The Snow Man Page: 232
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I lampton's Magazine
vwho believe that all things, from a without-
wine table dl'hite to the crucifixion, may
be interpreted through music, night have
found a nocturne or a symphony to express
the i.olat ion of that loltted-out world. The
clink of gI ;ss and botf le, the aeolian chorus
of the wind in the house crannies, its deeper
trombone through the cation below, and the
\agnerian crash of the cook's pots and
pans, united in a lit, discordant melody, I
thought. No less welcome an accompani-
ment was the sizzling of broiling ham and
venison cutlets, indorsed by the solvent
fuimes of true Java, bringing rich promises
of comfort to our yearning souls.
The cook brought the smoking supper to
the table. ie nodded to me democratically
as lie cast the heavy Ip'lates around as though
he were pitching quoits or hurling the discus.
I looked at him with some appraisement
and curiosity, and much conciliation. IThere
was no prophet to tell us when that drifting
evil outside might cease to fall; and it is
well, when snow-bound, to stand somewhere
within the radius of the cook's favorable
consideration. But I could read neither
favor nor disallpproval in the face and man-
ner of our Ipot-wrestler.
Ili' was about iive feet, nine inches, and
two hundred pounds of commonplace, bull-
necked, pink-faced, callous calm. He wore
brown duck trousers too tight and too short,
and a blue flannel shirt with sleeves rolled
above his elbows. 'There was a sort of
grim, steady scowl on his features that
looked to me as though he had fixed it there
pIlrpolsely as a protection against the weak-.
nes of an inherent amiability that, he fan-
cied, were better concealed. And then I let
supper usurp his Irief occupancy of my
")raw up, George," said Ross. "Let's
all eat while the grub's hot."
Iou fellows go on and chew," answered
the cook. ' I ate mine in the kitchen before
"lhink it'll be a big snow, George?"
asked the ranchman.
George had turned to renter the cook
room. Ile moved slowly around, and, look-
ing at his face, it seeIned to me that he was
turning over the wisdom and knowledge of
centuries in his head.
It might," was his delayed reply.
\t the door of the kitchen he stopped and
looked Iback at us. Both Ross and I held
Our knives andl forks poisd and 'eave him
our regard. Some men have the Ionower ,
drawing the attention of others with,l
speaking a word. Their attitude is m,,n
effective than a shout.
"And again it mightn't," said Geor,c
and went back to his store.
After we had eaten, he came in and Gath-
ered the emptied dishes. He stood for a
moment, with his spurious frown deepened
"It might stop any minute," he said, 'or
it might keep it up for clays."
At the farther end of the cook room Ia
George pour hot water into his dishpan,
light his pipe, and put the tableware through
its required lavation. He then carefully
unwrapped from a piece of old saddle blan-
ket a paper-back book, and settled himself
to read by his dim oil lamp.
And then the ranchman threw tobacco
on the cleared table and set forth again the
bottles and glasses; and I saw that I stood
in a deep channel through which the long
dammed flood of his discourse would soon
be booming. But I was half content, com-
paring my fate with that of the late Thomas
Tucker, who had to sing for his supper, thu
doubling the burdens of both himself ani
"Snow is a hell of a thing," said Ross. bY
way of a foreword. "It ain't, somehow. it
seems to me, salubrious. I can stand water
and mud and tw'o inches below zero and a
hundred and ten in the shade and medium-
sized cyclones, but this here fuzzy white
stuff naturally gets me all locoed. I reckon
the reason it rattles you is because it changes
the look of things so much. It's like 0ou
had a wife and left her in the morning with
the same old blue cotton wrapper on, and
rides in of a night and runs across her all
outfitted in a white silk evening frock, wav-
ing an ostrich-feather fan, and monkeying
with a posy of lily flowers. Wouldn't it
make you look for your pocket compass?
You'd be liable to kiss her before you col-
lected your presence of mind."
By and by, the flood of Ross's talk wras
drawn up into the clouds (so it pleased me
to fancy) and there condensed into the finer
snowlakes of thought; and we sat silent
about the store, as good friends and bitcr
enemies will do. I thought of Ross's pire-
amble about the mysterious influence upon
man exerted by that ermine-lined monster
that now covered our little world, and knew
he was right.
Of all the curious knick!,na'k, cr"-
II1- _r __r ~ L ~ ___
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Reference the current page of this Prose (Fiction).
Henry, O., 1862-1910. The Snow Man, prose (fiction), August 1910; New York. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth139328/m1/4/: accessed September 19, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.