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The Ice Palace
The sunlight dripped over the house like golden paint over an art jar, and
the freckling shadows here and there only intensified the rigor of the bath
of light. The Butterworth and Larkin houses flanking were entrenched
behind great stodgy trees; only the Happer house took the full sun, and all
day long faced the dusty road-street with a tolerant kindly patience. This
was the city of Tarleton in southernmost Georgia, September afternoon.
Up in her bedroom window Sally Carrol Happer rested her nineteenyear-old chin on a fifty-two-year-old sill and watched Clark Darrow’s
ancient Ford turn the corner. The car was hot — being partly metallic it
retained all the heat it absorbed or evolved — and Clark Darrow sitting bolt
upright at the wheel wore a pained, strained expression as though he
considered himself a spare part, and rather likely to break. He laboriously
crossed two dust ruts, the wheels squeaking indignantly at the encounter,
and then with a terrifying expression he gave the steering-gear a final
wrench and deposited self and car approximately in front of the Happer
steps. There was a heaving sound, a death-rattle, followed by a short
silence; and then the air was rent by a startling whistle.
Sally Carrol gazed down sleepily. She started to yawn, but finding this
quite impossible unless she raised her chin from the window-sill, changed
her mind and continued silently to regard the car, whose owner sat
brilliantly if perfunctorily at attention as he waited for an answer to his
signal. After a moment the whistle once more split the dusty air.
“Good mawnin’.”
With difficulty Clark twisted his tall body round and bent a distorted
glance on the window.
“Tain’t mawnin’, Sally Carrol.”
“Isn’t it, sure enough?”
“What you doin’?”
“Eatin’ ‘n apple.”
“Come on go swimmin’— want to?”
“Reckon so.”
“How ‘bout hurryin’ up?”
“Sure enough.”

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