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The Drunkard
by [?]

“I’m drunk, all right! I’m drunk! And he filled me up, the dog; he did it, to stop my goin’ home. I’m drunk!”

And he would continue:

“Tell me who it was, Melina, or somethin’ll happen to you.”

After having waited again, he went on with the slow and obstinate logic of a drunkard:

“He’s been keeping me at that loafer Paumelle’s place every night, so as to stop my going home. It’s some trick. Oh, you damned carrion!”

Slowly he got on his knees. A blind fury was gaining possession of him, mingling with the fumes of alcohol.

He continued:

“Tell me who it was, Melina, or you’ll get a licking–I warn you!”

He was now standing, trembling with a wild fury, as though the alcohol had set his blood on fire. He took a step, knocked against a chair, seized it, went on, reached the bed, ran his hands over it and felt the warm body of his wife.

Then, maddened, he roared:

“So! You were there, you piece of dirt, and you wouldn’t answer!”

And, lifting the chair, which he was holding in his strong sailor’s grip, he swung it down before him with an exasperated fury. A cry burst from the bed, an agonizing, piercing cry. Then he began to thrash around like a thresher in a barn. And soon nothing more moved. The chair was broken to pieces, but he still held one leg and beat away with it, panting.

At last he stopped to ask:

“Well, are you ready to tell me who it was?”

Melina did not answer.

Then tired out, stupefied from his exertion, he stretched himself out on the ground and slept.

When day came a neighbor, seeing the door open, entered. He saw Jeremie snoring on the floor, amid the broken pieces of a chair, and on the bed a pulp of flesh and blood.