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The Torrents of Spring Part 4 Chapter 13

Yogi Johnson walking down the silent street with his arm around the little Indian's shoulder. The big Indian walking along beside them. The cold night. The shuttered houses of the town. The little Indian, who has lost his artificial arm. The big Indian, who was also in the war. Yogi Johnson, who was in the war too. The three of them walking, walking, walking. Where were they going? Where could they go? What was there left?

Suddenly under a street light that swung on its drooping wire above a street corner, casting its light down on the snow, the big Indian stopped. "Walking no get us nowhere," he grunted. "Walking no good. Let white chief speak. Where we go, white chief?"

Yogi Johnson did not know. Obviously, walking was not the solution of their problem. Walking was all right in its way. Coxey's Army. A horde of men, seeking work, pressing on toward Washington. Marching men, Yogi thought. Marching on and on and where were they getting? Nowhere. Yogi knew it only too well. Nowhere. No damn where at all.

"White chief speak up," the big Indian said.

"I don't know," Yogi said. "I don't know at all." Was this what they had fought the war for? Was this what it was all about? It looked like it. Yogi standing under the street light. Yogi thinking and wondering. The two Indians in their mackinaw coats. One of the Indians with an empty sleeve. All of them wondering.

"White chief no speak?" the big Indian asked.

"No." What could Yogi say? What was there to say?

"Red brother speak?" asked the Indian.

"Speak out," Yogi said. He looked down at the snow. "One man's as good as another now."

"White chief ever go to the Brown's Beanery?" asked the big Indian, looking into Yogi's face under the arc light.

"No." Yogi felt all in. Was this the end? A beanery. Well, a beanery as well as any other place. But a beanery. Well, why not? These Indians knew the town. They were ex-service men. They both had splendid war records. He knew that himself. But a beanery.

"White chief come with red brothers." The tall Indian put his arm under Yogi's arm. The little Indian fell into step. "Forward to the beanery." Yogi spoke quietly. He was a white man, but he knew when he had enough. After all, the white race might not always be supreme. This Moslem revolt. Unrest in the East. Trouble in the West. Things looked black in the South. Now this condition of things in the North. Where was it taking him? Where did it all lead? Would it help him to want a woman? Would spring ever come? Was it worth while after all? He wondered.

The three of them striding along the frozen streets of Petoskey. Going somewhere now. En route. Huysmans wrote that. It would be interesting to read French. He must try it sometime. There was a street in Paris named after Huysmans. Right around the corner from where Gertrude Stein lived. Ah, there was a woman! Where were her experiments in words leading her? What was at the bottom of it? All that in Paris. Ah, Paris. How far it was to Paris now. Paris in the morning. Paris in the evening. Paris at night. Paris in the morning again. Paris at the noon, perhaps. Why not? Yogi Johnson striding on. His mind never still.

All three of them striding on together. The arums of those that had arms linked through each other's arms. Red men and white men walking together. Something had brought them together. Was it the war? Was it fate? Was it accident? Or was it just chance? These questions struggled with each other Yogi Johnson's brain. His brain was tired. He had been thinking too much lately. On still they strode. Then, abruptly, they stopped.

The little Indian looked up at the sign. It shone in the night outside the frosted windows of the beanery. Best by Test.

"Makeum heap big test," the little Indian grunted.

"White man's beanery got heap fine T-bone steak," the tall Indian grunted. "Take it from red brother." The Indians stood a little uncertainly outside the door. The tall Indian turned to Yogi. "White chief got dollars?"

"Yes, I've got money," Yogi answered. He was prepared to go the route. It was no time to turn back now. "The feed's on me, boys."

"White chief nature's nobleman," the tall Indian grunted.

"White chief rough diamond," the little Indian agreed.

"You'd do the same for me," Yogi deprecated. After all, perhaps it was true. It was a chance he was taking. He had taken a chance in Paris once. Steve Brodie had taken a chance. Or so they said. Chances were taken all over the world every day. In China, Chinamen were taking chances. In Africa, Africans. In Egypt, Egyptians. In Poland, Poles. In Russia, Russians. In Ireland, Irish. In Armenia———

"Armenians no take chances," the tall Indian grunted quietly. He had voiced Yogi's unspoken doubt. They were a canny folk these red men.

"Not even in the rug game?"

"Red brother think not," the Indian said. His tones carried conviction to Yogi. Who were these Indians? There was something back of all this. They went into the beanery.