Windy McPherson's Son
One evening, six weeks after the talk in the gathering darkness in Jackson Park, Sue
Rainey and Sam McPherson sat on the deck of a Lake Michigan steamer watching the
lights of Chicago blink out in the distance. They had been married that afternoon in
Colonel Tom's big house on the south side; and now they sat on the deck of the boat,
being carried out into darkness, vowed to motherhood and to fatherhood, each more or
less afraid of the other. They sat in silence, looking at the blinking lights and listening to
the low voices of their fellow passengers, also sitting in the chairs along the deck or
strolling leisurely about, and to the wash of the water along the sides of the boat, eager to
break down a little reserve that the solemnity of the marriage service had built up
A picture floated in Sam's mind. He saw Sue, all in white, radiant and wonderful, coming
toward him down a broad stairway, toward him, the newsboy of Caxton, the smuggler of
game, the roisterer, the greedy moneygetter. All during those six weeks he had been
waiting for this hour when he should sit beside the little grey-clad figure, getting from her
the help he wanted in the reconstruction of his life. Without being able to talk as he had
thought of talking, he yet felt assured and easy in his mind. In the moment when she had
come down the stairway he had been half overcome by a feeling of intense shame, a
return of the shame that had swept over him that night when she had given her word and
he had walked hour after hour through the streets. It had seemed to him that from among
the guests standing about should arise a voice crying, "Stop! Do not go on! Let me tell
you of this fellow--this McPherson!" And then he had seen her holding to the arm of
swaggering, pretentious Colonel Tom and he had taken her hand to become one with her,
two curious, feverish, strangely different human beings, taking a vow in the name of their
God, with the flowers banked about them and the eyes of people upon them.
When Sam had gone to Colonel Tom the morning after that evening in Jackson Park,
there had been a scene. The old gun maker had blustered and roared and forbidden,
pounding on his desk with his fist. When Sam remained cool and unimpressed, he had
stormed out of the room slamming the door and shouting, "Upstart! Damned upstart!"
and Sam had gone smiling back to his desk, mildly disappointed. "I told Sue he would
say 'Ingrate,'" he thought, "I am losing my skill at guessing just what he will do and say."
The colonel's rage had been short-lived. Within a week he was boasting of Sam to chance
callers as "the best business man in America," and in the face of a solemn promise given
Sue was telling news of the approaching marriage to every newspaper man he knew. Sam
suspected him of secretly calling on the telephone those newspapers whose
representatives had not crossed his trail.
During the six waiting weeks there had been little of love making between Sue and Sam.
They had talked instead, or, going into the country or to the parks, had walked under the
trees consumed with a curious eager passion of suspense. The idea she had given him in
the park grew in Sam's brain. To live for the young things that would presently come to