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BY ADRIANA SPADONI
WITH DRAWINGS BY WLADYSLAW BENDA
THE THIRD AND LAST STORY OF ITALIAN LIFE IN AMERICA
in her eyes.
HEM last medallions ain't set in “ Sure. I'll fix it. She won't pick on right.” The forelady looked at
you no more, believe me." Teresa Soracco, and there was If she does, I'm quittin', see?” Teresa more than dissatisfaction with the medallions fitted the work under the foot. The machine
whirred. “ I guess there ain't much the matter with
“I say, kid !" them medallions."
The machine whirred on. When I say they ain't right, they ain't.
« Tessie !" See ?” The forelady's thin lips set.
“Well?” Teresa threw the finished night“ All right. Put it up to Barney. I'm gown on its pile. willin'.” Before the other could stop her "Would-you-care about going to a Teresa had beckoned to the young foreman, dance some night? There's a swell one at and he was coming quickly down between Hinman's, on Sixth Avenue, to morrow.” the long lines of whirring machines.
Teresa turned. Her eyes passed over the “ She says they ain't in right.” Teresa cutting-table and Paolo. He was still standlooked up softly from under her thick black ing rigid, his jaw set, his face black with lashes. What's the matter with 'em ? No
anger. She smiled straight into Barney other forelady ever said my work was bum,
“ Sure--I'll come.” an’ I been here four years."
“Good." Teresa was bent over her machine Barney Farrol's blue eyes glanced hastily again, but Barney Farrol stood for a moment over the work and then settled on the throb- looking down at the tiny black curls that clung bing spot at the base of Teresa's round, about her ears.
Then he went. brown throat.
The long hot afternoon dragged to a close. “ They look all right to me. What's the mat- The machines roared. The electric fans ter with them?” He turned to the girl stand- whirled the suffocating air. Paolo Scorti ing aside, watching him with cold, hard eyes. worked with his back to Teresa. His hands
“ If that kind of work satisfies you—noth- were cold, and from time to time they ing. You're boss." A fine red ran under trembled violently. But the blood roared in the forelady's white, freckled skin.
his ears louder than the whirring belts of the parted, but she turned and walked away with- machines. He had seen. Teresa Soracco out saying anything. “ Damn wop !" she had smiled into the eyes of a man.
And muttered. “Any one can get a man that this man had touched her, twice put his hand goes for him like that.”
on the thin, open lace of her waist. When Teresa Soracco looked after her with a the gong sounded at five-thirty, Paolo took smile. The smile broadened, she shrugged his hat and coat and was on the street before and turned to the pile of garments beside the first elevator emptied its load. her. As she did so she caught sight of Paolo Teresa Soracco and Filomena Ricardi came Scorti's face. For a moment she sat, half down in the third trip. As they stepped turned, held by the blazing anger in Paolo's out on the sidewalk Filomena looked about eyes. Then she looked back and up at Bar- nervously with her little red-rimmed eyes. ney Farrol, still standing beside her.
“ He is not here. What hast thou done, "I guess I'll look for another shop. I'm wicked one ? For the first time he waits not tired of her pickin' on me.” Teresa's red to walk with us." lips quivered.
Bene!" Teresa shrugged her indifference. “Oh, I say, kid, don't get miffed for a He can go where he likes. There are others.” thing like that." Barney Farrol's hand Filomena shook her head. “No, no; thou rested for a moment on Teresa's shoulder. cannot make so with a man." “ It's hot, and I guess she's tired. You're · Bah! This is not Italy. No man shall the best operator in the shop."
say to me, Do this, do that,' like Amadeo " Well-ain't it hot for me too? I ain't says to Carmela and she runs like a dog." goin' to stand for it."
Filomena slipped her hand into Teresa's
Filomena walked on, thoughtful, through the crowded street cluttered with babies and shrieking women and brawling hucksters. As she passed the bakeshop of Il Sorcio, the Mouse, she met Paolo hurrying in. At his “ Buona serni
Filomena's heart beat quickly. The little red eyes were soft as she looked after him.
“If he—" Filomena sighed. She was not envious. It was so useless. She went on to the three small rooms on the top floor where she and her old grandmother lived alone-two good, ugly women without a man.
“ But his face was black like the blackness above Vesuvio when the boss talked with thee."
“So.” Teresa nodded her complete satisfaction. "And what color, then, will it be when he hears that to-morrow night I go with the boss to a dance ?"
“ Holy Mary, Mother of Jesus, save us !" Filomena's hand dropped from Teresa's
6. Thou wilt not do that !” “ Most surely will I do so. Dost think I will grow old, bent all day above a machine and at night over the cursed coats, till the eyes fall out on the face, to look only at the needles and the face of that frog Pepe ?"
Filomena sighed. Truly, he cannot stand before the glass with Paolo, but he has a good business and he hopes soon to buy a house on Grand Street."
“He may buy twenty houses. He has the face of a frog.”
Filomena's little red eyes saddened. She shrugged her thin shoulders submissively.
Ecco.' Thou art young and pretty, Teresa. But there are many girls in New York who—”
Teresa turned quickly. “ Amiga mia," she whispered. " Wilt do a favor for me-a great favor—and I will return it to thee in any way thou wilt.”
Thou knowest, little one—if it is possible."
“ Cara, to-morrow night I will tell the father that thou art sick and that I stay with thee. In this way only can I go to the dance."
“ Holy Virgin, but that is not possible ! Thou knowest—"
“ Carissima, do this for me, and I will make it that thou shalt be godmother to the little Carlino. Pepe will be the godfather.”
The sallow girl blushed. He will not-" Teresa laughed.
“ It is for thee to say. He looks for a wife.”
Filomena did not answer, but Teresa felt the fingers trembling on her arm. They walked on silently. When they came to the door of the tenement where Teresa lived, they stopped.
"Well? Thou wilt do what I ask, Filomena mia? Thou wilt not refuse ?"
Bene. I will do it. Thou couldst beg the heart from the devil, little pigeon.”
Teresa threw her arms about the other's neck and kissed her. " Remember also," she whispered, “ he has a fine business and looks to buy a house on Grand Street.” Laughing, she vanished into the blackness of the long hall.
As Paolo came quickly into the little room behind the shop Il Sorcio looked up from the corner of the table where he was eating his supper.
Bene, bene, thou art just in time! Such a fine spaghetti thou hast never eaten. Sit! Sit!” He pushed another fork and the saucepan of spaghetti across the table. Paolo drew up a chair. Mechanically he plunged the fork into the soft mass, twisted a little on his fork, and raised the fork to his lips. Then he threw the fork of twisted spaghetti on the floor and pushed back his chair.
By the blood of San Gennaro,” he burst out, like a rocket, “I will kill her !"
Il Sorcio swallowed his spaghetti, took a mouthful of wine, and wiped his mustache on the back of his hand.
Thou art in love."
"I am in hell. One thousand devils eat my heart. I-" Paolo's voice broke. He covered his face with his hands. “ She is beautiful- -So beautiful ! The eyes like stars and the throat like the breast of a dove."
Il Sorcio pushed the spaghetti nearer. “ I will believe as thou savest. but the eyes will not be more dull nor the throat less like the breast of the dove because thou dost not eat this fine spaghetti. Come."
But Paolo got up and began walking about the small room.
“ Madonna mia, Madre de Dio, I will kill that boss, that Irish ! Chained like a dog, I see him come close. He talks. She laughs
He puts the hands on her." Little drops of dampness broke out Paolo's forehead. With his hands he tried to crush the pictures in his throbbing brain. “ Twice to-day he puts the hands so. He feels the skin through the lace, and I-by my bope of paradise, I will kill him !"
“ So. So. Most surely thou must kill
into his eyes.
him !" Il Sorcio pulled the ragged end of this wickedness of America. I will marry
mustache in thought. • Thou hast with Teresa Soracco-or-I will cut the been in this country three months. Already throat." thou art tired to take every Saturday eighteen “ Bene.” Il Sorcio shrugged indifferently. good dollars. Ecco! It is better to make “ To marry or to cut the throat-it is the shoes for the State till they put thee into a
But the throat is thine." chair and kill thee with a bolt of lightning." Long after Paolo had gone Il Sorcio sat, Il Sorcio laughed. “And for a girl who three smiling into space. At last he emptied the months ago was like a rock at the bottom of bottle into his glass. "To youth," he said, the sea to thee! Who is this witch who lights softly, and sighed as he wiped his mustache the fire in thy heart, my son ?”
on his sleeve. “ Teresa," Paolo whispered it reverently, Paolo's heart beat so that he could hear it «• Teresa Soracco.”
as he stood waiting for the door to open. As Holy saints !" Il Sorcio rocked with mirth. he entered the kitchen he saw only a con". The Soracco ! She who makes the rich fused blur and felt that he was walking Pepe run like a dog at the end of a string. through a thick fog. And now thee."
“ Good-evening. Thou art a stranger. In Paolo whirled on him. “Pepe?”
a moment we finish this hand.” Tomasso · Ecco! Who else? Is he not rich ? Art Soracco looked up from the table where he asleep that thou knowest not what the world and Pepe sat playing cards. Paolo's throat says ? But she waits. She plays like a cat tightened. with a mouse. She is an American, thy “ Continue. No ceremony, please. I come loved one, with the heart of ice. Deep in the only for a moment.” Paolo crossed to the heart she has shame of our people. She corner where Maria Soracco sat steadily waits for an American with a fine house in sewing, a great pile of unfinished coats on Harlem, far away from Mott Street.”
the floor beside her. Paolo sat down heavily. His trembling “As always, you work, Signora." hands made pitiful gestures of repulsion, beat- Maria Soracco's tired eyes smiled at Paolo. ing back the words of Pepe as if they were " It takes much to live." She nodded to blows. “ It-is-not-true. She is good." the corner where three small children sat
“ Ecco !” Il Sorcio poured another glass playing with some scraps of bright paper. of thin, sour wine. Then he laid his hand Paolo's eyes drifted with apparent carelesskindly on Paolo's arm. “ Listen. Many ness about the kitchen, back to the pile of come, as thou, to talk to the Mouse, because coats. " And the Signorina Teresa is too he is old and has seen much. Bene. Then tired at night, she cannot help ?" listen when I tell thee that if in the shell of thy * Most surely she helps, always, two, three head thou hast sense as much as a dried pea, hours, when there is work. But to-night the thou wilt say to her, “Go marry with Pepe. best friend, Filomena Ricardi, is sick. She With an American.' And thou wilt look for a stays with her," wife among those who have been not so long Fil-o-men-a Ricardi-is sick ?” in this cursed country where the children laugh Maria Soracco folded a finished coat and at the parents and the girls say to the men, began on another. “ So, for two days she 'In this way shalt thou do.' Exo! There keeps the bed. She is not strong. I rememis the Ricardi. She is good. She learns not ber in the old country the mother of this one yet the wickedness of America."
was always sick. Those with the faces so “ The-Ricardi —with the—face of long and yellow are weak in the heart.” horse!"
The spool he was fingering dropped from " Bene.
In three, four, five years it is the Paolo's hands. Stupidly he watched it roll same, the face of a horse, a goat, an angel. away under the stove. His head whirled. I who am old say these things of much He felt himself spinning dizzily through space. knowledge."
His heart was beating in his throat to escape. "Enough." Paolo jumped up. Ile stood Dimly he saw Maria Soracco bending toward over the old man. His hand beat the truth him. 5 Thou art ill. Thy face is red like of his statements. His eyes blazed. “ To fire." night I go to the house of Soracco. No Paolo heard himself laugh, something lifted longer do I play this game of child. With him to his feet. the fire of my love I burn from her brain It is nothing. A little--congestion-in
the head. To-day the shop was inferno. She wanted to live among them always. ToWith a little sleep-it will go."
night she was off alone, like one of the bold She had lied to her people. There could girls who passed with one of their men. And be but one reason. She was with the boss. he, like a fool, must wander about alone. A Somewhere out in the warm, dark night they wave of fury swept over him. He stood still. were alone. Like the American girls he saw His dark eyes searched hungrily. Two tall late at night on the streets, she was somewhere, girls were coming towards him. One was walking close to the other, her hand in his, very pale, with hair like fire and eyes like laughing up with her wonderful eyes, chatter- dead ashes. They sauntered by. The taller ing the English he, Paolo, could not speak. girl looked back and stopped.
Madonna mia, grant that I live through Kind of lonely standin' round by yourthis night!" Paolo stopped in the middle of self, ain't it?" she drawled, sleepily. the crowded street and pressed his cold "Sure." It was the one word Paolo knew. fingers on his
eyes. But the pictures burned The shorter girl laughed. “Oh, come through the lids.
He's a guinea.” She pulled her comIl Sorcio was right. She was an Amer- panion by the arm. Paolo's hand went out ican. She had a heart of ice. She had made a quickly to stop her. fool of the fat, stupid Pepe. She would have “Well, he's one good-lookin'wop, all right.” fooled him too. She laughed at the stand- The tall girl freed herself. “Maybe he'll ards of her people. She slipped away in the be good for a cream. I’m melted.” She night, like a cheap woman of the streets, to smiled at Paolo with her dead eyes. He be alone with a man of another race. Friends stood looking at her helplessly. From the called to Paolo as he passed. He went on
windows of the hall above came the soft without hearing At last he came to Wash- shuffle of many feet and the blaring notes ington Square, where he had come with Il of a waltz. Suddenly Paolo pointed up. Sorcio the first Sunday he was in America. He would dance furiously in the hot night It was crowded. Paolo threw himself on the with this pale, cold girl and forget Teresa for ground and buried his face in the cool grass. a little. Children ran close to him, shrieking in play. * Sure.” The heavy lids half closed over Women laughed and chatted above the the girl's ashlike eye. Her slim body unbabies asleep in their arms. Men shouted dulated with the rhythm. Sure, I'd die in argument.
With his face in the grass, dancin'." She shook off her companion. Paolo saw the shy girls with soft, expect- “Run along, Nellie. Me and the guinea has ant eyes who sat together on the benches a date.”
The short girl turned angrily. “ If watching the young man pass and repass. I couldn't get a bid from a white man, I'd And he saw the hot love in the men's eyes
Then she laughed and went. searching out the girls. The summer night Paolo and the pale girl went up the stairs. was heavy with passion. It ran like fire over
crowded. Couple after couple Paolo's quivering nerves, while under bim glided by, their whole bodies swaying sensuthe cool, quiet earth seemed to mock him in ously to the music. The men, in their shirtits unchanging peace.
sleeves, held their partners close. The thin He got up and began walking again, away dresses of the girls clung damply. Some from the cool grass and the men and women of them lay listlessly in their partners' arms, calling silently to each other. As he turned as if, overcome by the heat and the dreamy into Sixth Avenue and began walking north rhythm, they no longer moved by their own gradually a little peace came to him. The volition. Paolo put his arm about the pale rattle of the cars, the thunder of the elevated, girl and stood for a moment waiting to swing soothed him strangely. It was as if some- into time. As he stood, slowly in the circling thing beside himself was being shaken and stream Barney Farrol and Teresa waltzed torn by a power stronger than itself. Girls toward him. Her head was down, Paolo in thin dresses with powdered faces passed. could not see her face. Barney bent over They looked into his face boldly, with their her, talking. They reversed. Barney's body pale American eyes.
For the first time since hid her. They came on toward Paolo. he had come to New York Paolo wished that The pale girl looked heavily at Paolo. he could talk English. This was the race “What's got yuh? You're shakin' like a leaf? that Teresa loved above her own. She spoke Sombody give yuh the Evil Eye ?" their language.
She understood their ways. Before any one could stop him, Paolo was