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[[caption]] "A'nt Cally,"
"What is it, Chile?"
Samantha groped to a chair by the stove and sat down. [[/caption]]


A story of and old lady who Reformed her grandson ad mended a broken heart.

DEARBORN Street north of the Root Street Railroad yards, as seen in the mellowing twilight of an evening late in Fall, reminds one of the nursery rhymes. The irregular setting of the frame houses with their all too-evident patch work carpentry, bordered by their crooked patch work fences, or those sorely in need of patch work immediately sets one's mind skipping over the verses of "There was a crooked man, who walked a crooked mile" ... A wee sense of humor will enable one to visualize, quite easily, a great crooked man, a crooked carpenter in fact, building crooked houses and bordering them with crooked fences for several crooked miles. Houses for the black and brown and yellow old women of multitudinous progeny.

HERE dwell the black Canaanites; the ignorant, the backward, the illiterates who have come North, seeking to share of the plenty of Egypt. And they have brought with them their down-home customs, their provincialisms, their inherent superstitions; all of which sit upon them with the steadfastness o The Old Man of the Sea. The women, those who work, are ordered to bring home the washing on Wednesday, and on Wednesday they promptly "tote" it home. Their children, on the way to school, are thrown at by the white boys, and they immediately "chunk" back at them. Their faith in talismanic charms remains unchanged.

In the front room--parlor, as they would have termed it--of one of these houses, two elderly women enjoyed the rest afforded by the end of another day. All was quiet save fro the irregular ticking of the clock upon the wall. The sound of its ticking was like the far-off clatter of a double gaited saddle horse. It would seemingly pace for a while, shift after a slight hesitation and then gallop. Strangely enough, the clock's ticking brought to Cally's mind no remembrances of galloping horses, but back of her old, vulture-like eyes were called into review past scenes of death in lamp-lit cabins; of wakes and slow-moving funeral processions; her ears again heard the professional grief of wailing women, and the cries of the bereaved.

SAMANTHA turned from the smoky window where she had been dreaming into the dusk of the deserted street, and peered into the far corner of the room where Aunt Cally sat hunched over her cane, motionless and silent. Her slight frame was all but invisible in the darkness, save for the white cloth that bound her head,


By Porter W. Streeter
[[artist]] Edward Wallace Smith [/artist]]
Illustrations by Edward Wallace Smith

giving it the appearance of an immense toad stool looming in the night.
"A'nt Cally."
There was a long interval of silence before Cally answered. It was as if she had come into the air of the present from the depths of an absorbing reverie, like a bubble rising from deep water and breaking upon the still surface.
"What is it, chile?"
Samantha groped to a chair by the stove and sat down.
"Ah was jest wondering if you was 'sleep. You was sittin' there so quiet-like. Ah'm kinda lonesome, Ah guess, an' want to talk a little."
Aunt Cally might have been dreaming or asleep.
"Ah've of'en heard you say, 'way back when Ah was a little girl, what the signs was when the clock run like that. It's been runnin' like that since 'way 'fore Ah was standin' at the winder. Fast, and then slow, and then fast--real loud. What do it mean when it do like that, Aunt Cally? It sho' do give me the creeps!"
"Ah been listenin', chile. Dat am a sho' sign of one thing or t'other. Somebody is sho' goin' die soon, else