Winter 1961 • Vol. XXIII No. 1 FictionJanuary 1, 1961 |

Night Guard

"'Man's age-old melancholy, the coming of autumn,'" said Mr. Fisher, looking around the table at his daughter Charlotte and her two children. "That's Whitman, I think." He knew he had the thought, suitable for the evening, but had he quoted the words just right? "The roast won't be worth eating if you don't go ahead and carve, Papa," said Charlotte, sitting at the other end of the table. She said it offhand, giving information, but it got to him. There she goes, he thought. What pleasure does she get from always telling me? She was a large full-fleshed woman going smiling, he remembered once telling her, through a pale-pink middle age and always talking on tiptoe. He knew that trick all right. Meant it was he who picked the quarrels every time. The way good women got their way. She was a good woman, but he was not to be bullied by her or anyone. "Come to think of it, it's not Whitman, it's Bryant," he said. His grandson Adam clattered his knife and spoon together, an imp

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