"You can do what you like. Dress
as you like, go where you like, if only
you would come to me. Give this up
and let me look after you. You can
have all you want."
The girl was setting her glass
down. She seemed to be thinking.
Was she going to leave his now-
murmur "Thank you," and get up
quietly?
"Whats your game anyway?" she
asked.
"Game, game," repeated Simon,
"Why, I mean just what I say."
The girl's rouged lip curled. "A
pretty nerve you have, haven't you,"
she said slowly, "to ask a girl like me
to take up with a man like you, a man
with a-"
"Don't say that word," shrieked
Simon. And the very instant-Si-
mon, what are you doing.?-he hurled
his glass across at the girl. It caught
her on the head, and shattered. The
pieces clinked as they dropped. Si-
mon's mind fled to aunt Lotte and the
scar that was hidden under his hair.
And his eye in that blind moment
worked with unnatural haste. He saw
the lustre of the soda fountain-some-
one opening a bottle-gaudy colours
of stacked magazines-s o m e o n e
stamping on the fag-end of a cigar-
ette-the pain-carved grimace on the
girl's face as her hands leapt to her
head. .
After that Simon best remembered
the streets flowing white before his
dull eyes as he sat abject beside the
policeman he had observed talking at
a corner with a taxi-driver.
And when the time came, the pun-
dits of the police court analysed Si-
con and the seeds of his offense.
They said it was a case of "mental
aberration." Yes?
A GREEK FRAGMENT
H IGH heavens quake
Vast forests shake,
When Zeus goes forth a-wooing.
A maid once she,
But now a tree,
When Hera learns what's doing.
-Elizabeth Bunting
[12]


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