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|Maggie: A Girl of the Streets||Stephen Crane|
|Page 2 of 3||
As the latter passed out of the door the man turned pathetically to the women.
"He don' know I'm damn goo' f'ler," cried he, dismally.
"Never you mind, Pete, dear," said a woman of brilliance and audacity, laying her hand with great affection upon his arm. "Never you mind, old boy! We'll stay by you, dear!"
"Das ri'," cried the man, his face lighting up at the soothing tones of the woman's voice. "Das ri', I'm damn goo' f'ler an' w'en anyone trea's me ri', I treats zem ri'! Shee!"
"Sure!" cried the women. "And we're not goin' back on you, old man."
The man turned appealing eyes to the woman of brilliance and audacity. He felt that if he could be convicted of a contemptible action he would die.
"Shay, Nell, damn it, I allus trea's yehs shquare, didn' I? I allus been goo' f'ler wi' yehs, ain't I, Nell?"
"Sure you have, Pete," assented the woman. She delivered an oration to her companions. "Yessir, that's a fact. Pete's a square fellah, he is. He never goes back on a friend. He's the right kind an' we stay by him, don't we, girls?"
"Sure," they exclaimed. Looking lovingly at him they raised their glasses and drank his health.
"Girlsh," said the man, beseechingly, "I allus trea's yehs ri', didn' I? I'm goo' f'ler, ain' I, girlsh?"
"Sure," again they chorused.
"Well," said he finally, "le's have nozzer drink, zen."
"That's right," hailed a woman, "that's right. Yer no bloomin' jay! Yer spends yer money like a man. Dat's right."
The man pounded the table with his quivering fists.
"Yessir," he cried, with deep earnestness, as if someone disputed him. "I'm damn goo' f'ler, an' w'en anyone trea's me ri', I allus trea's--le's have nozzer drink."
He began to beat the wood with his glass.
"Shay," howled he, growing suddenly impatient. As the waiter did not then come, the man swelled with wrath.
"Shay," howled he again.
The waiter appeared at the door.
"Bringsh drinksh," said the man.
The waiter disappeared with the orders.
"Zat f'ler damn fool," cried the man. "He insul' me! I'm ge'man! Can' stan' be insul'! I'm goin' lickim when comes!"
"No, no," cried the women, crowding about and trying to subdue him. "He's all right! He didn't mean anything! Let it go! He's a good fellah!"
"Din' he insul' me?" asked the man earnestly.
"No," said they. "Of course he didn't! He's all right!"
"Sure he didn' insul' me?" demanded the man, with deep anxiety in his voice.
"No, no! We know him! He's a good fellah. He didn't mean anything."
"Well, zen," said the man, resolutely, "I'm go' 'pol'gize!"
When the waiter came, the man struggled to the middle of the floor.
"Girlsh shed you insul' me! I shay damn lie! I 'pol'gize!"
"All right," said the waiter.
The man sat down. He felt a sleepy but strong desire to straighten things out and have a perfect understanding with everybody.
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