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 Payable to Bearer
IF you bring a woman into a story you spoil the story, and in all probability libel the woman; everybody knows that. But there are two women in this story, so get ready; they always have crept in, and they always will — and we have to make the best of it. In this instance, though, the first person to creep in was Ikey Hole.
The police in particular, but almost everybody who knew him at all intimately, called him Keyhole Ikey, so that by the time that he crept into the story he was laboring under an extra syllable as well as a kit of scientifically constructed tools distributed about his person. It was a second story that he crept into — through a bedroom window.
Ikey started in business at the early age of sixteen as a porch-climber, and by the time he was twenty he had become a past grand-master of his profession; but since by that time porches had grown a little out of fashion in New York he began to make a specialty of fire-escapes, and from that time on he throve amazingly, as everybody does who is sufficiently far-sighted to move with the times...

 For the Salt He Had Eaten
The midnight jackals howled their discontent while heat- cracked India writhed in stuffy torment that was only one degree less than unendurable. Through the stillness and the blackness of the night came every now and then the high-pitched undulating wails of women, that no one answered-for, under that Tophet-lid of blackness, punctured by the low-hung, steel-white stars, men neither knew nor cared whose child had died. Life and hell-hot torture and indifference—all three were one.
There was no moon, nothing to make the inferno visible, except that here and there an oil lamp on some housetop glowed like a blood-spot against the blackness. It was a sensation, rather than sight or sound, that betrayed the neighborhood of thousands upon thousands of human beings, sprawling, writhing, twisting upon the roofs, in restless suffering.
There was no pity in the dry, black vault of heaven, nor in the bone-dry earth, nor in the hearts of men, during that hot weather of '57. Men waited for the threatened wrath to come and writhed and held their tongues. And while they waited in sullen Asiatic patience, through the restless silence and the smell—the suffocating, spice-fed, filth-begotten smell of India—there ran an undercurrent of even deeper mystery than India had ever known...



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