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Windy McPherson's Son

CHAPTER III.5
One crisp winter evening Sam found himself on a busy street corner in Rochester, N.Y.,
watching from a doorway the crowds of people hurrying or loitering past him. He stood
in a doorway near a corner that seemed to be a public meeting place and from all sides
came men and women who met at the corner, stood for a moment in talk, and then went
away together. Sam found himself beginning to wonder about the meetings. In the year
since he had walked out of the Chicago office his mind had grown more and more
reflective. Little things--a smile on the lips of an ill-clad old man mumbling and hurrying
past him on the street, or the flutter of a child's hand from the doorway of a farmhouse--
had furnished him food for hours of thought. Now he watched with interest the little
incidents; the nods, the hand clasps, the hurried stealthy glances around of the men and
women who met for a moment at the corner. On the sidewalk near his doorway several
middle-aged men, evidently from a large hotel around the corner, were eyeing, with
unpleasant, hungry, furtive eyes the women in the crowd.
A large blond woman stepped into the doorway beside Sam. "Waiting for some one?" she
asked, smiling and looking steadily at him, with the harried, uncertain, hungry light he
had seen in the eyes of the middle-aged men upon the sidewalk.
"What are you doing here with your husband at work?" he ventured.
She looked startled and then laughed.
"Why don't you hit me with your fist if you want to jolt me like that?" she demanded,
adding, "I don't know who you are, but whoever you are I want to tell you that I've quit
my husband."
"Why?" asked Sam.
She laughed again and stepping over looked at him closely.
"I guess you're bluffing," she said. "I don't believe you know Alf at all. And I'm glad you
don't. I've quit Alf, but he would raise Cain just the same, if he saw me out here hustling."
Sam stepped out of the doorway and walked down a side street past a lighted theatre.
Along the street women raised their eyes to him and beyond the theatre, a young girl,
brushing against him, muttered, "Hello, Sport!"
Sam wanted to get away from the unhealthy, hungry look he had seen in the eyes of the
men and women. His mind began working on this side of the lives of great numbers of
people in the cities--of the men and women on the street corner, of the woman who from
the security of a safe marriage had once thrown a challenge into his eyes as they sat
together in the theatre, and of the thousand little incidents in the lives of all modern city
men and women. He wondered how much that eager, aching hunger stood in the way of
 
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