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|Maggie: A Girl of the Streets||Stephen Crane|
|Page 2 of 3||
"Come out, all of yehs, come out," his mother was howling. "Come ahn an' I'll stamp her damn brains under me feet."
"Shet yer face, an' come home, yeh damned old fool," roared Jimmie at her. She strided up to him and twirled her fingers in his face. Her eyes were darting flames of unreasoning rage and her frame trembled with eagerness for a fight.
"T'hell wid yehs! An' who deh hell are yehs? I ain't givin' a snap of me fingers fer yehs," she bawled at him. She turned her huge back in tremendous disdain and climbed the stairs to the next floor.
Jimmie followed, cursing blackly. At the top of the flight he seized his mother's arm and started to drag her toward the door of their room.
"Come home, damn yeh," he gritted between his teeth.
"Take yer hands off me! Take yer hands off me," shrieked his mother.
She raised her arm and whirled her great fist at her son's face. Jimmie dodged his head and the blow struck him in the back of the neck. "Damn yeh," gritted he again. He threw out his left hand and writhed his fingers about her middle arm. The mother and the son began to sway and struggle like gladiators.
"Whoop!" said the Rum Alley tenement house. The hall filled with interested spectators.
"Hi, ol' lady, dat was a dandy!"
"T'ree to one on deh red!"
"Ah, stop yer damn scrappin'!"
The door of the Johnson home opened and Maggie looked out. Jimmie made a supreme cursing effort and hurled his mother into the room. He quickly followed and closed the door. The Rum Alley tenement swore disappointedly and retired.
The mother slowly gathered herself up from the floor. Her eyes glittered menacingly upon her children.
"Here, now," said Jimmie, "we've had enough of dis. Sit down, an' don' make no trouble."
He grasped her arm, and twisting it, forced her into a creaking chair.
"Keep yer hands off me," roared his mother again.
"Damn yer ol' hide," yelled Jimmie, madly. Maggie shrieked and ran into the other room. To her there came the sound of a storm of crashes and curses. There was a great final thump and Jimmie's voice cried: "Dere, damn yeh, stay still." Maggie opened the door now, and went warily out. "Oh, Jimmie."
He was leaning against the wall and swearing. Blood stood upon bruises on his knotty fore-arms where they had scraped against the floor or the walls in the scuffle. The mother lay screeching on the floor, the tears running down her furrowed face.
Maggie, standing in the middle of the room, gazed about her. The usual upheaval of the tables and chairs had taken place. Crockery was strewn broadcast in fragments. The stove had been disturbed on its legs, and now leaned idiotically to one side. A pail had been upset and water spread in all directions.
The door opened and Pete appeared. He shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, Gawd," he observed.
He walked over to Maggie and whispered in her ear. "Ah, what deh hell, Mag? Come ahn and we'll have a hell of a time."
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|Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
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