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Gangelin, Paul; Dummer, Frances; Commons, Rachel (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XX, Number 7 (April 1921)

Schwinn, Walter K.
A cup of coffee,   pp. 184-192

Page 184

Return of the Fairies
Wise men said that they had gone
Never to return
In the early, opal dawn.
Though the heart might yearn
For the beat of tiny wings,
Glint of gossamer-
Wise men banish foolish things,
Fairies never were.
Elf and
Fay and Sprite
In the night
where the moon shone bright!
Pixie, who but you
the spider's web with dew?
I saw a wee child in a dell
On a summer day
Look in every flower bell
For a hidden fay.
Wise men, Wise men, come and see
Gleaming fairy wings
Where a child ecstatically
Hunts for foolish things!
Fay and Sprite
In the night
Dancing where the moon shone bright!
Elf and Pixie, who but you
Jeweled the spider's web with dew?
A Cup of Coffee
The stranger stood in the center of the tracks and
watched the red spots of light sink slowly out of sight.
As the last of the train disappeared into the dark, he
turned about and swore softly. It was cold, bitter
cold, and a strong wind blew in from the lake beside
the right-of-way; the snow, which had threatened all
day, was now stinging his face and whipping through
his thin coat. The stranger stood for a moment, in-
decisive; then he pulled his cap further over his head,
and with his head bowed, started back towards the
lights of the town, far down the track.  Lucky for
him it was so near; otherwise he'd have been forced
to cut across the frozen fields for a barn or haystack,
and Lord knows they weren't easy to find. Maybe
the station agent would let him sleep by the stove all
night, while the night telegraph operator, at his tiny
bay window, clicked at
switches for the morning
a couple of hours now,
than he had supposed?
much difference, just so
could catch another ride
The stranger trudged
with the cold tingling at
at his toes, which now
dispatches and changed the
mail. It should be along in
or was it earlier in the night
Oh, well, it didn't make
he could keep warm until he
out in the morning.
along for a half hour or more,
his ears, at his finger tips, and
and then poked through the
hole in his shoes, and scratched at the cinders on the
track. Lord, how far off was the station, anyhow?
Oh, not so much further; he had passed the first sema-
phore, and the little building was only a few rods dis-
tant. 'What a relief it would be to reach out towards
the red glow of the coals in the stove, and let the radi-
ant heat seep through and through until the head
nodded and one drowsed off into a semi-stupor! The
stranger put down his head into the stiff wind, and
ran straight for the small red building. Now he was
opposite it, now at the door. With numb fingers he
felt for the cold knob, and gave it a quick turn. The
catch scraped, but the door did not open. He stood
puzzled for a moment, gave the door a sudden jerk,
and then, with sinking heart, looked toward the bay
window, where the telegraph key was wont to click
off the night messages, where the green shaded light
threw dark shadows into the comers, and where a red
coal fire glowed. All now was dark, and the only
sound came from the rattling of a loose window,
shaken by the wind.
The snow was coming faster and faster; it swirled
and drifted in the wind like dry sand, and crunched
as grittily under foot.  The stranger stamped his
numbed foot, and looked about him for shelter. An
empty baggage truck, drifted with white piles of snow;
a row of milk cans.  In the other direction lay the
town; a white glow against the dark sky. A string
of arc lights, swinging in the wind, led down the hill,
and up again into the center of the town.   The
stranger groaned, but pulled up his collar, thrust his
hands deeper in his pockets, and, setting his face to
the blast, started again. It seemed miles up to the
tiny main street of the village, with its short blocks of
dark, lifeless stores. There was a row of street lamps
for a block or two, but only three of them were
lighted; under their brilliance, the street stretched
(Continued on page 188)
A pril, 1921

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