The Burglar's Christmas - Willa Cather - ebook
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A beautiful Christmas story of love, forgiveness and uneasy life. Set in Chicago on a bitterly cold Christmas night, William, considers stealing both to satisfy his hunger and to find excitement in his dull life, but when a woman drops a parcel he gives it to her instead of running off with it. He feels as if he is a failed thief, in the same manner as he has failed at everything - college, journalism, real estate, performing. He then walks into a house in an attempt to steal the jewellery, and his own mother finds him there.

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Willa Cather

Willa Cather

The Burglar’s Christmas

LONDON ∙ NEW YORK ∙ TORONTO ∙ SAO PAULO ∙ MOSCOW

PARIS ∙ MADRID ∙ BERLIN ∙ ROME ∙ MEXICO CITY ∙ MUMBAI ∙ SEOUL ∙ DOHA

TOKYO ∙ SYDNEY ∙ CAPE TOWN ∙ AUCKLAND ∙ BEIJING

New Edition

Published by Sovereign Classic

[email protected]

www.sovereignclassic.net

This Edition

First published in 2015

Copyright © 2015 Sovereign

All Rights Reserved.

Contents

THE BURGLAR’S CHRISTMAS

THE BURGLAR’S CHRISTMAS

Two very shabby looking young men stood at the corner of Prairie Avenue and Eightieth Street, looking despondently at the carriages that whirled by. It was Christmas Eve, and the streets were full of vehicles; florists’ wagons, grocers’ carts and carriages. The streets were in that half-liquid, half-congealed condition peculiar to the streets of Chicago at that season of the year. The swift wheels that spun by sometimes threw the slush of mud and snow over the two young men who were talking on the corner.

“Well,” remarked the elder of the two, “I guess we are at our rope’s end, sure enough. How do you feel?”

“Pretty shaky. The wind’s sharp tonight. If I had had anything to eat I mightn’t mind it so much. There is simply no show. I’m sick of the whole business. Looks like there’s nothing for it but the lake.”

“O, nonsense, I thought you had more grit. Got anything left you can hock?”

Nothing but my beard, and I am afraid they wouldn’t find it worth a pawn ticket,” said the younger man ruefully, rubbing the week’s growth of stubble on his face.

“Got any folks anywhere? Now’s your time to strike ‘em if you have.”

“Never mind if I have, they’re out of the question.”

“Well, you’ll be out of it before many hours if you don’t make a move of some sort. A man’s got to eat. See here, I am going down to Longtin’s saloon. I used to play the banjo in there with a couple of coons, and I’ll bone him for some of his free-lunch stuff. You’d better come along, perhaps they’ll fill an order for two.”

“How far down is it?”

“Well, it’s clear downtown, of course, way down on Michigan avenue.”

“Thanks, I guess I’ll loaf around here. I don’t feel equal to the walk, and the cars well, the cars are crowded.” His features drew themselves into what might have been a smile under happier circumstances.

“No, you never did like street cars, you’re too aristocratic. See here, Crawford, I don’t like leaving you here. You ain’t good company for yourself tonight.”

“Crawford? O, yes, that’s the last one. There have been so many I forget them.”

“Have you got a real name, anyway?”

“O, yes, but it’s one of the ones I’ve forgotten. Don’t you worry about me. You go along and get your free lunch. I think I had a row in Longtin’s place once. I’d better not show myself there again.” As he spoke the young man nodded and turned slowly up the avenue.

He was miserable enough to want to be quite alone. Even the crowd that jostled by him annoyed him. He wanted to think about himself. He had avoided this final reckoning with himself for a year now. He had laughed it off and drunk it off. But now, when all those artificial devices which are employed to turn our thoughts into other channels and shield us from ourselves had failed him, it must come. Hunger is a powerful incentive to introspection.