Windy McPherson's Son
Late one evening, some weeks after the McPhersons had given the dinner party in secret
celebration of the future arrival of what was to be the first of the great family, they came
together down the steps of a north side house to their waiting carriage. They had spent,
Sam thought, a delightful evening. The Grovers were people of whose friendship he was
particularly proud and since his marriage with Sue he had taken her often for an evening
to the house of the venerable surgeon. Doctor Grover was a scholar, a man of note in the
medical world, and a rapid and absorbing talker and thinker on any subject that aroused
his interest. A certain youthful enthusiasm in his outlook on life had attracted to him the
devotion of Sue, who, since meeting him through Sam, had counted him a marked
addition to their little group of friends. His wife, a white- haired, plump little woman,
was, though apparently somewhat diffident, in reality his intellectual equal and
companion, and Sue in a quiet way had taken her as a model in her own effort toward
During the evening, spent in a rapid exchange of opinions and ideas between the two
men, Sue had sat in silence. Once when he looked at her Sam thought that he had
surprised an annoyed look in her eyes and was puzzled by it. During the remainder of the
evening her eyes refused to meet his and she looked instead at the floor, a flush mounting
At the door of the carriage Frank, Sue's coachman, stepped on the hem of her gown and
tore it. The tear was slight, the incident Sam thought entirely unavoidable, and as much
due to a momentary clumsiness on the part of Sue as to the awkwardness of Frank. The
man had for years been a loyal servant and a devoted admirer of Sue's.
Sam laughed and taking Sue by the arm started to help her in at the carriage door.
"Too much gown for an athlete," he said, pointlessly.
In a flash Sue turned and faced the coachman.
"Awkward brute," she said, through her teeth.
Sam stood on the sidewalk dumb with astonishment as Frank turned and climbed to his
seat without waiting to close the carriage door. He felt as he might have felt had he, as a
boy, heard profanity from the lips of his mother. The look in Sue's eyes as she turned
them on Frank struck him like a blow and in a moment his whole carefully built-up
conception of her and of her character had been shaken. He had an impulse to slam the
carriage door after her and walk home.
They drove home in silence, Sam feeling as though he rode beside a new and strange
being. In the light of passing street lamps he could see her face held straight ahead and
her eyes staring stonily at the curtain in front. He didn't want to reproach her; he wanted