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           Hemadestraightforanarmchairontheoppositesideofthetable,satdownclumsily,andbegantocough. Themanwiththewitheredhandgavethenewcomerashortglanceofpositivedislike;theoldwomantooknonoticeofhisarrival,butremainedwithhereyesfixedsteadilyonthefire. 

           “Isaidit’syourownchoosing,"saidthemanwiththewitheredhand,whenthecoughinghadceasedforawhile. 

           “It’smyownchoosing,"Ianswered. 

           Themanwiththeshadebecameawareofmypresenceforthefirsttime,andthrewhisheadbackforamoment,andsidewise,toseeme. Icaughtamomentaryglimpseofhiseyes,smallandbrightandinflamed. Thenhebegantocoughandsplutteragain. 

           “Whydon’tyoudrink?"saidthemanwiththewitheredarm,pushingthebeertowardhim. Themanwiththeshadepouredoutaglassfulwithashakinghand,thatsplashedhalfasmuchagainonthedealtable. Amonstrousshadowofhimcroucheduponthewall,andmockedhisactionashepouredanddrank. ImustconfessIhadscarcelyexpectedthesegrotesquecustodians. Thereis,tomymind,somethinginhumaninsenility,somethingcrouchingandatavistic;thehumanqualitiesseemtodropfromoldpeopleinsensiblydaybyday. Thethreeofthemmademefeeluncomfortablewiththeirgauntsilences,theirbentcarriage,theirevidentunfriendlinesstomeandtooneanother. Andthatnight,perhaps,Iwasinthemoodforuncomfortableimpressions. Iresolvedtogetawayfromtheirvaguefore-shadowingsoftheevilthingsupstairs. 

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