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Halsey come on lewis come on you fellers heres lookin

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Halsey: Come on, Lewis. Come on, you fellers. Heres lookin at y. Then, as if suddenly recalling something, he jerks away from the table and starts towards the steps. Kabnis: Where y goin, Halsey? Halsey: Where? Where y think? That oak beam in th wagon— Kabnis: Come ere. Come ere. Sit down. What in hell’s wrong with you fellers? You with your wagon. Lewis with his Father John. This aint th time fer foolin with wagons. Daytime’s bad enough f that. Ere, sit down. Ere, Lewis, you too sit down. Have a drink. Thats right. Drink corn licker, love th girls, an listen t th old man mumblin sin. There seems to be no good-time spirit to the party. Something in the air is too tense and deep for that. Lewis, seated now so that his eyes rest upon the old man, merges with his source and lets the pain and beauty of the South meet him there. White faces, pain-pollen, settle downward through a cane-sweet mist and touch the ovaries of yellow flowers. Cotton-bolls bloom, droop. Black roots twist in a parched red soil beneath a blazing sky. Magnolias, fragrant, a trifle futile, lovely, far off... His eyelids close. A force begins to heave and rise... Stella is serious, reminiscent. Stella: Usall is brought up t hate sin worse than death— Kabnis: An then before you have y eyes half open, youre made t love it if y want t live.
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Stella: Us never— Kabnis: Oh, I know your story: that old prim bastard over yonder, an then old Calvert’s office— Stella: It wasnt them— Kabnis: I know. They put y out of church, an then I guess th preacher came around an asked f some. But thats your body. Now me— Halsey (passing him the bottle): All right, kid, we believe y. Here, take another. Wheres Clover, Stel? Stella: You know how Jim is when he’s just out th swamp. Done up in shine an wouldnt let her come. Said he’d bust her head open if she went out. Kabnis: Dont see why he doesnt stay over with Laura, where he belongs. Stella: Ask him, an I reckon he’ll tell y. More than you want. Halsey: Th nigger hates th sight of a black woman worse than death. Sorry t mix y up this way, Lewis. But y see how tis. Lewis’ skin is tight and glowing over the fine bones of his face. His lips tremble. His nostrils quiver. The others notice this and smile knowingly at each other. Drinks and smokes are passed around. They pay no neverminds to him. A real party is being worked up. Then Lewis opens his eyes and looks at them. Their smiles disperse in hot-cold tremors. Kabnis chokes his laugh. It sputters, gurgles. His eyes flicker and turn away. He tries to pass the thing off by taking a long drink which he makes considerable fuss over. He is drawn back to Lewis. Seeing Lewis’ gaze still upon him, he scowls. Kabnis: Whatsha lookin at me for? Y want t know who I am? Well, I’m Ralph Kabnis—lot of good its goin t do y. Well? Whatsha keep lookin for? I’m Ralph Kabnis. Aint that enough f y? Want th whole family history? Its none of your godam business, anyway. Keep off me. Do y hear? Keep off me. Look at Cora.
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