A Place to Post Many Story

A Place to Post Many Story

Author: Everivel

Story

“Rain” by W. Somerset Maugham Part 6

“She’s gone too far.”

“Too far for the mercy of God?” His eyes lit up suddenly and his voice grew mellow and soft.

“Never. The sinner may be deeper in sin than the depth of hell itself, but the love of the Lord Jesus can reach him still.”

The girl came back with the message.

“Miss Thompson’s compliments and as long as Rev. Davidson don’t come in business hours she’ll be glad to see him any time.”

The party received it in stony silence, and Dr. Macphail quickly effaced from his lips the smile which had come upon them. He knew his wife would be vexed with him if he found Miss Thompson’s effrontery amusing.

They finished the meal in silence. When it was over the two ladies got up and took their work, Mrs. Macphail was making another of the innumerable comforters which she had turned out since the beginning of the war, and the doctor lit his pipe. But Davidson remained in his chair and with abstracted eyes stared at the table. At last he got up and without a word went out of the room. They heard him go down and they heard Miss Thompson’s defiant “Come in” when he knocked at the door. He remained with her for an hour. And Dr. Macphail watched the rain. It was beginning to get on his nerves. It was not like our soft English rain that drops gently on the earth; it was unmerciful and somehow terrible; you felt in it the malignancy of the primitive powers of nature. It did not pour, it flowed. It was like a deluge from heaven, and it rattled on the roof of corrugated iron with a steady persistence that was maddening. It seemed to have a fury of its own. And sometimes you felt that you must scream if it did not stop, and then suddenly you felt powerless, as though your bones had suddenly become soft; and you were miserable and hopeless.

Macphail turned his head when the missionary came back. The two women looked up.

“I’ve given her every chance. I have exhorted her to repent. She is an evil woman.”

He paused, and Dr. Macphail saw his eyes darken and his pale face grow hard and stern.

“Now I shall take the whips with which the Lord Jesus drove the usurers and the money changers out of the Temple of the Most High.”

He walked up and down the room. His mouth was close set, and his black brows were frowning.

“If she fled to the uttermost parts of the earth I should pursue her.”

With a sudden movement he turned round and strode out of the room. They heard him go downstairs again.

“What is he going to do?” asked Mrs. Macphail. If

“I don’t know.” Mrs. Davidson took off her pince-nez and wiped them. “When he is on the Lord’s work I never ask him questions.”

She sighed a little.

“What is the matter?”

“He’ll wear himself out. He doesn’t know what it is to spare himself.”

Dr. Macphail learnt the first results of the missionary’s activity from the half-caste trader in whose house they lodged. He stopped the doctor when he passed the store ‘and came out to speak to him on the stoop. His fat face was worried.

“The Rev. Davidson has been at me for letting Miss Thompson have a room here,” he said, “but I didn’t know what she was when I rented it to her. When people come and ask if I can rent them a room all I want to know is if they’ve the money to pay for it. And she paid me for hers a week in advance.”

Dr. Macphail did not want to commit himself. “When all’s said and done it’s your housed We’re very much obliged to you for taking us in at all.”

Horn looked at him doubtfully. He was not certain yet how definitely Macphail stood on the missionary’s side.

“The missionaries are in with one another,” he said, hesitatingly olf they get it in for a trader he may just as well shut up his store and quit.”

“Did he want you to turn her out?”

“No, he said so long as she behaved herself he couldn’t ask me to do that. He said he wanted to be just to me. I promised she shouldn’t have no more visitors. I’ve just been and told her.

“How did she take it?”

“She gave me Hell.”

The trader squirmed in his old ducks. He had found Miss Thompson a rough customer.

“Oh, well, I daresay she’ll get out. I don’t suppose she wants to stay here if she can’t have anyone in.”

“There’s nowhere she can go, only a native house, and no native’ll take her now, not now that the missionaries have got their knife in her.”

Dr. Macphail looked at the falling rain.

“Well, I don’t suppose it’s any good waiting for it to clear up.”

In the evening when they sat in the parlour Davidson talked to them of his early days at college. He had had no means and had worked his way through by doing odd jobs during the vacations. There was silence downstairs. Miss Thompson was sitting in her little room alone. But suddenly the gramophone began to play. She had set it on in defiance, to cheat her loneliness, but there was no one to sing, and it had a melancholy note. It was like a cry for help Davidson took no notice. He was in the middle of a long anecdote and without change of expression went on. The gramophone continued. Miss Thompson put on one reel after another. It looked as though the silence of the night were getting on her nerves. It was breathless and sultry. When the Macphails went to bed they could not sleep. They lay side by side with their eyes wide open, listening to the cruel singing of the mosquitoes outside their curtain.

“What’s that?” whispered Mrs. Macphail at last.

They heard a voice, Davidson’s voice, through the wooden partition. It went on with a monotonous, earnest insistence. He was praying aloud. He was praying for the soul of Miss Thompson.

Two or three days went by. Now when they passed Miss Thompson on the road she did not greet them with ironic cordiality or smile; she passed with her nose in the air, a sulky look on her painted face, frowning, as though she did not see them. The trader told Macphail that she had tried to get lodging elsewhere, but had failed. In the evening she played through the various reels of her gramophone, but the pretence of mirth was obvious now. The ragtime had a cracked, heart-broken rhythm as though it were a one-step of despair. When she began to play on Sunday Davidson sent Horn to beg her to stop at once since it was the Lord’s day. The reel was taken off and the house was silent except for the steady pattering of the rain on the iron roof.

“I think she’s getting a bit worked up,” said the trader next day to Macphail. “She don’t know what Mr. Davidson’s up to and it makes her scared.”

Macphail had caught a glimpse of her that morning and it struck him that her arrogant expression had changed. There was in her face a hunted look. The half-caste gave him a sidelong glance.

“I suppose you don’t know what Mr. Davidson is doing about it?” he hazarded.

“No, I don’t.”

It was singular that Horn should ask him that question, for he also had the idea that the misssionary was mysteriously at work. He had an impression that he was weaving a net around the woman, carefully, systematically, and suddenly, when everything was ready, would pull the strings tight.

“He told me to tell her,” said the trader, “that if at any time she wanted him she only had to send and he’d come.”

“What did she say when you told her that?”

“She didn’t say nothing. I didn’t stop. I just said what he said I was to and then I beat it. I thought she might be going to start weepin’.”

“I have no doubt the loneliness is getting on her nerves,” said the doctor. “And the rain – that’s enough to make anyone jumpy,” he continued irritably. “Doesn’t it ever stop in this confounded place?”

“It goes on pretty steady in the rainy season. We have three hundred inches in the year. You see, it’s the shape of the bay. It seems to attract the rain from all over the Pacific.”

“Damn the shape of the bay,” said the doctor.

He scratched his mosquito bites. He felt very short-tempered. When the rain stopped and the sun shone, it was like a hothouse, seething, humid, sultry, breathless, and you had a strange feeling that everything was growing with a savage violence. The natives, blithe and childlike by reputation, seemed then, with their tattooing an their dyed hair, to have something sinister in their appearance; and when they pattered along at your heels with their naked feet you looked back instinctively. You felt they might at any moment come behind you swiftly and thrust long knife between your shoulder blades. You could not tell what dark thoughts lurked behind their wide-set eyes. They had a little the look of ancient Egyptians painted on a temple wall, and there was about them the terror of what is immeasurably old.

The missionary came and went. He was busy, but the Macphails did not know what he was doing. Horn told the doctor that he saw the governor every day, and once Davidson mentioned him.

“He looks as if he had plenty of determination,” he said, “but when you come down to brass tacks he has no backbone.”

“I suppose that means he won’t do exactly what you want,” suggested the doctor facetiously.

The missionary did not smile.

“I want him to do what’s right. It shouldn’t be necessary to persuade a man to do that.”

“But there may be differences of opinion about what is right.”

“If a man had a gangrenous foot would you have patience with anyone who hesitated to amputate it?”

“Gangrene is a matter of fact.”

“And Evil?”

What Davidson had done soon appeared. The four of them had just finished their midday meal, and they had not yet separated for the siesta which the heat imposed on the ladies and on the doctor. Davidson had little patience with the slothful habit. The door was suddenly flung open and Miss Thompson came in. She looked round the room and then went up to Davidson.

“You low-down skunk, what have you been saying about me to the governor?”

She was spluttering with rage. There was a moment’s pause. Then the missionary drew forward a chair.

“Won’t you be seated, Miss Thompson? I’ve been hoping to have another talk with you.”

“You poor low-life bastard.”

She burst into a torrent of insult, foul and insolent. Davidson kept his grave eyes on her.

“I’m indifferent to the abuse you think fit to heap on me, Miss Thompson,” he said, “but I must beg you to remember that ladies are present.”

Tears by now were struggling with her anger. Her face was red and swollen as though she were choking.

“What has happened?” asked Dr. Macphail.

“A feller’s just been in here and he says I gotter beat it on the next boat.”

Was there a gleam in the missionary’s eyes? His face remained impassive.

“You could hardly expect the governor to let you stay here under the circumstances.”

“You done it,” she shrieked. “You can’t kid me. You done it.”

“I don’t want to deceive you. I urged the governor to take the only possible step consistent with his obligations.”

“Why couldn’t you leave me be? I wasn’t doin’ you no harm.”

“You may be sure that if you had I should be the last man to resent it.”

“Do you think I want to stay on in this poor imitation of a burg? I don’t look no busher, do I?”

“In that case I don’t see what cause of complaint you have,” he answered.

She gave an inarticulate cry of rage and flung out of the room. There was a short silence.

“It’s a relief to know that the governor has acted at last,” said Davidson finally. “He’s a weak man and he shilly-shallied. He said she was only here for a fortnight anyway, and if she went on to Apia that was under British jurisdiction and had nothing to do with him.”

The missionary sprang to his feet and strode across the room.

“It’s terrible the way the men who are in authority seek to evade their responsibility. They speak as though evil that was out of sight ceased to be evil. The very existence of that woman is a scandal and it does not help matters to shift it to another of the islands. In the end I had to speak straight from the shoulder.”

Davidson’s brow lowered, and he protruded his firm chin. He looked fierce and determined.

Story

“Rain” by W. Somerset Maugham Part 5

When they got back to their house, she was on the verandah playing with one of the trader’s dark children.

“Say a word to her,” Dr. Macphail whispered to his wife. “She’s all alone here, and it seems rather unkind to ignore her.”

Mrs. Macphail was shy, but she was in the habit of doing what her husband bade her.

“I think we’re fellow lodgers here,” she said rather foolishly.

“Terrible, ain’t it, bein’ cooped up in a one-horse burg like this?” answered Miss Thompson. “And they tell me I’m lucky to have gotten a room. I don’t see myself livin’ in a native house, and that’s what some have to do. I don’t know why they don’t have a hotel.”

They exchanged a few more words. Miss Thompson, loud-voiced and garrulous, was evidently quite willing to gossip, but Mrs. Macphail had a poor stock of small talk and presently she said:

“Well, I think we must go upstairs.”

In the evening when they sat down to their high tea Davidson on coming in said:

“I see that woman downstairs has a couple of sailors sitting there. I wonder how she’s gotten acquainted with them.”

“She can’t be very particular,” said Mrs. Davidson.

They were all rather tired after the idle, aimless day.

“If there’s going to be a fortnight of this I don’t know what we shall feel like at the end of it,” said Dr. Macphail.

“The only thing to do is to portion out the day to different activities,” answered the missionary. “I shall set aside a certain number of hours to study and a certain number to exercise, rain, or fine – in the wet season you can’t afford to pay any attention to the rain – and a certain number to recreation.”

Dr. Macphail looked at his companion with misgiving. Davidson’s programme oppressed him. They were eating Hamburger steak again. It seemed the only dish the cook knew how to make. Then below the grama-phone began. Davidson started nervously when he heard it, but said nothing. Men’s voices floated up. Miss Thompson’s guests were joining in a well-known song and presently they heard her voice too, hoarse and loud. There was a good deal of shouting and laughing. The four people upstairs, trying to make conversation, listened despite themselves to the clink of glasses and the scrape of chairs. More people had evidently come. Miss Thompson was giving a party.

“I wonder how she gets them all in,” said Mrs. Macphail, suddenly breaking into a medical conversation between the missionary and her husband.

It showed whither her thoughts were wandering. The twitch of Davidson’s face proved that, though he spoke of scientific things, his mind was busy in the same direction. Suddenly, while the doctor was giving some experience of practice on the Flanders front, rather prosily, he sprang to his feet with a cry.

“What’s the matter, Alfred?” asked Mrs. Davidson.

“Of course! It never occurred to me. She’s out of Iwelei.”

“She can’t be.”

“She came on board at Honolulu. It’s obvious. And she’s carrying on her trade here. Here.”

He uttered the last word with a passion of indignation.

“What’s Iwelei?” asked Mrs. Macphail.

He turned his gloomy eyes on her and his voice trembled with horror.

“The plague-spot of Honolulu. The Red Light District. It was a blot on our civilization.”

Iwelei was on the edge of the city. You went down side streets by the harbour, in the darkness, across a rickety bridge, till you came to a deserted road, all ruts and holes, and then suddenly you came out into the light. There was a parking room for motors on each side of the road, and there were saloons, tawdry and bright, each one noisy with its mechanical piano, and there were barbers’ shops and tobacconists. There was a stir in the air and a sense of expectant gaiety. You turned down a narrow alley, either to the right or to the left, for the road divided Iwelei into two parts, and you found yourself in the district. There were rows of little bungalows, trim, and neatly painted in green, and the pathway between them was broad and straight. It was laid out like a garden-city. In its respectable regularity, its order and spruceness, it gave an impression of sardonic horror; for never can the search for love have been so systematized and ordered. The pathways were lit by a rare lamp, but they would have been dark except for the lights that came from the open windows of the bungalows. Men wandered about, looking at the women who sat at their windows, reading or sewing, for the most part taking no notice of the passers-by; and like the women, they were of all nationalities. There were Americans, sailors from the ships in port, enlisted men off the gunboats, sombrely drunk, and soldiers from the regiments, white and black, quartered on the island; there were Japanese, walking in twos and threes; Hawaiians, Chinese in long robes, and Filipinos in preposterous hats. They were silent and as it were oppressed. Desire is sad.

“It was the most crying scandal of the Pacific,” exclaimed Davidson vehemently. “The missionaries had been agitating against it for years, and at last the local press took it up. The police refused to stir. You know their argument. They say that vice is inevitable and consequently the best thing is to localise and control it. The truth is, they were paid. Paid. They were paid by the saloon-keepers, paid by the bullies, paid by the women themselves. At last they were forced to move.”

“I read about it in the papers that came on board in Honolulu,” said Dr. Macphail.

“Iwelei, with its sin and shame, ceased to exist on the very day we arrived. The whole population was brought before the justices. I don’t know why I didn’t understand at once what that woman was.”

“Now you come to speak of it,” said Mrs. Macphail, “I remember seeing her come on board only a few minutes before the boat sailed. I remember thinking at the time she was cutting it rather fine.”

“How dare she come here!” cried Davidson indignantly. “I’m not going to allow it.”

He strode towards the door.

“What are you going to do?” asked Macphail.

“What do you expect me to do? I’m going to stop it. I’m not going to have this house turned into – into…”

He sought for a word that should not offend the ladies’ ears. His eyes were flashing and his pale face was paler still in his emotion.

“It sounds as though there were three or four men down there,” said the doctor. “Don’t you think it’s rather rash to go in just now?”

The missionary gave him a contemptuous look and without a word flung out of the room.

“You know Mr. Davidson very little if you think the fear of personal danger can stop him in the performance of his duty,” said his wife.

She sat with her hands nervously clasped, a spot of colour on her high cheek bones, listening to what was about to happen below. They all listened. They heard him clatter down the wooden stairs and throw open the door. The singing stopped suddenly, but the gramophone continued to bray out its vulgar tune. They heard Davidson’s voice and then the noise of something heavy falling. The music stopped. He had hurled the gramophone on the floor. Then again they heard Davidson’s voice, they could not make out the words, then Miss Thompson’s, loud and shrill, then a confused clamour as though several people were shouting together at the top of their lungs. Mrs. Davidson gave a little gasp, and she clenched her hands more tightly. Dr. Macphail looked uncertainly from her to his wife. He did not want to go down, but he wondered if they expected him to. Then there was something that sounded like a scuffle. The noise now was more distinct. It might be that Davidson was being thrown out of the room. The door was slammed. There was a moment’s silence and they heard Davidson come up the stairs again. He went to his room.

“I think I’ll go to him,” said Mrs. Davidson.

She got up and went out.

“If you want me, just call,” said Mrs. Macphail, and then when the other was gone: “I hope he isn’t hurt.”

“Why couldn’t he mind his own business?” said Dr. Macphail.

They sat in silence for a minute or two and then they both started, for the gramophone began to play once more, defiantly, and mocking voices shouted hoarsely the words of an obscene song.

Next day Mrs. Davidson was pale and tired. She complained of headache, and she looked old and wizened. She told Mrs. Macphail that the missionary had not slept at all; he had passed the night in a state of frightful agitation and at five had got up and gone out. A glass of beer had been thrown over him and his clothes were stained and stinking. But a sombre fire glowed in Mrs. Davidson’s eyes when she spoke of Miss Thompson.

“She’ll bitterly rue the day when she flouted Mr. Davidson,” she said. “Mr. Davidson has a wonderful heart and no one who is in trouble has ever gone to I him without being comforted, but he has no mercy for sin, and when his righteous wrath is excited he’s terrible.”

“Why, what will he do?” asked Mrs. Macphail.

“I don’t know, but I wouldn’t stand in that creature’s shoes for anything in the world.”

Mrs. Macphail shuddered. There was something positively alarming in the triumphant assurance of the little woman’s manner. They were going out together that morning, and they went down the stairs side by side. Miss Thompson’s door was open, and they saw her in a bedraggled dressing-gown, cooking something in a chafing – dish.

“Good morning,” she called. “Is Mrs. Davidson better this morning?”

They passed her in silence, with their noses in the air, as if she did not exist. They flushed, however, when she burst into a shout of derisive laughter. Mrs. Davidson turned on her suddenly. “Don’t you dare to speak to me,” she screamed. “If you insult me I shall have you turned out of here.”

“Say, did I ask M. Davidson to visit with me?”

“Don’t answer her,” whispered Mrs. Macphail hurriedly.

They walked on till they were out of earshot.

“She s brazen, brazen,” burst from Mrs. Davidson.

Her anger almost suffocated her.

And on their way home they met her strolling towards the quay. She had all her finery on. Her great white hat with its vulgar, showy flowers was an affront. She called out cheerily to them as she went by, and a couple of American sailors who were standing there grinned as the ladies set their faces to an icy stare. They got in just before the rain began to fall again.

“I guess she’ll get her fine clothes spoilt,” said Mrs. Davidson with a bitter sneer.

Davidson did not come in till they were half way through dinner. He was wet through, but he would not change. He sat, morose and silent, refusing to eat more than a mouthful, and he stared at the slanting rain. When Mrs. Davidson told him of their two encounters with Miss Thompson he did not answer. His deepening frown alone showed that he had heard.

“Don’t you think we ought to make Mr. Horn turn her out of here?” asked Mrs. Davidson. “We can’t allow her to insult us.”

“There doesn’t seem to be any other place for her to go,” said Macphail.

“She can live with one of the natives.”

“In weather like this a native hut must be a rather uncomfortable place to live in.”

“I lived in one for years,” said the missionary.

When the little native girl brought in the fried bananas which formed the sweet they had every day, Davidson turned to her.

“Ask Miss Thompson when it would be convenient for me to see her,” he said.

The girl nodded shyly and went out.

“What do you want to see her for, Alfred?” asked his wife.

“It’s my duty to see her. I won’t act till I’ve given her every chance.”

“You don’t know what she is. She’ll insult you.”

“Let her insult me. Let her spit on me. She has an immortal soul, and I must do all that is in my power to save it.”

Mrs. Davidson’s ears rang still with the harlot’s mocking laughter.

Story

“Rain” by W. Somerset Maugham Part 4

“I’d beg him not to go sometimes,” she said, “or at least to wait till the weather was more settled, but he’d never listen. He’s obstinate, and when he’s once made up his mind, nothing can move him.”

“How can I ask the natives to put their trust in the Lord if I am afraid to do so myself?” cried Davidson. “And I’m not, I’m not. They know that if they send for me in their trouble I’ll come if it’s humanly possible. And do you think the Lord is going to abandon me when I am on his business? The wind blows at his bidding and the waves toss and rage at his word.”

Story

“Rain” by W. Somerset Maugham Part 3

“Here, you give me a needle and cotton and I’ll mend that net of yours, while you go on with your unpacking. Dinner’s at one. Dr. Macphail, you’d better go down to the wharf and see that your heavy luggage has been put in a dry place. You know what these natives are, they’re quite capable of storing it where the rain will beat in on it all the time.”

The doctor put on his waterproof again and went downstairs. At the door, Mr. Horn was standing in conversation with the quartermaster of the ship they had just arrived in and a second-class passenger whom Dr. Macphail had seen several times on board. The quartermaster, a little, shriveled man, extremely dirty, nodded to him as he passed.

Story

“Rain” by W. Somerset Maugham Part 2

“But among white people, it’s not quite the same,” she went on, “though I must say I agree with Mr. Davidson, who says he can’t understand how a husband can stand by and see his wife in another man’s arms, and as far as I’m concerned I’ve never danced a step since I married. But the native dancing is quite another matter. It’s not only immoral in itself, but it distinctly leads to immorality. However, I’m thankful to God that we stamped it out, and I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that no one has danced in our district for eight years.”

Story

“Rain” by W. Somerset Maugham Part 1

It was nearly bed-time and when they awoke next morning land would be in sight. Dr. Macphail lit his pipe and, leaning over the rail, searched the heavens for the Southern Cross. After two years at the front and a wound that had taken longer to heal than it should, he was glad to settle down quietly at Apia for twelve months at least, and he felt already better for the journey. Since some of the passengers were leaving the ship next day at Pago-Pago they had had a little dance that evening and in his ears hammered still the harsh notes of the mechanical piano. But the deck was quiet at last. A little way off he saw his wife in a long chair talking with the Davidsons, and he strolled over to her. When he sat down under the light and took off his hat you saw that he had very red hair, with a bald patch on the crown, and the red, freckled skin which accompanies red hair; he was a man of forty, thin, with a pinched face, precise and rather pedantic; and he spoke with a Scots accent in a very low, quiet voice.

Story

“Choices” by Everivel

When I opened my eyes, I couldn’t remember anything. Who am I? Where is this place? What am I doing here? Do I know someone? I couldn’t answer any of those questions. All that I know is, I am a human, I used a gray t-shirt, black jeans, and I was alone right now. But, now that I think about it… I think this place is just an alley, so I walk toward the end of the alley.

At the end of the alley, there’s the main road, I hear a bustling sound, saw so many people, vehicle, and tall building. But I still can’t remember who am I or where is this place. I check what I had in me, and I found a wallet with $100 dollars in it, I guess it was mine. Except that, nothing else there. It was suck because if there was an ID card there, it will be easy to know who I am, maybe I’ll instantly get my memories.