McTeague - Frank Norris - Страница 1 из 423

A Story of San Francisco
by Frank Norris
It was Sunday, and, according to his custom on that day, McTeague took
his dinner at two in the afternoon at the car conductors' coffee-joint
on Polk Street. He had a thick gray soup; heavy, underdone meat, very
hot, on a cold plate; two kinds of vegetables; and a sort of suet
pudding, full of strong butter and sugar. On his way back to his office,
one block above, he stopped at Joe Frenna's saloon and bought a pitcher
of steam beer. It was his habit to leave the pitcher there on his way to
Once in his office, or, as he called it on his signboard, "Dental
Parlors," he took off his coat and shoes, unbuttoned his vest, and,
having crammed his little stove full of coke, lay back in his operating
chair at the bay window, reading the paper, drinking his beer, and
smoking his huge porcelain pipe while his food digested; crop-full,
stupid, and warm. By and by, gorged with steam beer, and overcome by the
heat of the room, the cheap tobacco, and the effects of his heavy meal,
he dropped off to sleep. Late in the afternoon his canary bird, in its
gilt cage just over his head, began to sing. He woke slowly, finished
the rest of his beer--very flat and stale by this time--and taking down
his concertina from the bookcase, where in week days it kept the company
of seven volumes of "Allen's Practical Dentist," played upon it some
half-dozen very mournful airs.
McTeague looked forward to these Sunday afternoons as a period of

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