ONE morning about a week after Marcus had left for the southern part of the State, McTeague found an oblong letter thrust through the letter-drop of the door of his 'Parlors.' The address was type-written. He opened it. The letter had been sent from the City Hall and was stamped in one corner with the seal of the State of California, very official; the form and file numbers superscribed.
McTeague had been making fillings when this letter arrived. He was in his 'Parlors,' pottering over his movable rack underneath the bird cage in the bay window. He was making 'blocks' to be used in large proximal cavities and 'cylinders' for commencing fillings. He heard the postman's step in the hall and saw the envelopes begin to shuttle themselves through the slit of his letter-drop. Then came the fat oblong envelope, with its official seal, that dropped flat-wise to the floor with a sodden, dull impact.
The dentist put down the broach and scissors and gathered up his mail. There were four letters altogether. One was for Trina, in Selina's 'elegant' handwriting; another was an advertisement of a new kind of operating chair for dentists; the third was a card from a milliner on the next block, announcing an opening; and the fourth, contained in the fat oblong envelope, was a printed form with blanks left for names and dates, and addressed to McTeague, from an office in the City Hall. McTeague read it through laboriously. 'I don' know, I don' know,' he muttered, looking stupidly at the rifle manufacturer's calendar. Then he heard Trina, from the kitchen, singing as she made a clattering noise with the breakfast dishes. 'I guess I'll ask Trina about it,' he muttered.
He went through the suite, by the sitting-room, where the sun was pouring in through the looped backed Nottingham curtains upon the clean white matting and the varnished surface of the melodeon, passed on through the bedroom, with its framed lithographs of round-