A Poor Wise Man
On the first day of May, William Wallace Cameron moved his trunk, the framed
photograph of his mother, eleven books, an alarm clock and Jinx to the Boyd
house. He went for two reasons. First, after his initial call at the dreary little
house, he began to realize that something had to be done in the Boyd family.
The second reason was his dog.
He began to realize that something had to be done in the Boyd family as soon as
he had met Mrs. Boyd.
"I don't know what's come over the children," Mrs. Boyd said, fretfully. She sat
rocking persistently in the dreary little parlor. Her chair inched steadily along the
dull carpet, and once or twice she brought up just as she was about to make a
gradual exit from the room. "They act so queer lately."
She hitched the chair into place again. Edith had gone out. It was her idea of an
evening call to serve cakes and coffee, and a strong and acrid odor was seeping
through the doorway. "There's Dan come home from the war, and when he gets
back from the mill he just sits and stares ahead of him. He won't even talk about
the war, although he's got a lot to tell."
"It takes some time for the men who were over to get settled down again, you
"Well, there's Edith," continued the querulous voice. "You'd think the cat had got
her tongue, too. I tell you, Mr. Cameron, there are meals here when if I didn't talk
there wouldn't be a word spoken."
Mr. Cameron looked up. It had occurred to him lately, not precisely that a cat had
got away with Edith's tongue, but that something undeniably had got away with
her cheerfulness. There were entire days in the store when she neglected to
manicure her nails, and stood looking out past the fading primrose in the window
to the street. But there were no longer any shrewd comments on the passers-by.
"Of course, the house isn't very cheerful," sighed Mrs. Boyd. "I'm a sick woman,
Mr. Cameron. My back hurts most of the time. It just aches and aches."
"I know," said Mr. Cameron. "My mother has that, sometimes. If you like I'll mix
you up some liniment, and Miss Edith can bring it to you."