Without the night was cold and wet, but in the small parlour of Laburnam Villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly. Father and son were at chess, the former, who possessed ideas about the game involving radical changes.
“[The monkey’s paw] had a spell put on it by an old fakir…a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow.”
“If the tale about the monkey’s paw is not more truthful than those he has been telling us…we sha’nt make much out of it.”
“I don’t know what to wish for, and that’s a fact…It seems to me I’ve got all I want.”
He sat alone in the darkness, gazing at the dying fire, and seeing faces in it. The last face was so horrible and so simian that he gazed at it in amazement.
There was an air of prosaic wholesomeness about the room which it had lacked on the previous night, and the dirty, shrivelled little paw was pitched on the sideboard with a carelessness which betokened no great belief in its virtues.
“Morris said the things happened so naturally…that you might if you so wished attribute it to coincidence.”
“I was to say that Maw and Meggins disclaim all responsibility…They admit no liability at all, but in consideration of your son’s services, they wish to present you with a certain sum as compensation.”
But the days passed, and expectation gave place to resignation–the hopeless resignation of the old, sometimes miscalled, apathy. Sometimes they hardly exchanged a word.
“He has been dead ten days, and besides he–I would not tell you else, but–I could only recognize him by his clothing. If he was too terrible for you to see then, how now?”
But her husband was on his hands and knees groping wildly on the floor in search of the paw. If he could only find it before the thing outside got in.
A cold wind rushed up the staircase, and a long loud wail of disappointment and misery from his wife gave him courage to run down to her side…The street lamp flickering opposite shone on a quiet and deserted road.