داستان The Poet and the Peasant صفحه 2
تعداد بازديد : 284
Knowingly, smilingly, the city crowds passed him by. They saw the raw stranger stand in the gutter and stretch his neck at the tall buildings. At this they ceased to smile, and even to look at him. It had been done so often. A few glanced at the antique valise to see what Coney 'attraction' or brand of chewing-gum he might be thus dinning into his memory. But for the most part he was ignored. Even the newsboys looked bored when he scampered like a circus clown out of the way of cabs and street-cars. At Eighth Avenue stood 'Bunco Harry,' with his dyed moustache and shiny, good-natured eyes. Harry was too good an artist not to be pained at the sight of an actor overdoing his part. He edged up to the countryman, who had stopped to open his mouth at a jewellery store window, and shook his head. 'Too thick, pal,' he said critically - 'too thick by a couple of inches.I don't know what your lay is; but you've got the properties on too thick. That hay, now - why, they don't even allow that on Proctor's circuit any more.' 'I don't understand you, mister,' said the green one. 'I'm not lookin' for any circus. I've just run down from Ulster County to look at the town, bein' that the hayin's over with. Gosh! but it's a whopper. I thought Poughkeepsie was some punkins; but this here town is five times as big.' 'Oh, well,' said 'Bunco Harry,' raising his eyebrows, 'I didn't mean to butt in. You don't have to tell. I thought you ought to tone down a little, so I tried to put you wise. Wish you success at your graft, whatever it is. Come and have a drink, anyhow.' 'I wouldn't mind having a glass of lager beer,' acknowledged the other. They went to a caféfrequented by men with smooth faces and shifty eyes, and sat at their drinks. 'I'm glad I come across you, mister,' said Haylocks. 'How'd you like to play a game or two of seven-up? I've got the keerds.' He fished them out of Noah's valise - a rare, inimitable deck, greasy with bacon suppers and grimy with the soil of cornfields. 'Bunco Harry' laughed loud and briefly. 'Not for me, sport,' he said firmly. 'I don't go against that make-up of yours for a cent. But I still say you've overdone it. The Reubs haven't dressed like that since '79. I doubt if you could work Brooklyn for a key-winding watch with that lay-out.' 'Oh, you needn't think I ain't got the money,' boasted Haylocks. He drew forth a tightly rolled mass or bills as large as a teacup, and laid it on the table. 'Got that for my share of grandmother's farm,' he announced. 'There's $950 in that roll. Thought I'd come into the city and look around for a likely business to go into.' 'Bunco Harry' took up the roll of money and looked at it with almost respect in his smiling eyes. 'I've seen worse,' he said critically. 'But you'll never do it in them clothes. You want to get light tan shoes and a black suit and a straw hat with a coloured band, and talk a good deal about Pittsburg and freight differentials, and drink sherry for breakfast in order to work off phony stuff like that.' 'What's his line?' asked two or three shifty-eyed men of 'Bunco Harry' after Haylocks had gathered up his impugned money and departed.