Chapter no 11

East of Eden

Charles had more respect for Adam after he knew about the prison. He felt the warmth for his brother you can feel only for one who is not perfect and therefore no target for your hatred. Adam took some advantage of it too. He tempted Charles.

“Did you ever think, Charles,

that we’ve got

enough money to do anything we want to do?”

“All right, what do we want?”

“We could go to Europe,

we could walk around Paris.” “What’s that?”

“What’s what?” “I

thought I


someone on the stoop.” “Probably a cat.”

“I guess so. Have to kill off some of them pretty soon.”

“Charles, we could go to Egypt and walk around the Sphinx.”

“We could stay right

here and make some good use of our money. And we could get the hell out to work and make some use of the day.

Those goddam cats!” Charles jumped to the door and

yanked it open and said, “Get!” Then he was silent, and Adam saw him staring at the steps. He moved beside him.

A dirty bundle of rags

and mud was trying to worm its way up the steps. One skinny hand clawed slowly at the stairs. The other dragged helplessly. There was a caked face with cracked lips and eyes peering out of swollen, blackened lids. The forehead was laid open, oozing blood back into the matted hair.

Adam went down the

stairs and kneeled beside the figure. “Give me a hand,” he said. “Come on, let’s get her in. Here—look out for that arm. It looks broken.”

She fainted when they carried her in.

“Put her in my bed,”

Adam said. “Now I think you better go for the doctor.” “Don’t you think we

better hitch up and take her in?”

“Move her? No. Are you crazy?”

“Maybe not as crazy as

you. Think about it a minute.” “For God’s sake, think

about what?”

“Two men living alone

and they’ve got this in their house.”

Adam was shocked.

“You don’t mean it.” “I mean it all right. I

think we better take her in. It’ll be all over the county in two hours. How do you know what she is? How’d she get here? What happened to her? Adam, you’re taking an awful chance.”

Adam said coldly, “If

you don’t go now, I’ll go and leave you here.”

“I think you’re making a mistake. I’ll go, but I tell you we’ll suffer for it.”

“I’ll do the suffering,” said Adam. “You go.” After Charles left, Adam went to the kitchen and poured hoi water from the

teakettle into a basin. In his bedroom he dampened a handkerchief in the water and loosened the caked blood and

dirt on the girl’s face. She reeled up to consciousness and her blue eyes glinted at him. His mind went back—it was this room, this bed. His stepmother was standing over him with a damp cloth in her hand, and he could feel the little running pains as the water cut through. And she had said something over and over. He heard it but he could not remember what it was. “You’ll be all right,” he

said to the girl. “We’re getting a doctor. He’ll be here right off.”

Her lips moved a little. “Don’t try to talk,” he said. “Don’t try to say anything.” As he worked

gently with his cloth a huge

warmth crept over him. “You can stay here,” he said. “You can stay here as long as you want. I’ll take care of you.” He squeezed out the cloth and sponged her matted hair and lifted it out of the gashes in her scalp.

He could hear himself talking as he worked, almost as though he were a stranger listening. “There, does that hurt? The poor eyes—I’ll put some brown paper over your eyes. You’ll be all right.

That’s a bad one on your forehead. I’m afraid you’ll have a scar there. Could you tell me your name? No, don’t try. There’s lots of time.

There’s lots of time. Do you hear that? That’s the doctor’s

rig. Wasn’t that quick?” He moved to the kitchen door. “In here, Doc. She’s in here,” he called.


She was very badly hurt. If there had been X-rays in that time the doctor might have found more injuries than he did. As it was he found enough. Her left arm and three ribs were broken and her jaw was cracked. Her skull was cracked too, and the teeth on the left side were missing. Her scalp was ripped and torn and her forehead laid open to the skull. So much the doctor could see and identify. He set her arm, taped her ribs, and sewed up her scalp. With a pipette and

an alcohol flame he bent a glass tube to go through the aperture where a tooth was missing so that she could drink and take liquid food without moving her cracked jaw. He gave her a large shot of morphine, left a bottle of opium pills, washed his hands, and put on his coat.

His patient was asleep before he left the room.

In the kitchen he sat

down at the table and drank the hot coffee Charles put in front of him.

“All right, what

happened to her?” he asked. “How do we know?” Charles said truculently. “We

found her on our porch. If you want to see, go look at the marks on the road where she dragged herself.” “Know who she is?”

“God, no.”

“You go upstairs at the inn—is she anybody from there?”

“I haven’t been there lately. I couldn’t recognize her

in that

condition anyway.”

The doctor turned his head toward Adam. “You ever see her before?” Adam shook his head slowly.

Charles said harshly,

“Say, what you mousing around at?”

“I’ll tell you, since

you’re interested. That girl didn’t fall under a harrow even if she looks that way. Somebody did that to her, somebody who didn’t like her at all. If you want the truth, somebody tried to kill her.” “Why don’t you ask

her?” Charles said. “She won’t be talking

for quite a while. Besides, her skull is cracked, and God knows what that will do to her. What I’m getting at is, should I bring the sheriff into it?”

“No!” Adam spoke so explosively that the two looked at him. “Let her alone.

Let her rest.” “Who’s going to take care of her?”

“I am,” said Adam. “Now, you look here—” Charles began.

“Keep out of it!”

“It’s my place as much as yours.”

“Do you want me to go?”

“I didn’t mean that.” “Well, I’ll go if she has to go.”

The doctor said, “Steady down. What makes you so interested?”

“I wouldn’t put a hurt dog out.”

“You wouldn’t get mad about it either. Are you holding something back? Did

you go out last night? Did you do it?”

“He was here all night,”

said Charles. “He snores like a goddam train.”

Adam said, “Why can’t you let her be? Let her get well.”

The doctor stood up and dusted his hands. “Adam,” he said, “your father was one of my oldest friends. I know you and your family. You aren’t stupid. I don’t know why you don’t

recognize ordinary

facts, but you don’t seem to. Have to talk to you like a baby. That girl was assaulted. I believe whoever did it tried to kill her. If I don’t tell the

sheriff about it, I’m breaking the law. I admit I break a few, but not that one.”

“Well, tell him. But

don’t let him bother her until she’s better.”

“It’s not my habit to let

my patients be bothered,” the doctor said. “You still want to keep her here?”


“Your funeral. I’ll look

in tomorrow. She’ll sleep. Give her water and warm soup through the tube if she wants it.” He stalked out.

Charles turned on his brother. “Adam, for God’s sake, what is this?”

“Let me alone.” “What’s got into you?” “Let

me alone—you

hear? Just let me alone.” “Christ!” said Charles and spat on the floor and

went restlessly and uneasily to work.

Adam was glad he was gone. He moved about the

kitchen, washed the breakfast dishes, and swept the floor.

When he had put the kitchen to rights he went in and drew a chair up to the bed. The girl snored thickly through the morpnine. The swelling was going down on her face, but the eyes were blackened and swollen. Adam sat very still, looking at her. Her set and splintered arm lay on her stomach, but her right arm lay

on top of the coverlet, the fingers curled like a nest. It was a child’s hand, almost ä baby’s hand. Adam touched her wrist with his finger, and her fingers moved a little in reflex. Her wrist was warm. Secretly then, as though he were afraid he might be caught, he straightened her hand and touched the little cushion

pads on the

fingertips. Her fingers were pink and soft, but the skin on the back of her hand seemed to have an underbloom like a pearl. Adam chuckled with delight.


breathing stopped and

he became

electrically alert—then her throat

clicked and the

rhythmed snoring continued. Gently he worked her hand and arm under the cover before he tiptoed out of the room.

For several days Cathy lay in a cave of shock and

opium. Her skin felt like lead, and she moved very little because of the pain. She was aware of movement around her. Gradually her head and

her eyes cleared. Two young men were with her, one occasionally and the other a great deal. She knew that another man who came in was the doctor, and there was also a tall lean man, who interested her more than any of the others, and the interest grew out of fear. Perhaps in her drugged sleep she had picked something up and stored it.

Very slowly her mind assembled the last days and rearranged them. She saw the face of Mr. Edwards, saw it lose its placid self-sufficiency and dissolve into murder. She had never been so afraid before in her life, but she had learned fear now. And her

mind sniffed about like a rat looking for an escape. Mr.

Edwards knew about the fire. Did anyone else? And how did he know? A blind nauseating terror rose in her when she thought of that.

From things she heard

she learned that the tall man was the sheriff and wanted to question her, and that the young man named Adam was protecting

her from the


Maybe the

sheriff knew about the fire.

Raised voices gave her

the cue to her method. The

sheriff said, “She must have a name. Somebody must know her.”

“How could she answer? Her jaw is broken.” Adam’s voice.

“If she’s right-handed

she could spell out answers.

Look here, Adam, if

somebody tried to kill her I’d better catch him while I can. Just give me a pencil and let me talk to her.”

Adam said, “You heard

the doctor say her skull was cracked. How do you know she can remember?”

“Well, you give me

paper and pencil and we’ll


“I don’t want you to bother her.”

“Adam, goddam it, it doesn’t matter what you

want. I’m telling you I want a paper and pencil.”

Then the other young man’s voice. “What’s the

matter with you? You make it sound like it was you who did it. Give him a pencil.”

She had her eyes closed when the three men came quietly into her room. “She’s asleep,” Adam whispered.

She opened her eyes and looked at them.

The tall man came to the side of the bed. “I don’t want to bother you, Miss. I’m the

sheriff. I know you can’t talk, but will you just write some things on this?”

She tried to nod and winced

with pain.


blinked her eyes rapidly to indicate assent.

“That’s the girl,” said

the sheriff. “You see? She wants to.” He put the tablet on the bed beside her and molded her fingers around the pencil. “There we are. Now.

What is your name?”

The three men watched

her face. Her mouth grew thin and her eyes squinted. She closed her eyes and the pencil began to move. “I don’t

know,” it scrawled in huge letters.

“Here, now there’s a fresh sheet. What do you remember?”

“All black. Can’t think,” the pencil wrote before it went over the edge of the tablet.

“Don’t you remember

who you are, where you came from? Think!”

She seemed to


through a great struggle and then her face gave up and became tragic. “No. Mixed up. Help me.”

“Poor child,” the sheriff said. “I thank you for trying

anyway. When you get better we’ll try again. No, you don’t have to write any more.”

The pencil wrote,

“Thank you,” and fell from her fingers.

She had won the sheriff. He ranged himself with Adam. Only Charles was against

her. When the

brothers were in her room, and it took two of them to help her on the bedpan without hurting her, she studied

Charles’ dark

sullenness. He had something in

his face that she

recognized, that made her uneasy. She saw that he touched the scar on his forehead very often, rubbed it, and drew its outline with his fingers. Once he caught her watching. He looked guiltily at his fingers. Charles said brutally, “Don’t you worry. You’re going to have one like it, maybe even a better one.”

She smiled at him, and

he looked away. When Adam came in with her warm soup Charles said, “I’m going in

town and drink some beer.”


Adam couldn’t remember ever having been so happy. It didn’t bother him that he did not know her name. She had said to call her Cathy, and that was enough for him. He cooked for Cathy, going through recipes used by his mother and his stepmother.

Cathy’s vitality was

great. She began to recover very quickly. The swelling went out of her cheeks and the

prettiness of

convalescence came to her face. In a short time she could

be helped to a sitting position. She opened and closed her mouth very carefully, and she began to eat soft foods that required little chewing. The bandage was still on her forehead but the rest of her face was little marked except for the hollow cheek on the side where the teeth were missing.

Cathy was in trouble and her mind ranged for a way

out of it. She spoke little even when it was not so difficult.

One afternoon she heard someone moving around in the

kitchen. She called,

“Adam, is it you?”

Charles’ voice answered, “No, it’s me.”

“Would you come in

here just a minute, please?” He stood in the doorway.

His eyes were sullen. “You don’t come in much,” she said. “That’s right.”

“You don’t like me.”

“I guess that’s right too.” “Will you tell me why?” He struggled to find an answer. “I don’t trust you.” “Why not?”

“I don’t know. And I

don’t believe you lost your memory.”

“But why should I lie?” “I don’t know. That’s

why I don’t trust you. There’s something—I

almost recognize.”

“You never saw me in your life.”

“Maybe not. But there’s something that bothers me— that I ought to know. And how do you know I never saw you?”

She was silent, and he moved to leave. “Don’t go,”

she said. “What do you intend to do?”

“About what?” “About me.”

He regarded her with a

new interest. “You want the truth?”

“Why else would I ask?” “I don’t know, but I’ll

tell you. I’m going to get you out of here just as soon as I

can. My brother’s turned fool, but I’ll bring him around if I have to lick him.”

“Could you do that?

He’s a big man.”

“I could do it.”

She regarded him

levelly. “Where is Adam?” “Gone in town to get

some more of your goddam medicine.”

“You’re a mean man.” “You know what I

think? I don’t think I’m half as mean as you are under that nice skin. I think you’re a devil.”

She laughed softly.

“That makes two of us,” she said. “Charles, how long do I have?”

“For what?”

“How long before you

put me out? Tell me truly.” “All right, I will. About

a week or ten days. Soon as you can get around.” “Suppose I don’t go.”

He regarded her craftily, almost with pleasure at the thought of combat. “All right, I’ll tell you. When you had all that dope you talked a lot, like in your sleep.”

“I don’t believe that.”

He laughed, for he had seen the quick tightening of

her mouth. “All right, don’t. And if you just go about your business as soon as you can, I

won’t tell. But if you don’t, you’ll know all right, and so will the sheriff.”

“I don’t believe I said anything bad. What could I say?”

“I won’t argue with you.

And I’ve got work to do. You asked me and I told you.”

He went outside. Back

of the henhouse he leaned over and laughed and slapped his leg. “I thought she was smarter,” he said to himself. And he felt more easy than he had for days.


Charles had frightened her badly.

And if he


recognized her, so had she recognized him. He was the only person she had ever met who played it her way. Cathy followed his thinking, and it did not reassure her. She knew that her tricks would not work with him, and she needed protection and rest.

Her money was gone. She had to be sheltered, and would have to be for a long time. She was tired and sick, but her mind went skipping among possibilities.

Adam came back from town with a bottle of Pain Killer.

He poured a

tablespoonful. “This will taste horrible,” he said. “It’s good stuff though.”

She took it without protest, did not even make much of a face about it. “You’re good to me,” she said. “I wonder why? I’ve brought you trouble.” “You have not. You’ve brightened up the whole house. Never complain or

anything, hurt as bad as you are.”

“You’re so good, so kind.”

“I want to be.”

“Do you have to go out? Couldn’t you stay and talk to me?”

“Sure I could. There’s nothing so important to do.”

“Draw up a chair, Adam, and sit down.”

When he was seated she stretched her right hand toward him, and he took it in both of his. “So good and kind,” she repeated. “Adam, you keep promises, don’t you?”

“I try to. What are you thinking about?”

“I’m alone and I’m afraid,”

she cried. “I’m


“Can’t I help you?” “I don’t think anyone can help me.”

“Tell me and let me try.” “That’s the worst part. I

can’t even tell you.” “Why not? If it’s a secret I won’t tell it.”

“It’s not my secret, don’t you see?”

“No, I don’t.”

Her fingers gripped his

hand tightly. “Adam, I didn’t ever lose my memory.” “Then why did you say


“That’s what I’m trying

to tell you. Did you love your father, Adam?”

“I guess I revered him more than loved him.” “Well, if someone you revered were in trouble,

wouldn’t you do anything to save him from destruction?” “Well, sure. I guess I would.”

“Well, that’s how it is with me.”

“But how did you get hurt?”

“That’s part of it. That’s why I can’t tell.”

“Was it your father?” “Oh, no. But it’s all tied up together.”

“You mean, if you tell

me who hurt you, then your father will be in trouble?” She sighed. He would make up the story himself. “Adam, will you trust me?” “Of course.”

“It’s an awful thing to ask.”

“No, it isn’t, not if you’re

protecting your


“You understand, it’s

not my secret. If it were I’d tell you in a minute.”

“Of course I understand. I’d do the same thing myself.”

“Oh, you understand so much.” Tears welled up in her eyes. He leaned down toward her, and she kissed him on the cheek.

“Don’t you worry,” he

said. “I’ll take care of you.” She lay back against the pillow. “I don’t think you can.”

“What do you mean?” “Well,

your brother

doesn’t like me. He wants me

to get out of here.” “Did he tell you that?” “Oh, no. I can just feel it.

He hasn’t your


“He has a good heart.” “I know that, but he

doesn’t have your kindness. And when I have to go—the sheriff is going to begin asking questions and I’ll be all alone.”

He stared into space.

“My brother can’t make you go. I own half of this farm. I have my own money.”

“If he wanted me to go I would have to. I can’t spoil your life.”

Adam stood up and

strode out of the room. He went to the back door and looked out on the afternoon. Far off in the field his brother was lifting stones from a sled and piling them on the stone wall. Adam looked up at the sky. A blanket of herring clouds was rolling in from the east. He sighed deeply and his breath made a tickling, exciting feeling in his chest.

His ears seemed suddenly clear, so that he heard the chickens cackling and the east wind blowing over the ground. He heard horses’ hoofs plodding on the road and far-off pounding on wood where


neighbor was

shingling a barn. And all these sounds related into a kind of music. His eyes were clear too. Fences and walls and sheds stood staunchly out in the yellow afternoon, and they were related too. There was change in everything. A flight of sparrows dropped into the dust and scrabbled for bits of food and then flew off like a gray scarf twisting in the light. Adam looked back at his brother. He had lost track of time and he did not know how long he had been standing in the doorway. No time had passed.

Charles was still struggling with the same large stone.

And Adam had not released the full, held breath he had taken when time stopped.

Suddenly he knew joy and sorrow felted into one

fabric. Courage and fear were one thing too. He found that he had started to hum a droning little tune. He turned, walked through the kitchen, and stood in the doorway, looking at Cathy. She smiled weakly at him, and he thought. What a child! What a helpless child! and a surge of love filled him.

“Will you marry me?” he asked.

Her face tightened and

her hand closed convulsively. “You don’t have to tell

me now,” he said. “I want

you to think about it. But if you would marry me I could protect you. No one could hurt you again.”

Cathy recovered in an instant. “Come here, Adam. There, sit down. Here, give me your hand. That’s good, that’s right.” She raised his hand and put the back of it against her cheek. “My dear,” she said brokenly. “Oh, my dear. Look, Adam, you have trusted me. Now will you promise me something? Will you promise not to tell your brother you have asked me?” “Asked you to marry

me? Why shouldn’t I?” “It’s not that. I want this night to think. I’ll want maybe more than this night.

Could you let me do that?” She raised her hand to her head. “You know I’m not sure I can think straight. And I want to.”

“Do you think you might marry me?”

“Please, Adam. Let me alone to think. Please, my dear.”

He smiled and said nervously, “Don’t make it long. I’m kind of like a cat up a tree so far he can’t come down.”

“Just let me think. And, Adam—you’re a kind man.”

He went outside and walked toward where his brother was loading stones. When he was gone

Cathy got up from her bed

and moved unsteadily to the bureau. She leaned forward and looked at her face. The bandage was still on her forehead. She raised the edge of it enough to see the angry red underneath. She had not only made up her mind to marry Adam but she had so decided before he had asked her. She was afraid. She needed protection and money. Adam could give her both.

And she could control him— she knew that. She did not want to be married, but for the time being it was a refuge. Only one thing bothered her. Adam had a warmth toward her which she did not understand since she had none toward him, nor had

ever experienced it toward anyone. And Mr. Edwards had really frightened her. That had been the only time in her life she had lost control of a situation. She determined never to let it happen again.

She smiled to herself when she thought what Charles would say. She felt a kinship to Charles. She didn’t mind his suspicion of her.


Charles straightened up when Adam approached. He put his palms against the small of his back and massaged the tired muscles. “My God, there’s lots of rocks,” he said. “Fellow in the army told

me there’s

valleys in

California—miles and miles

—and you can’t find a stone, not even a little one.” “There’ll be something else,” said Charles. “I don’t think

there’s any farm

without something wrong with it. Out in the Middle West it’s locusts, someplace else it’s tornadoes. What’s a few stones?”

“I guess you’re right. I thought I would give you a hand.”

“That’s nice of you. I thought you’d spend the rest of your life holding hands

with that in there. How long is she going to stay?”

Adam was on the point

of telling him of his proposal but the tone of Charles’ voice made him change his mind. “Say,”

Charles said,

“Alex Platt came by a little while ago. You’d never think what happened to him. He’s found a fortune.”

“How do you mean?” “Well, you know the

place on his property where that clump of cedars sticks out—you know, right on the county road?”

“I know. What about it?” “Alex went in between

those trees and his stone wall.

He was hunting rabbits. He found a suitcase and a man’s clothes, all packed nice.

Soaked up with rain though. Looked like it had been there some time. And there was a wooden box with a lock, and when he broke it open there was

near four thousand

dollars in it. And he found a purse too. There wasn’t anything in it.”

“No name or. anything?” “That’s the strange part

—no name; no name on the clothes, no labels on the suits. It’s just like the fellow didn’t want to be traced.”

“Is Alex going to keep


“He took it in to the sheriff, and the sheriff is going to advertise it, and if nobody answers Alex can keep it.”

“Somebody’s sure to claim it.”

“I guess so. I didn’t tell Alex that. He’s feeling so good about it. That’s funny

about no labels—not cut out, just didn’t have any.” “That’s a lot of money,”

Adam said.

“Somebody’s bound to claim it.”

“Alex hung around for a while. You know, his wife goes around a lot.” Charles was silent. “Adam,” he said

finally, “we got to have a talk. The whole county’s doing plenty of talking.” “What about? What do you mean?”

“Goddam it, about that

—that girl. Two men can’t have a girl living with them. Alex says the women are pretty riled up about it.

Adam, we can’t have it. We live here. We’ve got a good name.”

“You want me to throw her out before she’s well?” “I want you to get rid of

her—get her out. I don’t like her.”

“You never have.”

“I know it. I don’t trust her.


something— something—I don’t know

what it is, but I don’t like it. When you going to get her out?”

“Tell you what,” Adam said slowly. “Give her one more week and then I’ll do something about her.” “You promise?”

“Sure I promise.” “Well, that’s something.

I’ll get the word to Alex’s wife. From there on she’ll handle the news. Good Lord, I’ll be glad to have the house to ourselves again. I don’t suppose her memory’s come back?”

“No,” said Adam.


Five days later, when Charles

had gone to buy some calf feed, Adam drove the buggy to the kitchen steps. He helped Cathy in, tucked a blanket around her knees, and put

another around her

shoulders. He drove to the county seat and was married to her by a justice of the peace.

Charles was home when they returned. He looked sourly at them when they came into the kitchen. “I thought you’d took her in to put her on the train.”

“We got


Adam said simply. Cathy smiled at Charles. “Why? Why did you do it?”

“Why not? Can’t a man get married?”

Cathy went quickly into the bedroom and closed the door.

Charles began to rave. “She’s no damn good, I tell you. She’s a whore.” “Charles!”

“I tell you, she’s just a two-bit whore. I wouldn’t trust her with a bit piece— why, that bitch, that slut!” “Charles, stop it! Stop it,

I tell you! You keep your filthy mouth shut about my wife!”

“She’s no more a wife

than an alley cat.”

Adam said slowly, “I

think you’re jealous, Charles. I think you wanted to marry her.”

“Why, you goddam fool! Me jealous? I won’t live in the same house with her!” Adam said evenly, “You won’t have to. I’m going away. You can buy me out if you want. You can have the farm. You always wanted it. You can stay here and rot.” Charles’ voice lowered. “Won’t you get rid of her?

Please, Adam. Throw her out. She’ll tear you to pieces.

She’ll destroy you, Adam, she’ll destroy you!” “How do you know so much about her?”

Charles’ eyes were

bleak. “I don’t,” he said, and his mouth snapped shut.

Adam did not even ask Cathy whether she wanted to come out for dinner. He carried two plates into the bedroom and sat beside her. “We’re going to go

away,” he said. “Let me go away. Please, let me. I don’t want to make you hate your brother. I wonder why he hates me?”

“I think he’s jealous.”

Her eyes

narrowed. “Jealous?”

“That’s what it looks

like to me. You don’t have to worry. We’re getting out.

We’re going to California.” She said quietly, “I don’t want to go to California.” “Nonsense. Why, it’s

nice there, sun all the time and beautiful.”

“I don’t want to go to California.”

“You are my wife,” he

said softly. “I want you to go with me.”

She was silent and did not speak of it again.

They heard Charles slam

out the door, and Adam said, “That will be good for him. He’ll get a little drunk and he’ll feel better.”

Cathy modestly looked

at her fingers. “Adam, I can’t

be a wife to you until I’m well.”

“I know,” he said. “I understand. I’ll wait.” “But I want you to stay with me. I’m afraid of Charles. He hates me so.” “I’ll bring my cot in

here. Then you can call me if you’re frightened. You can reach out and touch me.” “You’re so good,” she

said. “Could we have some tea?”

“Why, sure, I’d like

some myself.” He brought the steaming cups in and went back for the sugar bowl. He settled himself in a chair near her bed. “It’s pretty strong. Is it too strong for you?”

“I like it strong.”

He finished his cup.

“Does it taste strange to you? It’s got a funny taste.”.

Her hand flew to her mouth. “Oh, let me taste it.”

She sipped the dregs.

“Adam,” she cried, “you got the wrong cup—that was mine. It had my medicine in it.”

He licked his lips. “I guess it can’t hurt me.” “No, it can’t.” She laughed softly. “I hope I

don’t need to call you in the night.”

“What do you mean?” “Well, you drank my sleeping medicine. Maybe

you wouldn’t wake

up easily.”

Adam went down into a heavy opium sleep though he fought to stay awake. “Did the doctor tell you to take this much?” he asked thickly. “You’re just not used to

it,” she said.

Charles came back at eleven o’clock. Cathy heard his tipsy footsteps. He went into his room, flung off his

clothes, and got into bed. He grunted and turned, trying to get comfortable, and then he opened his eyes. Cathy was standing by his bed. “What do you want?”

“What do you think? Move over a little.” “Where’s Adam?”

“He drank my sleeping medicine by mistake. Move over a little.”

He breathed harshly. “I already been with a whore.” “You’re a pretty strong

boy. Move over a little.” “How about your broken arm?”

“I’ll take care of that. It’s not your worry.” Suddenly


laughed. “The poor bastard,” he said, and he threw back the blanket to receive her.

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