Windy McPherson's Son
Leaning against the wall under the veranda of Mary Underwood's house, Sam tried to get
in his mind a remembrance of what had brought him there. He had walked bareheaded
through Main Street and out along a country road. Twice he had fallen, covering his
clothes with mud. He had forgotten the purpose of his walk and had tramped on and on.
The unexpected and terrible hatred of his father that had come upon him in the tense
silence of the kitchen had so paralysed his brain that he now felt light-headed and
wonderfully happy and carefree.
"I have been doing something," he thought; "I wonder what it is."
The house faced a grove of pine trees and was reached by climbing a little rise and
following a winding road out beyond the graveyard and the last of the village lights. The
wild spring rain pounded and rattled on the tin roof overhead, and Sam, his back closely
pressed against the front of the house, fought to regain control of his mind.
For an hour he stood there staring into the darkness and watched with delight the progress
of the storm. He had--an inheritance from his mother --a love of thunderstorms. He
remembered a night when he was a boy and his mother had got out of bed and gone here
and there through the house singing. She had sung softly so that the sleeping father did
not hear, and in his bed upstairs Sam had lain awake listening to the noises--the rain on
the roof, the occasional crash of thunder, the snoring of Windy, and the unusual and, he
thought, beautiful sound of the mother singing in the storm.
Now, lifting up his head, he looked about with delight. Trees in the grove in front of him
bent and tossed in the wind. The inky blackness of the night was relieved by the
flickering oil lamp in the road beyond the graveyard and, in the distance, by the lights
streaming out at the windows of the houses. The light coming out of the house against
which he stood made a little cylinder of brightness among the pine trees through which
the raindrops fell gleaming and sparkling. An occasional flash of lightning lit up the trees
and the winding road, and the cannonry of the skies rolled and echoed overhead. A kind
of wild song sang in Sam's heart.
"I wish it would last all night," he thought, his mind fixed on the singing of his mother in
the dark house when he was a boy.
The door opened and a woman stepped out upon the veranda and stood before him facing
the storm, the wind tossing the soft kimono in which she was clad and the rain wetting
her face. Under the tin roof, the air was filled with the rattling reverberation of the rain.
The woman lifted her head and, with the rain beating down upon her, began singing, her
fine contralto voice rising above the rattle of the rain on the roof and going on
uninterrupted by the crash of the thunder. She sang of a lover riding through the storm to
his mistress. One refrain persisted in the song--