The Flatiron Block.
Looking Toward the City Hall from Race Street.
So the summer passed and the child grew more and more a comfort to the old man’s life. Sometimes in confidential moments he talked to one and another of the room girls of his plans for the future and his hope to give Agnes a good education.
It was again well on in the fall of the year when, one morning as he was going to work, Uncle John came upon a knot of excited people huddled near the entrance of Rum Alley. They were talking, not loudly, but in low tones of excitement and horror.
"What’s the matter?" he asked, stopping near the yard.
"It’s Mother Tassett," one of them replied. "She’s took pison an’ she’s dead. The p’lice has just gone in there."
There was a stir about the door of the dingy house to which the speaker pointed. A policeman came out and a woman with him. It was the woman who had called on Janet the year before—the one of the frowsy hair and gray shawl. She glanced over the crowd and touched the policeman’s arm.
"There’s a man that’ll know more about her family than I do," she said pointing to Uncle John. "He came from the same town an’ can tell you her right name and who are her kin."
The policeman made his way through the crowd and spoke to Uncle John.
"You’re wanted in there, Mr. Graham, to identify the suicide," he said, jerking his head backward toward the house.
"I guess it must be a mistake," Uncle John protested. "I took the little gell after the woman was sent to jail, but I don’t imagine the child was any kin to her. As to the woman herself, I never happened to see her, before nor since."
The Mount Tom Hose House and Vicinity.
Main Street, North From Dwight.
Lyman Street Bridges.
Noon at the Mills.
© Laurel O’Donnell 1996 - 2006, all rights reserved
This document may be downloaded for personal non-commercial use only
and may not be reproduced or distributed without permission in any format.
This is an edited adaptation from the original publication.