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Silent Snow, Secret Snow
by [?]

This idea amused him, and automatically as he though of it, he turned his head and looked toward the top of the hill. There was, of course, nothing there-nothing and no one. The street was empty and quiet. And all the more because of its emptiness it occurred to him to count the houses-a thing which, oddly enough, he hadn’t before thought of doing. Of course, he had known there weren’t many-many, that is, on his own side of the street, which were the ones that figured in the postman’s progress-but nevertheless it came to him as something of a shock to find that there were precisely six, above his own house-his own house was the seventh.


Astonished, he looked at his own house-looked at the door, on which was the number 13 – and then realized that the whole thing was exactly and logically and absurdly what he ought to have known. Just the same, the realization gave him abruptly, and even a little frighteningly, a sense of hurry. He was being hurried-he was being rushed. For-he knit his brows-he couldn’t be mistaken-it was just above the seventh house, his own house, that the postman had first been audible this very morning. But in that case-in that case-did it mean that tomorrow he would hear nothing? The knock he had heard must have been the knock of their own door. Did it mean- and this was an idea which gave him a really extraordinary feeling of surprise- that he would never hear the postman again?-that tomorrow morning the postman would already have passed the house, in a snow by then so deep as to render his footsteps completely inaudible? That he would have made his approach down the snow-filled street so soundlessly, so secretly, that he, David Jones, there lying in bed, would not have awakened in time, or, waking, would have heard nothing?

But now could that be? Unless even the knocker should be muffled in the snow-frozen tight, perhaps?…But in that case-

A vague feeling of disappointment came over him; a vague sadness, as if he felt himself deprived of something which he had long looked forward to, something much prized. After all this, all this beautiful progress, the slow delicious advance of the postman through the silent and secret snow, the knock creeping closer each day, and the footsteps nearer, the audible compass of the world thus daily narrowed, narrowed, narrowed, as the snow soothingly and beautifully enroached and deepened, after all this, was he to be defrauded of the one thing he had so wanted-to be able to count, as it were, the last two or three solemn footsteps, as they finally approached his own door? Was it all going to happen, at the end, so suddenly? Or indeed, had it already happened? With no slow and subtle gradations of menace, in which he could luxuriate?

He gazed upward again, toward his own window which flashed in the sun: and this time almost with a feeling that it would be better if he were still in bed, in that room; for in that case this must still be the first morning, and there would be six more mornings to come-or, for that matter, seven or eight or nine-how could he be sure? or even more.


After supper, the inquisition began. He stood before the doctor, under the lamp, and submitted silently to the usual thumpings and tappings.

“Now will you please say ‘Ah!’?”


“Now again please, if you don’t mind.”


"Say it slowly, and hold it if you can–"



How silly all this was. As if it had anything to do with his throat! Or his heart or lungs!

Relaxing his mouth, of which the corners, after all this absurd stretching, felt uncomfortable, he avoided the doctor’s eyes, and stared toward the fireplace, past his mother’s feet (in gray slippers) which projected from the green chair, and his father’s feet(in brown slippers) which stood neatly side by side on the hearth rug.

“Hm. There is certainly nothing wrong there…”

He felt the doctor’s eyes fixed upon him, and, as if merely to be polite, returned the look, but with a feeling of justifiable evasiveness.

“Now, young man, tell me,-do you feel all right?”

“Yes, sir, quite all right.”