Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Buttered Side Down Edna Ferber

Where The Car Turns At 18th

Page 5 of 8

Table Of Contents: Buttered Side Down

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

When the 10:15 pulled out Eddie stood on the bottom step, with his cap off, looking I can't tell you how boyish, and straight, and clean, and handsome, with his lips parted, and his eyes very bright. The hairy-chested recruiting officer stood just beside him, and suffered by contrast. There was a bedlam of good-byes, and last messages, and good-natured badinage, but Eddie's mother's eyes never left his face until the train disappeared around the curve in the track.

Well, they got a new boy at Kunz's--a sandy-haired youth, with pimples, and no knack at mixing, and we got out of the habit of dropping in there, although those fall months were unusually warm.

It wasn't long before we began to get postcards--pictures of the naval training station, and the gymnasium, and of model camps and of drills, and of Eddie in his uniform. His mother insisted on calling it his sailor suit, as though he were a little boy. One day Josie Morehouse came over to Mrs. Houghton's with a group picture in her hand. She handed it to Eddie's mother without comment. Mrs. Houghton looked at it eagerly, her eye selecting her own boy from the group as unerringly as a mother bird finds her nest in the forest.

"Oh, Eddie's better looking than that!" she cried, with a tremulous little laugh. "How funny those pants make them look, don't they? And his mouth isn't that way, at all. Eddie always had the sweetest mouth, from the time he was a baby. Let's see some of these other boys. Why--why----"

Then she fell silent, scanning those other faces. Presently Josie bent over her and looked too, and the brows of both women knitted in perplexity. They looked for a long, long minute, and the longer they looked the more noticeable became the cluster of fine little wrinkles that had begun to form about Mrs. Houghton's eyes.

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

When finally they looked up it was to gaze at one another questioningly.

"Those other boys," faltered Eddie's mother, "they--they don't look like Eddie, do they? I mean----"

"No, they don't," agreed Josie. "They look older, and they have such queer-looking eyes, and jaws, and foreheads. But then," she finished, with mock cheerfulness, "you can never tell in those silly kodak pictures."

Eddie's mother studied the card again, and sighed gently. "I hope," she said, "that Eddie won't get into bad company."

After that our postal cards ceased. I wish that there was some way of telling this story so that the end wouldn't come in the middle. But there is none. In our town we know the news before the paper comes out, and we only read it to verify what we have heard. So that long before the paper came out in the middle of the afternoon we had been horrified by the news of Eddie Houghton's desertion and suicide. We stopped one another on Main Street to talk about it, and recall how boyish and handsome he had looked in his white duck coat, and on that last day just as the 10:I5 pulled out. "It don't seem hardly possible, does it?" we demanded of each other.

Page 5 of 8 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Buttered Side Down
Edna Ferber

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004