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THE FIGHT OF PATSY McGLYNN

BY EDWARD ALEXANDER PHILLIPS

AS A STEP sounded at the street door the Widow McGlynn glanced significantly at her daughter, and the two, as though acting upon a signal, jerked the corners of their aprons to their moist eyes and assumed an air of cheerfulness. But rapid as the change had been, it did not escape the quick eye of the powerfully built young man who suddenly appeared in the doorway and now sent his searching, half-accusing gaze from one to the other.

"Crying again, eh?" he challenged, more in deprecation of a foolish habit than in unkindness toward those who indulged it. "Well, I suppose it does women-folks good. I've heard so. But you mustn't cry any more to-night, mother. See what I've brought you—a brand new five-dollar gold-piece!"

The widow took the coin, slipped it in her bosom and disappeared from mortal sight into the yawning chasm formed by her big boy's outstretched arms and expansive chest. Held thus for a full minute in total eclipse, the world must ever remain in ignorance as to how she would have interpreted the series of astonishing facial contortions with which the young giant now favored his staring sister. Nor was that rattled young woman herself able to guess what was intended to be conveyed to her by the volley of cumbrous winks, smirks and grins winch came her way. There was something so ridiculous in the pantomime, with its impromptu setting, that she laughed outright—and was sorry in a second, as a fierce frown of disapproval darkened her brother's face. In apparent disgust at her dullness, he jerked his head toward the door by which he had just entered and—released his prisoner.

"Patsy, you're a regular old grizzly bear!" gasped the smiling old mother, now restored to the best of humor. "You nearly smothered me, so you did; you're that strong! Where's Annie?"

"Stepped across to the Morrissy's—back in a minute. And while you're fixing us a bite to eat, mother, I'll drop down to the corner and see if there is any news from the factory."

A few minutes before filled with apprehension of the calamity she felt must speedily come upon the little family, the widow now moved with sprightly step about the narrow kitchen, humming an air to the accompanying rattle of pots and pans—an air that came faith-full and hope-laden from the heart and dissipated every fear. Such are mothers of big boys.

To be sure the boiler-factory had been closed for months, keeping Patsy out of work. The coal-man was importunate. The grocer refused further supplies. The rent-collector had threatened to put them out. For the past few weeks Patsy had earned varying sums at some training-quarters across the Bay, where he had assisted in preparing certain athletes for certain coming contests—she didn't know what. She only hoped he was not mixing up with prize-fights and those terrible prizefighters. Anything but that!

Her son's small and irregular earnings had been far from adequate. Troubles seemed to be coming from every direction, threatening to culminate all at once. During the long day, when her son was away, she simply could not avoid the dreadful picture of hurrying disaster. Human reason refused to justify any hope of escape. There was ho avoiding the inevitable. How was it that, in face of the coming calamity, Patsy man* aged to remain cheerful? She couldn't understand it; yet she was forced to admit that it was no more strange than the regular disappearance of her own fearful apprehensions when night brought him rollicking home and stood him there in the center of the little sitting-room, his great arms spread out, like the wings of some gigantic bat, inviting her to the enjoyment of her regular evening "smother."

But even the training-club employment was now at an end. Patsy had said so himself when he gave her that five-dollar piece...

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