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Mulany, John V. (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Vol. V, No. 8 (May 1908)

Berkeley, F. C.
"Mr. W. H.",   pp. 334-344


Page 334


"MR. W. H."
                       F. C. Serkeley
   The rain was pouring in runnels from the points of my um-
brella as I splashed along East Fourteenth Street and aicross
Stuyvesant Square. Now and then a puff of wind would
wrench the umbrella almost out of my hand, spattering me with
rain drops and sending a tiny chill stream down my collar.
Such weather was an appropriate setting for a day of drudg-
ery just over, and a lonely evening yet to come. This was Sat-
urday night, at the end of my first week in a big New York
"down-town" office, where I was attempting with frantic cheer-
fulness to learn new ways and to keep down inconvenient mem-
ories of home and the past summer. As for college and all its
associations-these were receding into the past with such veloc-
ity that I sometimes wondered whether I could ever have been,
for four years, a participant in that happy life of "systematic
leisure."
  With these and other cheerful reflections I climbed the stoop
of my boarding house, No. 29, Stuyvesant Square. The two
squares of blurred light that marked the drawing room windows
seemed to promise some faint cheer. But the promise was not
substantiated as, a moment later, I hung up my coat in the
vestibule, and inhaled the stale odor of cooked food that per-
meated the hall. Then I stumbled down stairs to my solitary
meal at a small table in one end of the basement dining room.
  Steering past two stout old ladies, and successfully avoiding
a negro with a full tray in high and precarious poise on his
hand, I got into my seat before perceiving that this dinner was
not to be a solitary one. I had a vis-a-vis, a little old gentleman
who, with napkin tucked in the front of his coat, was with
great nicety sipping his bouillon. I was instantly charmed with
his face,-the most benevolent that I had ever seen. He was
clean-shaven, except for that mild form of whisker known as
       [334]


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