“Do Not Disturb”

“Then all at once Lily, badly scared, paused long and lis­tened, and listened with her. She said, “Have you seen Miss Lenox in the last fifteen minutes? She was supposed to bring the eggs.”

Miss Lenox was the old woman who lived across the road and came m to fix our breakfast. A queer, wacky little spinster, she wore a tam and her cheeks were red and mumpy. She would tickle around in the corners like mouse and take home empty bottles and cartons and similar junk.

went into the kitchen and saw this old creature lying dead on the floor. During my rage, her heart had stopped. The eggs were still boiling; they bumped the sides of the pot as eggs will do when the water is seething. I turned off the gas. Dead! Her small, toothless face, to which I laid my knuckles, was growing cold. The soul, like a current of air, like a draft, like a bubble, sucked out of the window. I stared at her. So this is it, the end—farewell? And all this while, these days and weeks, the wintry garden had been speaking to me of this fact and no other; and till this mo­ment I had not understood what this gray and white and brown, the bark, the snow, the twigs, had been telling me. I said nothing to Lily. Not knowing what else to do, I wrote a note DO NOT DISTURB and pinned it to the old lady’s skirt, and I went through the frozen winter garden and across the road to her cottage.”

Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow

(download e-book)


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