داستان کوتاه The Coming-out of Maggie صفحه 5
تعداد بازديد : 285
Dempsey's eyes brightened. He held up an inspired forefinger as though a brilliant idea had struck him. 'I've got it now,' he said cordially. 'It was just a little mistake. You ain't no O'Sullivan. You are a ring-tailed monkey. Excuse us for not recognizing you at first.' O'Sullivan's eye flashed. He made a quick movement, but Andy Geoghan was ready and caught his arm. Dempsey nodded at Andy and William McMahan, the secretary of the club, and walked rapidly toward a door at the rear of the hall. Two other members of the Give and Take Association swiftly joined the little group. Terry O'Sullivan was now in the hands of the Board of Rules and Social Referees. They spoke to him briefly and softly, and conducted him out through the same door at the rear. This movement on the part of the Clover Leaf members requires a word of elucidation. Back of the association hall was a smaller room rented by the club. In this room personal difficulties that arose on the ballroom floor were settled, man to man, with the weapons of nature, under the supervision of the Board. No lady could say that she had witnessed a fight at a Clover Leaf hop in several years. Its gentlemen members guaranteed that. So easily and smoothly had Dempsey and the Board done their preliminary work that many in the hall had not noticed the checking of the fascinating O'Sullivan's social triumph. Among these was Maggie. She looked about for her escort. 'Smoke up!' said Rose Cassidy. 'Wasn't you on? Demps Donovan picked a scrap with your Lizzie-boy, and they've waltzed out to the slaughter-room with him. How's my hair look done up this way, Mag?' Maggie laid a hand on the bosom of her cheesecloth waist. 'Gone to fight with Dempsey!' she said breathlessly. 'They've got to be stopped. Dempsey Donovan can't fight him. Why, he'll - he'll kill him!' 'Ah, what do you care?' said Rosa. 'Don't some of 'em fight every hop? But Maggie was off, darting her zigzag way through the maze of dancers. She burst through the rear door into the dark hall and then threw her solid shoulder against the door of the room of single combat. It gave way, and in the instant that she entered her eye caught the scene - the Board standing about with open watches; Dempsey Donovan in his shirt-sleeves dancing, lightfooted, with the wary grace of the modern pugilist, within easy reach of his adversary; Terry O'Sullivan standing with arm folded and a murderous look in his dark eyes. And without slacking the speed of her entrance she leaped forward with a scream - leaped in time to catch and hang upon the arm of O'Sullivan that was suddenly uplifted, and to whisk from it the long, bright stiletto that he had drawn from his bosom.