Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
dug the knife into the great vein that is behind the ear, crushing the
manís head down on the table, and stabbing again and again.
There was a stifled groan, and the horrible sound of some one
choking with blood. Three times the outstretched arms shot up
convulsively, waving grotesque stiff-fingered hands in the air. He
stabbed him twice more, but the man did not move. Something
began to trickle on the floor. He waited for a moment, still pressing
the head down. Then he threw the knife on the table, and listened.
He could hear nothing, but the drip, drip on the threadbare carpet.
He opened the door and went out on the landing. The house was
absolutely quiet. No one was about. For a few seconds he stood
bending over the balustrade, and peering down into the black
seething well of darkness. Then he took out the key and returned
to the room, locking himself in as he did so.
The thing was still seated in the chair, straining over the table with
bowed head, and humped back, and long fantastic arms. Had it not
been for the red, jagged tear in the neck, and the clotted black pool
that was slowly widening on the table, one would have said that
the man was simply asleep.
How quickly it had all been done! He felt strangely calm, and,
walking over to the window, opened it and stepped out on the
balcony. The wind had blown the fog away, and the sky was like a
monstrous peacockís tail, starred with myriads of golden eyes. He
looked down, and saw the policeman going his rounds and
flashing the long beam of his lantern on the doors of the silent
houses. The crimson spot of a prowling hansom gleamed at the
corner, and then vanished. A woman in a fluttering shawl was
creeping slowly by the railings, staggering as she went. Now and
then she stopped, and peered back. Once, she began to sing in a
hoarse voice. The policeman strolled over and said something to
her. She stumbled away, laughing. A bitter blast swept across the
Square. The gas lamps flickered, and became blue, and the leafless
trees shook their black iron branches to and fro. He shivered, and
went back, closing the window behind him.
Having reached the door, he turned the key, and opened it. He did
not even glance at the murdered man. He felt that the secret of the
whole thing was not to realize the situation. The friend who had
painted the fatal portrait to which all his misery had been due, had
gone out of his life. That was enough.
Then he remembered the lamp. It was a rather curious one of
Moorish workmanship, made of dull silver inlaid with arabesques
of burnished steel, and studded with coarse turquoises. Perhaps it
might be missed by his servant, and questions would be asked. He
hesitated for a moment, then he turned back and took it from the