The After House
23. Free Again
With the submission of the case to the jury, the witnesses were given their
freedom. McWhirter had taken a room for me for a day or two to give me time to
look about; and, his own leave of absence from his hospital being for ten days,
we had some time together.
My situation was better than it had been in the summer. I had my strength again,
although the long confinement had told on me. But my position was precarious
enough. I had my pay from the Ella, and nothing else. And McWhirter, with a
monthly stipend from his hospital of twenty-five dollars, was not much better off.
My first evening of freedom we spent at the theater. We bought the best seats in
the house, and we dressed for the occasion - being in the position of having
nothing to wear between shabby everyday wear and evening clothes.
"It is by way of celebration," Mac said, as he put a dab of shoe-blacking over a
hole in his sock; "you having been restored to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness. That's the game, Leslie - the pursuit of happiness."
I was busy with a dress tie that I had washed and dried by pasting it on a mirror,
an old trick of mine when funds ran low. I was trying to enter into Mac's festive
humor, but I had not reacted yet from the horrors of the past few months.
"Happiness!" I said scornfully. "Do you call this happiness?"
He put up the blacking, and, coming to me, stood eyeing me in the mirror as I
arranged my necktie.
"Don't be bitter," he said. "Happiness was my word. The Good Man was good to
you when he made you. That ought to be a source of satisfaction. And as for the