At his first glance Marc realized how it had gotten its unusual name It was

At his first glance marc realized how it had gotten

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At his first glance, Marc realized how it had gotten its unusual name. It was exactly like a bottle in shape. With the sun shining on the stones and garden plots, and the blue sky overhead, the street gave him a momentary sense of well-being and peace. It was completely charming, a scene from a print of fifty years ago. A woman who Marc guessed was some sixty years of age was watering roses in the garden of the first house to his right. She gazed at him motionless, and the water flowed from her can unheeded to the ground. He took off his hat and announced, "I'm from the city engineering department, madam." The woman recovered herself and set her watering can down. "So you have found out at last," she said. At these words, Marc's reborn belief that after all he had made a harmless and ridiculous error fled precipitately. There was no mistake. "Tell me, please," he said tonelessly.
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It was a curious story. For several years, she said, the tenants of Green Bottle Street had lived in amity with each other and the landlord, who also resided in one of the little houses. The owner became so attached to them that in a gesture of goodwill he deeded them his property, together with a small sum of money, when he died. "We paid our taxes," the woman said, "and made out a multitude of forms and answered the questions of various officials at regular intervals about our property. Then, after a while, we were sent no notices, so we paid no more taxes. No one bothered us at all. It was a long time before we understood that in some way they'd forgotten about us." Marc nodded. Of course, if Green Bottle Street had dropped from the ken of city hall, no inspectors would go there, no census takers, no tax collectors. All would pass merrily by, directed elsewhere by the infallible filing cabinet. "Then Michael Flanagan, who lives at number four," she went on, "a most interesting man, you must meet him--Mr. Flanagan called us together and said that if miracles happened, we should aid and abet them. It was he who had the door built and put up at the entrance to keep out passersby or officials who might come along. We used to keep it locked, but it's been so long since anyone came that we don't bother now. "Oh, there were many little things we had to do, like getting our mail at the post office and never having anything delivered at the door. Now almost the only visits we make to the outside world are to buy our food and clothes." "And there has never been any change here all that time?" Marc asked. "Yes, two of our friends died, and their rooms were empty for a while. Then Jean Desselin--he's in number six and sometimes goes into the city--returned with a Mr. Plonsky, a refugee. Mr. Plonsky was very tired and worn out with his travelings and gladly moved in with us. Miss Hunter, in number three, brought home a very nice person--a distant relative, I believe. They quite understand the situation." "And you, madam?" Marc inquired.
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  • Spring '18

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