McTeague: A Story of San Francisco

By Frank Norris; Jerome Loving | Go to book overview

XVII

ONE day, about a fortnight after the coroner's inquest had been held, and when the excitement of the terrible affair was calming down and Polk Street beginning to resume its monotonous routine, Old Grannis sat in his clean, well- kept little room, in his cushioned armchair, his hands lying idly upon his knees. It was evening; not quite time to light the lamps. Old Grannis had drawn his chair close to the wall--so close, in fact, that he could hear Miss Baker's grenadine brushing against the other side of the thin partition, at his very elbow, while she rocked gently back and forth, a cup of tea in her hands.

Old Grannis's occupation was gone. That morning the book-selling firm where he had bought his pamphlets had taken his little binding apparatus from him to use as a model. The transaction had been concluded. Old Grannis had received his check. It was large enough, to be sure, but when all was over, he returned to his room and sat there sad and unoccupied, looking at the pattern in the carpet and counting the heads of the tacks in the zinc guard that was fastened to the wall behind his little stove. By and by he heard Miss Baker moving about. It was five o'clock, the time when she was accustomed to make her cup of tea and 'keep company' with him on her side of the partition. Old Grannis drew up his chair to the wall near where he knew she was sitting. The minutes passed; side by side, and separated by only a couple of inches of board, the two old people sat there together, while the afternoon grew darker.

But for Old Grannis all was different that evening. There was nothing for him to do. His hands lay idly in his lap. His table, with its pile of pamphlets, was in a far corner of the room, and, from time to time, stirred with an uncertain trouble, he turned his head and looked at it sadly, reflecting that he would never use it again. The absence of his accustomed work seemed to leave something out of his

-246-

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McTeague: A Story of San Francisco
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Note on the Text xxix
  • Select Bibliography xxx
  • A Chronology of Frank Norris xxxii
  • I 5
  • II 15
  • III 30
  • IV 42
  • V 52
  • VI 71
  • VII 87
  • VIII 103
  • IX 119
  • X 142
  • XI 164
  • XII 185
  • XIII 198
  • XIV 208
  • XV 218
  • XVI 232
  • XVII 246
  • XVIII 252
  • XIX 268
  • XX 289
  • XXI 298
  • XXII 327
  • Explanatory Notes 337
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