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THE GUILTY PARTY

A Redhaired, unshaven, untidy man sat in a rocking chair by a window. He had just lighted a pipe, and was puffing blue clouds with great satisfaction. He had removed his shoes and donned a pair of blue, faded carpetslippers. With the morbid thirst of the confirmed daily news drinker, he awkwardly folded back the pages of an evening paper, eagerly gulping down the strong, black headlines, to be followed as a chaser by the milder details of the smaller type.

In an adjoining room a woman was cooking supper. Odors from strong bacon and boiling coffee contended against the cutplug fumes from the vespertine pipe.

Outside was one of those crowded streets of the east side, in which, as twilight falls, Satan sets up his recruiting office. A mighty host of children danced and ran and played in the street. Some in rags, some in clean white and beribboned, some wild and restless as young hawks, some gentlefaced and shrinking, some shrieking rude and sinful words, some listening, awed, but soon, grown familiar, to embracehere were the children playing in the corridors of the House of Sin. Above the playground forever hovered a great bird. The bird was known to humorists as the stork. But the people of Chrystie street were better ornithologists. They called it a vulture.

A little girl of twelve came up timidly to the man reading and resting by the window, and said:

Papa, won't you play a game of checkers with me if you aren't too tired?

The redhaired, unshaven, untidy man sitting shoeless by the window answered, with a frown.

Checkers. No, I won't. Can't a man who works hard all day have a little rest when he comes home? Why don't you go out and play with the other kids on the sidewalk?

The woman who was cooking came to the door.

John, she said, I don't like for Lizzie to play in the street. They learn too much there that ain't good for 'em. She's been in the house all day long. It seems that you might give up a little of your time to amuse her when you come home.

Let her go out and play like the rest of 'em if she wants to be amused, said the redhaired, unshaven, untidy man, and don't bother me.



A HARLEM TRAGEDY | The Trimmed Lamp | * * * * *