WEDNESDAY morning, Washington's Birthday, McTeague rose very early and shaved himself. Besides the six mournful concertina airs, the dentist knew one song. Whenever he shaved, he sung this song; never at any other time. His voice was a bellowing roar, enough to make the window sashes rattle. Just now he woke up all the lodgers in his hall with it. It was a lamentable wail:
'No one to love, none to caress,
Left all alone in this world's wilderness.'
As he paused to strop his razor, Marcus came into his room, half-dressed, a startling phantom in red flannels.
Marcus often ran back and forth between his room and the dentist's 'Parlors' in all sorts of undress. Old Miss Baker had seen him thus several times through her half- open door, as she sat in her room listening and waiting. The old dressmaker was shocked out of all expression. She was outraged, offended, pursing her lips, putting up her head. She talked of complaining to the landlady. 'And Mr Grannis right next door, too. You can understand how trying it is for both of us.' She would come out in the hall after one of these apparitions, her little false curls shaking, talking loud and shrill to any one in reach of her voice.
'Well,' Marcus would shout, 'shut your door, then, if you don't want to see. Look out, now, here I come again. Not even a porous plaster on me this time.'
On this Wednesday morning Marcus called McTeague out into the hall, to the head of the stairs that led down to the street door.
'Come and listen to Maria, Mac,' said he.
Maria sat on the next to the lowest step, her chin propped by her two fists. The red-headed Polish Jew, the ragman Zerkow, stood in the doorway. He was talking eagerly.